Top Five: Summer Cocktails

A refresher course.

Editor’s Note: These listings are not ranked. They reflect a collection of the best offerings in town.

1. John Daly
Bluebeard, 653 Virginia Ave., 317-686-1580

Named after the rough-and-tumble golfing pro, the drink is a play on the iced tea-and-lemonade favorite, the Arnold Palmer. This refreshing porch pounder, concocted with silky Austrian-made Monopolowa potato vodka, is mixed with black tea, lemon syrup, and torn basil. 


2. Berries & Bubbles
Ocean Prime, 8555 N. River Rd., 317-569-0975

A martini glass arrives, smoking from the chain’s gimmicky dry-ice presentation. But the flavors are there: Belvedere citrus vodka and Chandon brut Champagne blended with blackberries and a not-too-tart sour mix.


3. Classic Mai Tai
JW Marriott’s Tavern on the Plaza, 10 S. West St., 317-860-5800

The Tavern’s less-sweet version of this Tahitian beachfront classic comes with a dark, aged, full-bodied Ron Zacapa rum; curacao (a citrus-peel liqueur); freshly squeezed lime juice; and orgeat, a syrup made of almonds, sugar, and rose water. Friendly barkeeps add a floater of Meyer’s Dark rum.


4. Mango Tango
Meridian Restaurant & Bar, 5694 N. Meridian St., 317-466-1111

The Mango Tango is perfect as a summer cocktail: fruity, yet herbaceous and refreshing at the same time. The base is made with mango-flavored vodka and a touch of rose-hip liqueur from Chicago’s Koval Distillery. It’s combined with fresh lime, bits of cilantro, and an apricot puree.


5. St-Germain French Gimlet
Sabbatical, 921 E. Broad Ripple Ave., 317-253-5252

The addition of the florid elderflower-flavored St-Germain liqueur adds a layer of complexity and a bit of sweetness to the classic French gimlet that makes it dangerously smooth.