Summertime Sipping: Top Picks for the Best of Virginia Adult Beverages

Summer Sipping Best cocktails in Virginia

“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” should be the official mantra of summertime in Virginia. With the season of swelter officially in full swing, AC and jorts are a MUST. If the dog days of summer are getting you down, we have the perfect antidote: Summer cocktails! The Commonwealth is chock full of seasonal drinks that are sure to refresh and rejuvenate.

You want in on this action? Read on for the ultimate list of summertime sips in VA:


Ice Cold Craft Cocktails

Images: Fortunato, Tim Win via Laura Lees, Rooster & Owl

Images: Fortunato, Tim Win via Laura Lees, Rooster & Owl

Craft beers and Virginia wine are staples for happy hour with friends, but when you’re looking for something special to wind down for the weekend, nothing beats the heat like a chilled craft cocktail

Roanoke’s Fortunato has stolen our hearts with their “Time after Thyme” cocktail. It’s made with Vodka, cucumber, thyme, Dolin Genepy, and lemon. Yummy? Check. Refreshing? Also check. Laura Lee’s in Richmond is mixing it up a bit with their summer drink, the “Mediterranean Negroni” made with Gin Mare, Suze, Cap Corse Blanc, Garden Herbs, and saline. Drink it up and thank us later.

If you are looking for a refreshing beverage that’s been perfectly paired with your meal, then check out Rooster & Owl in Washington DC. They just celebrated their first anniversary, but since day one their seasonal fare has included a highly crafted bar menu, with drinks like “Eye Candy Collins” and “I’m Bringing Sexy Back Midori” developed to pair perfectly with their meals. Bonus points: custom ice cubes that feature their adorbs rooster and owl logo.

Looking for some other places with killer craft cocktails? Check these out::

Wine Slushies and Blended Bevvies

Images: Bear Chase Brewing, Tupelo Honey, Bluemont Vineyard

Images: Bear Chase Brewing, Tupelo Honey, Bluemont Vineyard

You can’t swipe a thumb through Instagram without seeing a luscious wine slushy this summer. They’re certainly a frosty way to quench your thirst, and hey- alcohol is always a plus. Bluemont Vineyard in Bluemont is always one of our fave places to visit, and their wine slushies are peak summertime fun. If you’re looking for a tropical twist, check out Middleburg’s Chrysalis Vineyards’ Mango Wine slushie. Searching for something a little stiffer? Don’t fret! Blended cocktails are showing up on many menus this season, like the “Cherry Bomb Frosé” from Tupelo Honey in Arlington. Made with frozen rosé, mint, lemon, maraschino liquor, bourbon and cherry juice, this blended bombshell is sure to satisfy.

Want more slushy goodness? Just about any vineyard in the commonwealth has a blended version of their wine during the summer season. The more you know! 💫

Fruits of the Season

Images: Harriman’s Grill, Farmers Fishers Bakers, @vagrowler via Civil Libation

Images: Harriman’s Grill, Farmers Fishers Bakers, @vagrowler via Civil Libation

In our book, summertime means fruity goodness. Is there a better way to cool off than with a cocktail featuring fresh fruit? Uh, we think not. “Drops of Jupiter” is a cocktail from The Jasper in Richmond that’s made with Espolon Roposado Tequila, passion fruit, orgeat, lime and mole bitters. Feeling a little peachy? Try the “Missionary’s Downfall” from DC’s Farmers Fishers Bakers. This seasonal drink is made consists of rum, pineapple, honey, mint, and peach. Getting your daily dose of vitamins while getting your drink on should always be a summertime goal. 

Searching for more fruit-filled cocktails? Try these places:

Coffee Inspired Cocktails

Images: Laura Lees, Town Center Cold Pressed, Food.Bar.Food

Images: Laura Lees, Town Center Cold Pressed, Food.Bar.Food

Coffee-inspired cocktails have become all the rage for an adult pick-me-up that won’t bring you down. You can find them on brunch menus throughout the Commonwealth, like Laura Lee’s in Richmond. Their “Frozen Dirty Bird” features Belle Isle Shine, cold brew coffee, Campari, Pineapple, and Lime. Food.Bar.Food in Harrisonburg features a bevvy of adut bevvies like the “Cowboy Coffee,” it’s a sure-fire way to put some spirit in your step with whiskey syrup, iced coffee, whiskey, and cream.

Looking for more caffeine coolness? Try:

Non-alcoholic Coolers

Images: Boulevard Burger, Red Root & Co, Ocha Thai Kitchen

Images: Boulevard Burger, Red Root & Co, Ocha Thai Kitchen

If alcohol is not your thing, there are still so many ways to cool off Virginia-style this summer. Sorva Syrups make a perfect starter for any fizzy-water drink and adds a touch of class for homemade drinks. , No list of cooling summer drinks would be complete without milkshakes! Boulevard Burger & Brew has an extensive selection of shakes so rich and creamy they could be a meal on their own. They’re a perfect pairing with traditional summer fare of burgers and ‘dogs.

Red Root & Co uses traditional herbal recipes to create their Shrubs, Oxymels, and syrups. Try a berry seltzer, with their Rhubarb Verbena Shrub, a squeeze of lime over ice for a refreshing drink with no regrets.

Many of your favorite restaurants add tasty cold treats in the summer months, and Ocha Thai Kitchen in Centerville has lots of ways to cool off this season. Try the Iced Matcha with Creme Brûlée, the Mango Creamy Cheese Smoothie, or any one of their takes on traditional Thai tea.

Try This at Home

Images: Sorva Syrup, Belle Isle

Images: Sorva Syrup, Belle Isle

The real joy of summer sipping is sharing a drink on the deck among close friends and family. Keep the party local with these easy summer cocktails from Virginia makers.

Cold Brew Negroni
Recipe: Belle Isle Shine

  • 1 oz. Belle Isle Cold Brew Coffee

  • 1 oz. Camparil 

  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth

  • Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir lightly, and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

Hibiscus Mai Tai
Recipe: Sorva Syrups

  • 3/4 oz. Lime juice 

  • 1/2 oz. Orange Curacao

  • 1/4 oz. Orgeat or dash almond extract

  • 1/2 oz. Hibiscus Sorva Syrup 

  • 2 oz. Dark rum

  • (Dash coconut rum, if desired)

  • Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with crushed ice. Shake, then pour all contents into a glass

Tip: Add a little smoky flavor with Virginia’s own  Vitae Spirits Golden Rum

The Bee’z Kneez

Recipe: A. Smith Bowman Distillery

  • 2 oz sunset hills gin

  • 1/4 oz lemon mint shrub 

  • 1/4 oz honey simple syrup 

  • Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake well. Pour into a glass. Garnish with mint and lemon zest. Enjoy.

The Orange Crush

Recipe: The Beach House Kitchen

  • 2 oz. vodka

  • 1 oz. Cointreau

  • 3 oz. orange juice, freshly squeezed, about 1 large navel orange

  • Splash of lemon-lime soda

  • orange peel or orange slice for garnish

  • Ice

Tip: Make your crush go local with Cirrus Vodka, made in Richmond, Virginia

So there you have it, foodies! (Or should we call you Drinkies?) The ultimate list of summertime cocktails to keep you cool is our gift to you. After all, we’re Virginians too–we know the struggle is real in the sweltering summer heat. Try a cocktail, or make one with friends. Don’t forget to tag #vafoodie on your pics of luscious summer libations, and get your drink on!


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