“Eat the rainbow.” According to dietary experts, that’s the healthiest way to dine. As someone who completed AP biology and one-fourth of a juice cleanse, I can assure you this rule also applies to beverages. (It’s, like, the transitive property or something.)="drop-caps">
The Scene has designed for you a drinkable rainbow of summer swigs. You’ve got the usual suspects: citrus and cucumber; the fruity and frosty; a mess of pink sparkling stuff; lots of gin. But we’re also trafficking in stranger things: Aperol, matcha, spice and salt. We even found a good blue drink made with crème de violette, a liqueur so foul I’d assumed it was served only in the room in hell where Bart Durham commercials play on a loop. Not so. Turns out Nashville can spin any flavor into something bright and beautiful.
Have a look at our list of 23 cool summer drinks in Nashville — including beer, wine, cocktails and nonalcoholic beverages — and where to find them.
Sho Chiku Bai Nigori, Virago: Chilled Sake
Barely filtered, bold and sweet, this chilled sake will have you declaring Sho Chiku Bai’s nigori the official drink of summer after just one icy sip.
Urban South Brewery Lime Cucumber Gose, New Heights Brewing Co.: Unfiltered Kettle-Soured Wheat Beer
Flavored with Key lime, cucumber juice and Kosher salt, this crisp sour beer is a beach breeze in a can. Find it at establishments including New Heights Brewing Co.
Iced Sweet Matcha Latte, Killebrew Coffee: Cold Brew, Simple Syrup, Milk, Matcha*
The green tea that’s swampy in a good way, matcha gives this creamy brew a sweet, clean funk.
Zing., Juice Nashville: Cucumber, Green Apple, Spinach, Parsley*
Cool, tart and just grassy enough, zing. is the rare green drink that’s both good and good for you, if a little bit pricey at $6.75 for an 8-ounce bottle. Find it at Juice Nashville in the Gulch.
DESTIHL Brewery’s Wild Sour Blueberry Gose, Wilburn Street Tavern: Blueberry Gose
Balanced by sea salt and coriander, this acidic sour is the exception to the rule that blueberry drinks are vile and should be imbibed only by college students. Try one at Wilburn Street Tavern in East Nashville’s McFerrin Park.
Aviation, Little Octopus: Gin, Amaretto, Lemon, Crème de Violette
This floral, nutty cocktail is the one “blue drank” on earth that won’t consign you to hugging porcelain.
The Illu-Gin-Ist, Sinema: Empress 1908 Gin, Vermouth, Lemon, Vanilla-Thyme Syrup
Made from the butterfly pea flower, this color-changing gin is magic: With the addition of citrus, it transforms from vibrant indigo to soft pink. Hence Sinema’s punny name.
Wölffer Estate Dry Rosé Cider No. 139, City Winery: Dry Cider
Stimulating acidity and hand-picked apples make this cider biting and crisp instead of cloying.
The Big Pink, Old Glory: French Wine, Grapefruit, Aperol
Aperol — an herbaceous, rhubarb-flavored apéritif — is everywhere, but the bitter beverage is best in this ultra-drinkable summer punch from Old Glory, the Edgehill establishment the Scene named Best Bar in 2017’s Best of Nashville issue.
Lo Siento No Lo Siento, Hemingway’s Bar & Hideaway: Fresh Watermelon, Tequila
Brisk and buzzy, this frosty beverage at Hemingway’s in Wedgewood-Houston has a name that tells you all you need to know: “Sorry not sorry.”
Sunset Sangria, Frothy Monkey: Sparkling Rosé, Grapefruit, Pomegranate, Blood Orange
A powerhouse of fruit and sparkle, this sangria — available at multiple Frothy Monkey locations — is sorority-girl catnip.
Quinta do Montalto Medieval de Ourém, Folk: Rosé
This bracing Portuguese wine is dark, flavored subtly with balsamic and berry and aged in chestnut barrels (so you know that shit is fancy). It’s the perfect rosé for red wine drinkers. Try it at the newly opened Folk in East Nashville’s McFerrin Park.
B+, 51 North Taproom & Grill: Beet, Gin, Lemon, Cucumber
No longer relegated to winter menus, beets bring an earthy brightness and welcome twist to this classic lemon/cucumber/gin combo at 51 North in The Nations.
Red Beer, Dino’s: Tomato Juice, Lime, Worcestershire, Old Bay, Hot Sauce, Beer
Summer doesn’t have to mean sweet. This salty, spicy beer at Dino’s in East Nashville is a great Bloody Mary alternative, and exponentially more sippable on a hot summer day.
Red Headed Stranger, Nicky’s Coal Fired: Pimm’s, Lemon-Ginger Syrup, New Heights IPA
Nicky’s Coal Fired in The Nations has an impressive selection of vermouth, draft wine and cocktails. Particularly interesting is the Red Headed Stranger — think Pimm’s cup meets Moscow mule with funky notes thrown in for good measure.
Disco Daisy, Geist: Campari, Blanco Tequila, Pineapple, Salt
At Geist in Germantown, Campari (Aperol’s stronger, more abrasive cousin) meets its odd but effective match in blanco tequila, creating a Daisy every bit as enticing — and deadly — as Jay Gatsby’s.
Field of Dreamsicle, The Band Box at First Tennessee Park: Triple Sec, Orange Juice, Blood Orange Vodka, Coconut Cream
The sherbet push-pop of your childhood, plus booze and minus the creepy ice cream man. Try it in The Band Box next time you go for a Nashville Sounds game.
Bell’s Oberon Orange, The Centennial: Wheat Ale Made With Fermented Yeast
Bell’s has done the impossible: made a spicy orange beer using no fruits or spices and made me like hops. Respect.
Gin Gin 75, Pinewood Social (Pool Menu): Gin, Lemon, Ginger, Mint, Sparkling Wine
Ginger and mint make this riff on a French 75 fit for day drinking poolside at Pinewood.
Coffee Palmer, Sump Coffee: Cold Brew, Lemon Simple Syrup*
I’ve already consumed approximately 100 cold brews this summer, and this citrusy sipper at Sump Coffee near Centennial Park is a restorative change of pace.
Picnic Tea Punch, Picnic Cafe: Tea, Frozen OJ and Lemonade Concentrates, Mint, Cinnamon, Sugar*
The OG of tea punches, Picnic Cafe’s Picnic Tea Punch has been the official drink of the ladies who lunch — aka the Belle Meade Mafia — for nigh on 35 years.
Wisconsin Old Fashioned, Kuchnia & Keller: Brandy, Lemon-Lime Liqueur, Cherry, Orange
Swapping brandy for bourbon, Kuchnia & Keller’s smooth twist on an old standard tastes like an Old Fashioned dressed up in a seersucker suit.
Coffee Soda, Crema at Pinewood Social: Cold Brew, Demerara Sugar, Orange*
Laced with brown sugar and citrus, this cold, carbonated brew is a refreshing way to start the day.
* denotes non-alcoholic beverage