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Cool concoctions: summer drinks feature fruit, juices with a twist

JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa's  beverage director Chris Horton with a Wild Berry Mojito at Salud Lounge.

JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa's beverage director Chris Horton with a Wild Berry Mojito at Salud Lounge.

Need a cool retreat from the heat this summer and a refreshing beverage to satisfy your thirst?

Several Tucson hot spots, including NoRTH, Sullivan’s Steakhouse and The Cup Cafe, have integrated new, tasty cocktails into their menu.

Kevin Brown, NoRTH’s general manager, says that they introduce cocktails in the summertime to give guests more options.

The restaurant in La Encantada shopping center starts preparing the new cocktail list about three to four months in advance, keeping in mind that people prefer light and fruity drinks during hot months. The goal is to make the drinks as refreshing as possible, but not overly sweet.

“We like to be trendy, always changing,” Brown says. “You always have to in the (restaurant business).”

At Sullivan’s Steakhouse, on the corner of River Road and Campbell Avenue, bar manager Travis Thatcher says, “Anything you can do to bring in business in the summer is always a positive thing.”

Sullivan’s most notable new cocktail is the Classic Caipirinha, what some would call the national cocktail of Brazil, with Leblon Cachaça rum and a lime twist garnish.

Janos Wilder’s J Bar at The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa also is offering a Caipirinha, this one with Ypioca Cachaça, fresh lime and cane sugar muddled and served over ice.

“You always want to do new, fun and different things,” Wilder says.

By changing the menu and introducing new cocktails, he believes that guests get more out of their dining experience.

The Cup Cafe at the historic Hotel Congress downtown has a new cocktail menu, with the addition of 10 drinks.

Bar manager Aaron DeFeo, who has been at The Cup about a year, says he and staff started working on the new cocktail menu in January.

“We only had one or two drinks on our specialty list (before),” he says. “I actually went through and redefined these drinks from scratch.”

Now DeFeo is confident that 60 percent to 70 percent of the cocktails are unique to The Cup.

“There are certain liquors that will always taste better during the summer,” DeFeo says. “A lot of these drinks use gin. Gin is generally a summer cocktail.”

He says the most popular new drink is the East India Ice Water, with Tanqueray Rangpur distilled gin, fresh and sweetened lime juice and a splash of soda.

At Salud Lounge at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa in the Tucson Mountains foothills, Chris Horton, director of beverage, says staff uses all-natural and organic ingredients, with fresh juice.

“We change it up pretty much every three months or so,” he says. “We get new spirits in that we like and kind of build around them.”

Salud's Acai-Blueberry  Martini

Salud's Acai-Blueberry Martini

The  Cup Cafe's Gin Blossom.

The Cup Cafe's Gin Blossom.

The Cup Cafe's Honey Dew Melontini

The Cup Cafe's Honey Dew Melontini



THE CUP CAFE (at Hotel Congress)

311 E. Congress St. (798-1618)

New cocktails include: East India Ice Water (Tanqueray Rangpur distilled gin, fresh, sweetened lime juice and a splash of soda); Gin Blossom (Hendrick’s Gin and St. Germain elderflower liqueur); Honey Dew Melontini (Plymouth Gin botanicals, Stolichnaya Strasberi strawberry-flavored vodka and Midori melon liqueur), and Johnny Royale (Peach Royale with fresh peach nectar).

J BAR (at The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa)

3770 E. Sunrise Drive (615-6100)

New cocktails include: Caipirinha (Ypioca Cachaça, fresh lime and cane sugar); Strawberry Lemonade (with Absolut Citron); Pomegranate Martini (pomegranate liqueur and Belvedere Vodka); Key Lime Pie (Absolut Vanilla vodka, lime and pineapple juices and a graham cracker rim); España (Licor 43 a citrus-vanilla flavored liqueur and cranberry, pineapple and orange juices)


2995 E. Skyline Drive (299-1600)

New cocktails include: Sangria; Mojito NoRTH a traditional mojito plus fresh raspberries)

SALUD LOUNGE (at JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa)

3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd. (792-3500)

New cocktails include: Acai-Blueberry Martini (fresh Acai berries, Van Gogh Acai-Blueberry Vodka, Bossa Nova Acai-Blueberry Juice, sour mix and Cointreau orange liqueur); El Carlotini (Malibu Rum, Cruzan Mango rum and pineapple and orange juices); Hand-Pressed Appletini (Absolut Citron Vodka, hand-pressed apple cider and Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur with a cinnamon sugar rim)


1785 E. River Road (299-4275)

New cocktails include: Classic Caipirinha (Leblon Cachaça rum and a lime twist); Goodnight Kiss (chocolate-flavored vodka and Hiram-Walker White Crème de Cocoa, with three olives, topped with a Hershey’s Kiss); Twist (DeKuyper Sour Apple Pucker, maraschino cherry;) The Knockout (Finlandia vodka infused with fresh pineapple and twist of orange); TKO (The Knockout plus Tuaca citrus- and vanilla-flavored liqueur from Italy).

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