Refine your parched pallet with the Saketini at Roka Akor
Booze enthusiasts no longer need to snub the “tini” suffix on the drink menu, at least not at Scottsdale’s sushi pagoda Roka Akor. More Frank Sinatra than Carrie Bradshaw, the Saketini ($10) casts aside apple flavoring or sissy liqueurs and blends traditional Japanese alcohol heavyweights shochu and sake with a slice of cooling cucumber instead of the run-of-the-mill olive. This samurai-style martini exudes simplicity, modernity and class, much like the upscale interior of the palandromical restaurant itself. If you’re serious about what you drink between mouthfuls of Hamachi Serrano Chili Rolls, this straightforward spirit lets the alcohol do the talking, giving you a clean, crisp and uncomplicated taste all for $10.
7299 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-306-8800, rokaakor.com
Slurp down the best parts of summer in Caffe Boa’s Anastasia
Nothing says summer like sweet, plump strawberries, and the clever mixologists at Caffe Boa have loaded up their Anastasia cocktail with the season’s most iconic fruit. In case you’ve been living under a rock in order to hide from the sun’s rays the past 20 years, Caffe Boa is Mill Avenue’s hotspot for a seasonal menu full of culinary wonders, such as the toasted gnocchi with pork belly and a fried egg. It also has an impressive, and perhaps slightly overwhelming, 21-page wine list. Being a wine snob is great during dinner, but to cool off, go with the Anastasia. This sassy little $12 redhead starts off with mulled strawberries and basil and ends with vodka. It’s just that simple. The fresh, flavorful ingredients are sure to create an oasis for you right at the Boa bar. Pair that sweet tart with a rustic 398 House Salad or the irresistibly fresh pulled-to-order warm mozzarella.
398 S. Mill Avenue Suite 110, Tempe, 480-968-9112, cafeboa.com
Forget the lemonade stand; try The Parlor’s Hibiscus Lemonade.
Phoenix’s new pizza palace, The Parlor, serves up some of the best fully-customizable personal pies in the Valley with enticing topping options like goat cheese and applewood smoked bacon. But, their twist on summer’s favorite thirst quencher, lemonade, is the key to cooling down after a long, hot day at work. The hibiscus lemonade is a refreshing $10 cocktail with herbal hibiscus and elderflower liqueur blended perfectly with tart, sweet lemonade and, of course, a splash of vodka. Take those tasty earthy, tea flavors and pair them with a pizza loaded up with oodles of fresh herbs grown on site, and you have a match made in heaven. The pink lemonade doppelganger might not look like much, but sip down a couple of these babies at happy hour and you could find yourself making a night of it. Not that you can ever have too much pizza and lemonade.
1916 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, 602-248-2480, theparlor.us
Crack open a Coconut Joe Stout from Papago Brewery.
A thick, dark beer is about the last thing on our minds in the midst of Arid-zona heat, but the locally brewed Coconut Joe tastes more like a trip to Waikiki than the Guinness Factory. Sittin’ punchy at about 5 percent alcohol by volume, this $5 pint of delectable darkness is lighter than the normal stout with coffee overtones and a kick of coconut scent and aftertaste. While Papago beers can be found at other Valley bars, such as Old Town Scottsdale’s cowboy dive T.T. Roadhouse, the cool, dim pub nestled in a shopping center off Scottsdale and McDowell roads is an ideal chill-out cave for a hot afternoon. If you aren’t ready to commit to a brooding beer like Coco-Joe, the bar that bears the brewery’s namesake has 30 different beers gushing forth from the tap, such as the citrus-and-vanilla-licious Orange Blossom wheat beer. Don’t worry about your frosty mug sweating. You sure won’t be.
7107 E. McDowell Road, Scottsdale, 480-425-7439, papagobrewing.com
Tom’ Margarita rocks the Montelucia’s Mbar without the brain freeze.
If you want a blended $5 margarita, go to one of the many Mexican restaurants in the Valley that serve chips and salsa out of a sombrero-shaped platter. If you want a unique, classy marg with attitude served on the rocks, head to Mbar at the Intercontinental Montelucia Resort & Spa. On cool days you can take in the peaceful, mountainous Paradise Valley surroundings on the Spanish-inspired patio seating. Unfortunately, your best bet this month is to hide inside with the air conditioning in the comfy, chic lounge at Mbar. For further cooling, order Tom’s Margarita. The staple beverage for Sonoran summers, complete with Reposado tequila, fresh lime and agave, gets a twist with a burst of blood orange puree. The final product is all shook up into a $10 darling that is tangy like an orange and sweet like a berry, but just as refreshing as a margarita should be. This well-crafted cocktail has hues of orange, red and peach, mimicking the breathtaking Arizona sunset, which might be enough to remind you why you live in Arizona in August.
4949 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, 480-627-3004, pradolife.com/mbar
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