Yeah, we know it’s hot. The question is, what are you going to do about it? The smart money is on heading out for a frozen cocktail.
These eight Austin bars do the essential summer drink better than most, with frosty new takes on the classics mixed with startlingly bracing originals. Better yet, each bar has the air conditioning on blast to combat the savage sun. We practically have the shivers already.
Maybe John Travolta wasn’t talking about this east side gastropub when he belted out “summer loving, had me a blast,” but its frozen drinks still have us enamored. The Red Headed Stranger — mezcal blended with strawberries and fresh lemonade — is a standby year round, but the monthly Deep Eddy Vodka chiller always gets us saying, “tell us more.”
Domo Alley Gato Tatsu-Ya
Sure, the signature drink at this East Sixth Street hot spot isn’t technically a frozen cocktail, but why get hung up on semantics during the vacation months? The Kirin Ichiban lager topped with a frozen foam cap is an irresistible thirst quencher on a balmy night. And the frothy mustache it leaves is absolutely adorable in selfies.
With two James Beard Award-winning chefs — Aaron Franklin and Uchi’s Tyson Cole — on the marquee, it’s no wonder most of the buzz about this South Austin spot focuses on the food. Still, the barcraft is just as worthy of hype. On a steamy day, belly up to the bar to try one of the frosty drinks. The frozen gin and tonic definitely won’t disappoint, but it’s difficult not to bask in the tropical breeze of the mango sake slushee.
Want to find a good bar? Go where bartenders go. It’s not uncommon to find some familiar industry faces at this wildly popular East Austin dive. Although more often than not, they gravitate to the boilermakers, we stick to the pair of frozen drinks. The Pimm’s Cup takes the spring staple for a summer fling, and the Irish coffee gives the jolt needed to make it through another sweltering day. Plus, both are discounted by a dollar when the thermometer reads 99 degrees or warmer.
Tucked behind the stunning pool at the recently opened East Austin Hotel, this breezy bar specializes in sunny sippers made with tequila, gin, and plenty of rum. Naturally, it serves the patron saint of frozen cocktails — a balanced margarita with light agave and a healthy squeeze of lime. But the boozy Permanent Vacation, a rotating tropical cocktail with Brazilian cachaça, gives guests something new to sip.
Sour Duck Market
Any bar with a blender can whip up a frozen margarita, but this East Austin hangout stands out by making them anew. The key is to shell out an extra $2 for a swirl of any of its draft cocktails. Try adding an herbal lift from the tarragon-spiced Paloma, or book a flight for the gin-based Summer in Greece. The choices are (almost) endless.
Sorry, Bananarama. There’s no such thing as a cruel summer as long as this South Congress newcomer keeps pouring the drinks. Take an invigorating gulp of an icy espresso martini, served elegantly in a coupe. Or try the frozen Mai Tai — a very cool idea that takes tiki to the tundra.
Violet Crown Social Club
Truth be known, the famous Iron Whips at the East Austin dive may go down too easily. They have certainly caused more legendary hangovers than we care to admit. Still, as long as Violet Crown keeps pouring them out for $4.50, guests will keep lining up. What’s summer without a few bad decisions?