Summer has officially arrived in San Antonio — and with it, gallons of margaritas. While we would never cast shade on the city's undisputed cocktail champion, it's not the only drink in the ring. Alamo City is full of total knockouts that are just as refreshing. Whether looking for a patio pounder or something to start the brunch party, these seven sippers will take you through the steamiest of seasons.
Blush — I Know Bubbles
Day drinking is one of the greatest pleasures of vacation season, but one can't just jump into it with an Old Fashioned. Instead, ease into the day with the sparkling I Know Bubbles from this new Southtown hot spot. A fizzy rosé and vodka form the base, enlivened with grapefruit and a cucumber and strawberry shrub. It's easy like a Sunday morning, even if you're brunching on a Saturday.
George's Keep — Summer Fling
Though booking a room at the Éilan Hotel is not required to drink at this old-school bar, there is an undeniable appeal in plopping down after a couple of George's high-octane cocktails. Start your staycation with a Summer Fling, one of the spot's most unexpected libations. Scotch may seem more suited for winter, but when combined with pineapple syrup, lime, and cooling Chareau aloe liqueur, it's ready for shorts and flip-flops.
La Ruina — Daiquiri con Sabor
Ernest Hemingway drank them while leching around Cuba. The British Navy got soused on them while sailing the seas. F. Scott Fitzgerald enshrined them in literature. Of the classic cocktail constellation, the daiquiri's star shines brightest. This East Side bar gives them the respect they deserve, whether plain or mixed with intriguing flavors like soursop.
Leche de Tigre — Mi Verano, Tu Invierno
With its tropical murals and shaded backyard porch, this newcomer feels like a year-long holiday. The Mi Verano, Tu Invierno works regardless of the season, grounding a light mix of pisco, passion fruit, and ginger ale with a few dashes of bitters. And it works both as a pre-dinner cocktail and a pairing. Try it against the vibrant tamarind flavors of the Nikkei cebiche.
1Watson — Watermelon Fiesta
This rooftop bar perched above the downtown AC Hotel offers jaw-dropping views of the city. Still, those afraid of heights can reserve a table a little less close to the edge. Either way, the Watermelon Fiesta is the drink to sip all season. An easy sipper of Tito's vodka, watermelon juice, cayenne, and jalapeño, all it's missing is the pool.
Sojourn Trading Co. — Sojourn Raspa
Nothing feels like a San Antonio summer as much as a raspa, especially if you add a little booze. Still, this sunny downtown bar has made a good idea even better. Its signature Sojourn Raspa starts with a one-two punch of blanco tequila and Demerara rum, zinged with lime and mango shrub. Finally, coconut milk is floated on top. Tiger's Blood wishes.
Tokyo Cowboy — Mogwai's Night Out
Though this new River Walk concept specializes in Japanese whisky, it has equal finesse with other spirits. Mogwai's Night Out is far from a basic vodka drink, adding sake and smoked jalapeño for depth. A cucumber slice dusted with togarashi salt evokes San Antonio's many fruterías while honoring the bar's pan-Asian cuisine.