It’s late summer, and although we have months of heat still ahead, the headiness of Memorial Day has given way to the August overload of humidity, exploding plant life, and back-to-school commercials. It’s beginning to feel like the final days before Starbucks starts pushing pumpkin spiced lattes. But we defiantly refuse to get excited about switching out our flip-flops for socks and boots. If you’re like us, here’s your last ditch celebrating list before the summer fun ends.
What you’re ordering: Stiegl Grapefruit Rader
One of the best — and easiest — ways to defy the end of summer is beach time. Hit the waves for a morning on Folly, then wander off the sand and into this beach shack where mismatched stools (is that a “reclaimed” table from a McDonalds?) and lack of indoor seating might make you wonder momentarily if this is just a Folly backyard. It is, but it comes with great food and a legit selection of beer iced down daily in a cooler behind the wood bar. Have the bartender dig for the white and orange can; its beer/lemonade blend is uniquely refreshing after sea and sun.
Jack of Cups
What you’re ordering: Blueberry Ginger Fizz
Another Folly favorite, Jack of Cups, makes many of their “cocktails” with 28 proof beer substitute Carolina Clear. This pink drink (just go with it) starts with Blueberry Carolina Clear poured over ice then topped with champagne and a splash of Gosling’s Ginger Beer. It is just the right amount of fruity to fizzy.
What you’re ordering: Disco Sour
Bar Manager Megan Deschaine of 492 has created a drink that makes one go “ooh.” Inspired by the changing lights of ’70s discos, this take on a Pisco Sour has blue ice cubes that change the drink’s color. Science, sipping, and Saturday Night Fever — you bet we’re throwing these back. Sure it features Pisco, one of the trendiest liquors to boot, but unlike many a disco anthem, this has taste.
The Bar at Husk
What you’re ordering: Mile Zero
The Florida Keys are for those searching for eternal summer, and Mile Zero is in Key West. However, if you’re not careful, rum-based cocktails — the liquor of choice for many a tropical night — can skew too sweet too fast under a less-than-deft hand. Deftness is never an issue at Husk, where Roderick Hale Weaver has created an elegant concoction with hints of palm sugar, lime, and the salt breezes blowing in from the harbor. It’s a vacation in a glass.
What you’re ordering: Reverb
If vacationing inland is more your scene, then show your cosmopolitan flair with this order from Proof’s new cocktail list. The combo of pastis, sweet vermouth, and ginger beer is refreshing and elegantly proportioned with an extra kick of cava. This is a lovely pre- or post-dinner drink when you want to feel good but you have things to do in the morning — even if those things are just shopping for more sandals.
Mex 1 Coastal Cantina
What you’re ordering: Salty Saint
A vodka cocktail in the house of tequila? Yes. We kicked vodka out of the cocktail club for a while, but we missed her impressionable personality. This drink is a good way to sneak her back in, as she will be dressed like a Paloma with a little St. Germain bow. Thankfully, a salty rim keeps her away from the “funtini” zone. In fact, let’s all make a pact to always stay away from the funtini zone. Ms. Vodka is trying to change her rep, OK?
What you’re ordering: What Time Does Sean Connery Show Up to Wimbledon?
A great riff on the Pimm’s Cup, the official cocktail of Wimbledon, this drink is a classic and an excellent addition to the summer cocktail list. This one has a little sass under its tennis whites, though, with a bourbon-soaked peach and blueberry puree. A cucumber-garnished cocktail is a prerequisite for a list like this, and the boys of the Oast provide an inventive choice, per usual.
What you’re ordering: Any beer in a bottle
The Shark Bar is a hold out in the “fancy-fying” of Shem Creek, tucked into the side of Vickery’s. Views of the marsh and high-powered fans make this one of the best seats in the Lowcountry, but avoid ordering dolled-up drinks. The bartenders are friendly and accommodating, but you want to get down to the business of what brought you here: cold beer and a sunset view to the soundtrack of fishermen chatting about their day. Extra “local” points if you bring your own koozie.
Leon’s Oyster Shop
What you’re ordering: Boulevardier
Bourbon and boozy, this is a sipper for sure, so be careful because the Campari inclusion makes it go down easy. For extra insurance, go ahead and order the grilled oysters — after one of these, you’re willpower is going to fade away.
Holy City Brewing or Any Front Porch
What you’re ordering: Slanted Porch Pale Ale
You can choose to enjoy this now at the brewery on Dorchester Road, or in cans (remember the koozie) on any front porch. Inspired by the less-than-plumb nature of many a Charleston veranda, the pale ale is made for porch sipping. Clocking in at 5.4% ABV, it’s easy drinking, cleaner tasting than an IPA, and floral and hoppy.