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Summer Indulgence: Best Craft Cocktails

After a long, hot day on the beach, or a stressful afternoon at the office, nothing tastes better than a crisp and cool craft cocktail.

Long gone are the simple days of vodka and soda; we now demand more from our hard working bartenders, and we make sure to go the extra mile to support sustainability one drink at a time. San Diego bars and restaurants source local farms for fresh ingredients with which to make inventive spirits by way of cutting-edge mixology trends.

Thirsty? Treat yourself to one of the best summer craft cocktails, including Orange Dreamsicle at RA Sushi, Ginger Elderflower at Flavor, El Pepino at El Dorado, Rooftop Garden Tour at Grant Grill, Chili Mango Margarita at JRDN, Purple Haze at La Puerta and more.

Orange Dreamsicle at RA Sushi

Take a break from the sake bombs and order one of RA Sushi’s new summer cocktails, including the Orange Dreamsicle, Coconut Mojito, and Key Lime Martini. Our favorite for mid-summer imbibing is the Orange Dreamsicle, made with Pinnacle Whipped Vodka, orange juice, lemon-lime soda, cream of coconut, fresh lemon, and garnished with whipped cream and an orange slice. RA Sushi’s new summer cocktails are available July 1 through August 15. For more details, visit RA in San Diego. (pictured above)

Ginger Elderflower at Flavor

Although anything tastes good when paired with Flavor’s ocean view at sunset, this Del Mar restaurant and lounge happens to be known for expert craft cocktails. This summer you’ll catch us sipping on the Ginger Elderflower, Kiwi Basil or Sangria. You can’t go wrong with the Ginger Elderflower, made with Absolut Wild Tea Vodka, cranberry, lime, and Doman de Canton ginger liquor. For more details, visit Flavor in Del Mar.

Chili Mango Margarita at JRDN

Located just off the sand in Pacific Beach, JRDN at Tower 23 is one of the best spots to grab a cocktail along the boardwalk, especially when the sun sets over the ocean. Swanky and stylish, JRDN is more than just a pretty face, it also serves a delicious selection of craft cocktails, including the Chili Mango Margarita, Kiwi Cooler, Prickly Pear Margarita, and Watermelon Mojito. We recommend the Chili Mango Margarita, made with chili infused tradicional silver tequila, mango, and house mix. For more details, visit JRDN in Pacific Beach.

Summer Solstice at Beaumont’s Eatery

Mixologist Gavin Mcmanes tops a dinner meal over into the lines of utter ecstacy with his new summer cocktails. Take a sip of the delish Summer Solstice cocktail, made with fresh berries, mint lemon juice and Ketel One Citron over ice with a “Party on the Rim” (pop rocks!). If that doesn’t go down easy for you, how about a big gulp of the Tropical White Banana Strawberry Sangria? Get details here. (pictured left)

Day Tripper at Anthology Supper Club

Craft cocktails always make fine tuned music go down smooth. Anthology Supper Club offers a tantalizing cocktail list, including Day Tripper, Robinson’s Affair, Voodoo Child, and Eazy Rider. Opt for a Day Tripper, made with pineapple infused tequila, jalapeno syrup, cilantro, and lime. For more details, visit Anthology in Little Italy.

Purple Haze at La Puerta

Everyone knows La Puerta is the go-to spot for strong and cheap margaritas served in an ultra-chill tavern atmosphere. Must-try spirits include Purple Haze, Whole Lotta Love, Low Rider, and Afternoon Delight. On a warm summer afternoon, sip on the Purple Haze, La Puerta’s house made sangria swirled into a frozen margarita, served in a chilled mug. For more details, visit La Puerta in San Diego.

Green-Go at El Vitral

Speaking of margaritas, if you’re in search of authentic flavor, head to El Vitral in East Village. This vibrant restaurant and tequila bar overlooks PETCO Park, and just released a new menu of revamped summer margaritas. New spirits include Velvet Charro, Oaxacan Passion, and Green-Go – a craft cocktail made with blanco tequila, cucumber, serrano pepper, cilantro, agave nectar, fresh tomatillo juice, and lime juice. Get details here.

Skinny Basil Margatini at UNION Kitchen and Tap

The hottest new bar and restaurant in Encinitas, UNION Kitchen and Tap offers a mean list of craft cocktails. Perfect for a quick pick-me-up after a hot day on the beach, drink down the Tequila Blackberry Fizz, Ginger Julip, Skinny Basil Margatini, Hibiscus Rikki or Dark & Stormy. For more details, visit UNION in Encinitas.

El Pepino at El Dorado

El Dorado is a low key hipster haven in East Village, known for serving hand craft cocktails by evening and hard hitting electro DJ beats by night. El Dorado just released a new summer cocktail menu, featuring El Pepino, Artichoke Hold, Americano, Alameda and more. You must try El Pepino, made with tequila, lime, simple syrup, muddled cucumber, and cracked salt. For more details, visit El Dorado in San Diego.

Rooftop Garden Tour at Grant Grill

The US Grant Hotel transformed their rooftop terrace into an intimate garden, which now supports culinary operations at The Grant Grill, including the new cocktail menu ‘Tails from the Patch. Farm fresh favorites include Rooftop Garden Tour, Lemon Mint Mojito, Cinnamon Basil Champagne Cobbler, and Super Seasonal Skinny. Treat yourself to a Rooftop Garden Tour, a blend of Angelica Infused Tanqueray Sterling Vodka, Muddled Russian Taragon and Florence Fennel, and White Peach Puree. Get details here.

De Vaca’s Canteen at Prohibition

A subterranean speakeasy in the Gaslamp Quarter, Prohibition allures in locals with live Jazz music, sophisticated service, and classic craft cocktails. Our favorite spirits include De Vaca’s Canteen, Golden Dawn, Statler Peach, and Moral Panic. If you have to choose, opt for De Vaca’s Canteen, made with reposada tequila, Cointreau, fresh ginger, orange flower water, sugar, and lemon. For more details, visit Prohibition in San Diego.

Fourteen at AIRR Supper Club

A sultry monochromatic ultra lounge perched above Sixth and Market, AIRR is an instant favorite for cool cocktails in a chill atmosphere. Perfect for a hot summer night, are AIRR’s signature spirits, Fourteen, Ten, Twelve, Eight and more. When in doubt, go with the refreshing Fourteen, made with Absolut Pears vodka, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, fresh pink grapefruit, and lemon juice. For more details, visit AIRR in San Diego.

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