Petite Jacqueline’s Riviera Gimlet Photo courtesy of Petite Jacqueline

Summer calls for a fresh new cocktail menu, and Portland watering holes do not disappoint. Whatever your favorite spirit, you can find at least one bar serving a brand-new refreshing cocktail featuring it. Here are just a few of the many mouth-watering options available this summer.

If you’re a gin enthusiast, head to Petite Jacqueline for a $10 Riviera Gimlet (gin, rosemary simple syrup, grapefruit juice and lime juice) or to Tiqa for a $14 Casablanca. Created by beverage director Jenny High, the Casablanca is the epitome of summer: creamy, a little sweet but still light and refreshing, and packed with flavor (gin, fresh muddled peaches, peach simple syrup, lemon juice, heavy cream and egg white, topped with Maine Root blueberry soda and garnished with locally farmed flowers). Play it again, Jenny!

The Pain Killer #3 on Woodford F&B’s patio, rebranded as Woodford Boat Club. Photo courtesy of Woodford F&B

If rum is more your style, Woodford F&B just added the $10 Pain Killer #3 (dark rum blend, coconut, orange) to its brand-new outdoor patio pop-up dubbed the Woodford Boat Club. Or make your way to local rum distillery Three of Strong Spirits for the $6 Stormy Night, the first of a new series of kegged cocktails. A spiced syrup, fresh ginger, lemon juice and lime juice are all carbonated in the keg to create a facsimile of ginger beer, which is then mixed with its newest rum, Nightwater Dark Rum. The end result is all the bubbly spice, bright citrusy goodness and rumminess you could ask for on a hot summer day. If you’re stuck at home and want the same feeling, mix 2 ounces of Nightwater Dark Rum with 5 ounces of ginger beer and serve over ice with a wedge of fresh lime squeezed into the mixture.

Three of Strong Spirits rum also makes an appearance in Black Cow’s $12 #ladyg cocktail, created by bartender Austin Williams. It’s Pusser’s rum, clarified grapefruit juice, Don’s Mix (a classic tiki cocktail staple which originated with Don the Beachcomber), Three of Strong Spirits Merrymeeting Spiced Rum, lime juice and Banane du Brasil. Garnished with flowers from Stonecipher Farm in Bowdoinham, it’s almost too pretty to drink. Meanwhile, Liz Smith, formerly of Lio and Central Provisions, just took over as Black Cow’s bar manager, so expect some exciting new drinks in the near future.

Tequila fans, never fear, I’m not ignoring you, and neither are Portland bars. Bird & Co has started mixing up a $9 watermelon margarita (blended fresh watermelon made daily, Triple Sec, fresh lime juice and organic blue agave) that’s perfect for enjoying in its new parklet patio. Over at Old Port Sea Grill, the $11 La Jolla, created by bar manager Michael Cristina, consists of jalapeno-infused tequila blanco, mezcal, green chartreuse, pineapple and lime.

If you spell summer V-O-D-K-A, check out the $8 Jazzy Ting at Anoche. It’s a slushie made with vodka, pineapple, sage and CBD. (I am not making this up.) If you’re trying to maintain a security clearance, a better option would be Local 188’s $12 Don’t Call It a Comeback. Vodka here is infused with strawberries from Maxwell’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth, then mixed with seven to 10 good-sized sprigs of fresh mint, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and soda water.

I moved to Maine because I’m #TeamWinter, but these cocktails could persuade me to give summer a chance.

Angie Bryan is a former diplomat who is enjoying getting acquainted with her new home in Portland, one cocktail at a time.

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