Get into the spirit of the warm weather season with revitalizing cocktails from the area’s most beloved destinations.
By Elycia Rubin
As the mercury rises, there are few things more enticing than kicking back and cooling off with an invigorating liquid remedy. And nothing spells summer fun quite like an oversize glass brimming with colorful fruit juices, crushed ice, your spirit of choice and, of course, a mini umbrella and garnish.
From a slushy frose (or frozen rose) and a velvety mimosa with orange sorbet to a juicy watermelon mojito, the bold libations served up by talented mixologists at some of Newport Beach’s top hotels and restaurants will instantly transport you to a sun-drenched oasis.
The Resort at Pelican Hill
The star of the zesty Fairway to Heaven at the Pelican Grill & Bar is Gray Whale Gin, though the drink is also crafted with Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto liqueur. “This is an example of how we captured California fresh[ness] in a glass,” says Damien Johnson, The Resort at Pelican Hill’s assistant manager of food and beverage as well as head mixologist. Italicus is revered for its grassy, floral notes and there’s also a splash of Perricone Farms lime juice (which Johnson says is one of the last fresh juice companies in California), along with a drizzle of house-made simple syrup and rosemary picked by hand from the nearby golf course. “Being a golfer myself, I can attest there is no better feeling than being in the middle of the fairway and staring down the pin with [a] birdie opportunity—this drink takes me to that place with every sip,” Johnson reveals. (844-443-0022; pelicanhill.com)
The Beachcomber Cafe
Conjure up memories of summer and you’re likely to picture afternoons lounging on the beach, a luscious slice of watermelon in your hand and a smile painted on your face. This is precisely the inspiration for the watermelon mojito at The Beachcomber Cafe, where the crafty team dreamed up the perfect seasonal sip. Prepared with Cruzan rum and Cointreau, the melange also features muddled mint leaves plus agave-lime and watermelon juices. Topped with an orchid, watermelon slice and a stick of sugar cane, Aldo Ramirez, The Beachcomber’s bar manager, describes the eatery’s refreshing watermelon mojito as an “incredibly desirable drink.” Visually arresting and wildly succulent, resident mixologist Maximilian Mariahazy agrees that it’s impossible to resist, noting, “Seeing the reactions of everyone’s first sip will make you quickly decide what your next drink will be.” (949-376-6900; thebeachcombercafe.com)
Prepare to be whisked away to childhood and those sweltering, carefree days spent frolicking by the pool. “The OrangeSicle mimosa is an elevated version of a … playful cocktail reminiscent of youth,” says Riley Huddleston, executive chef partner at Lido House hotel. While mimosas are enjoyed year-round with the ever-present addition of orange juice, adding a dollop of orange sorbet makes for a decadent spin on this beloved brunch classic. The lactic acid from the sorbet along with fresh vanilla bean helps mimic a creamsicle. “It’s a perfect palate delighter for summer,” he adds. “And, [with Domaine] Chandon brut … poured over, all of the flavors dance on your palate.” Only available poolside at the hotel, locals can take advantage by booking a cabana. (949-524-8500; lidohousehotel.com)
With its pink hue and light, fresh flavor, rose continues its reign as the quintessential summer wine, and the frose is a frozen twist on this world-renowned favorite. Featuring a base of organic rose wine and high-quality vodka, this slushy creation is blended with freshly squeezed lemonade, seasonal fruit, and strawberry agave for a memorable taste sensation. “What’s better on a hot day than basking in the sun at our waterfront restaurant?” asks Paige Refino, beverage director and assistant general manager at Malibu Farm’s Lido Marina Village location, before adding, “Doing all of it while holding a Malibu Farm frose.” It’s fruity and refreshing and, according to Refino, simply “leaves you wanting more.” (949-791-2096; malibu-farm.com)
Billy’s at the Beach
With its striking ocean-colored hue, the aptly named Blue Hawaiian is a feast for the eyes. “Take one sip while relaxing in our island-inspired setting on the water and you’ll be transported to your favorite tropical vacation,” says General Manager Ryan Hunter. Reportedly invented in Hawaii in the 1950s, the Tiki-style cocktail is crafted with vodka, blue curacao, Malibu Rum, cream of coconut, pineapple and lime. This delectable concoction can even be found on the Happy Hour menu, available from 3-6 p.m. daily, and makes for an idyllic accompaniment as you indulge in both the festive Hawaiian dishes and the lively Newport Harbor views. (949-722-1100; billysatthebeach.net)