Chow Town

July 26, 2013

Seven ultra-chill craft cocktails for summer

Shaken or stirred, ice-cold libations from Kansas City’s craft cocktail bars offer an alternative to frozen margaritas. Here are seven of our top picks.

Chow Town

The daily dish on Kansas City's food and drink scene

Kansas City, with its mushrooming mixology scene, has a lot more to offer in the way of cold bar drinks than frozen margaritas and strawberry daiquiris.

Here are 7 of our top picks for ultra-chill craft cocktails:

Uber M.T.E.

So a guy walks into a bar and always orders a vodka-and-cranberry, and the bartender thinks that’s really boring so he creates an upgraded version of the well drink and brands it with the patron’s initials.

The result? A delightful, bright and light tasting potion made from barrel-aged Old Tom gin; all-natural Q Tonic made from Peruvian quinine; housemade cranberry-thyme shrub syrup, and dried cranberries. The Uber M.T.E. is shaken to a deep chill then served over rocks in a pint mason jar with a sprig of fresh thyme.

$9 at the


, 2050 Central St.

Flying Tree

Think of it as a local forager’s savory spin on a classic margarita. The mixologists at Justus Drugstore start with Sauza silver tequila, add some Luxardo maraschino liqueur, fresh-squeezed orange and lime juices then served it over rocks with a rim of sea salt and toasted local hickory nuts. The nuts add a smoky, savory bite to classic marg flavors.

$9 at

Justus Drugstore

, 106 W. Main St., Smithville

Tiger Lily

Lulu’s, the popular Crossroads destination for fresh Thai food, also makes killer cocktails from house-made flavored spirits. The Tiger Lily is a mouthful of summery flavors with orange-infused vodka, fresh-squeezed OJ, housemade lemonade and fresh Thai basil leaves underlaced with exotic spice in the form of cardamom bitters and served on the rocks.

$7.50 ($5.50 during happy hour) at

Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop

, 2030 Central St.

Ginger Mojito

Rum is the ultimate summer liquor and a mojito perhaps it most summery expression. The Classic Cup stays close enough to classic while giving it a quenching twist of ginger. Fresh mint leaves muddled with cane sugar serve as a base for Bacardi rum, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur and a spritz of fresh lime, served on the rocks.

$10 at the

Classic Cup

, 301 W. 47th St.

G’Spritzter Mit Gurke

This is a tongue-twister worth mastering, if you want a super-refreshing quaff on a hot afternoon: Geh-SCHPRITZ-ter-mitt-GUR-keh. The wonderful Wunderbar (VOON-der-bar) inside Grunauer takes an Austrian wine called Gruener Veltliner, hits it with cucumber liqueur and a splash of soda with a shot of soda, garnishes it with a slice of juicy fresh cucumber and serves it icy cold over rocks.

$8 at


, 101 W. 22nd St.

Hotel Nacional

Named after Havana’s premier hotel, this delightful libation that comes beneath a crust of crushed ice is made with Mount Gay rum from Barbados, since Havana Club rum is still banned in the USA. The Mount Gay is a worthy substitute and a bracing underlacing for fruity pineapple gomme syrup and apricot eau de vie finished with a spritz of lemon and served in a classic retro coupe.

$9 at


, 715 Massachusetts St., Lawrence

Rieger G

Pinckney Bend gin and house-made tonic from quinine bark are the only two ingredients in the Rieger’s version of the retro classic summer cocktail. After you drink their icy cold gold elixir, you’ll never want a well gin-and-tonic again.

$9 at the

Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange

, 1924 Main St.

Cindy Hoedel writes for the Kansas City Star Magazine, grows food on a half acre of land in the Flint Hills, bakes her own bread, makes killer dill pickles and sand hill plum jelly, and blogs about sustainability.

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