11 seasonal drinks to try this summer at Baltimore bars and restaurants

The quest to create the perfect warm weather drinks started four months ago at The Bluebird Cocktail Room in Hampden.

The end result is a floral-themed 18 drinks cocktail menu that will be available through the end of summer.

Not only do the drinks offer an outdoorsy, fresh, botanical-quality, the flowers create a visual treat.

“The aesthetics play a huge roll in what we do. If we can make something aesthetically pleasing that makes sense that’s what we want to do,” said Paul Benkert, creative director and owner of the nationally lauded, dimly lit, walk-up restaurant and bar.

Benkert and bar manager Ben Poole worked closely with Karma Farms in Monkton to source the flowers used on their menu.

Baltimore’s bars and restaurants have unveiled a slew of seasonal drinks by incorporating plenty of floral elements or bright and bold ingredients. From edible flowers encased in clear ice cubes to colorful cocktails made from floral extracts or citrus fruits, this season’s cocktails are fun, fragrant, picture-worthy and palate-pleasing.

La Hermosa Mariposa

$14, Gunther & Co.

This ombré concoction that fades from purple to pink is a top seller and social media gold at the Canton restaurant.

The drink, which is served in an etched rocks glass, features Roca Patron Tequila, guava juice, aloe juice, Cointreau, lime juice, cucumber bitters and Butterfly Pea Flower Tea. The whimsical cocktail is topped with iridescent purple edible glitter, which creates an electric, shimmery appearance.

The drink, which name translates from Spanish to “The Beautiful Butterfly,” is perfect for the restaurant’s back patio, according to its bar staff.

Silver Shell

$17, The Bluebird Cocktail Room

This spin on a gin martini is a visual masterpiece even though its comprised of just a few ingredients.

Served in a double rocks glass, the drink is a combination of French vermouth comprised of 18 botanicals and London Dry Gin.

“We really like simple drinks,” Benkert said.

The drink is further elevated with the addition of a clear ice sphere surrounding a Brassica flower, the yellow and white bloom that grows from a collard green.

“It's something you typically wouldn't use,” Benkert said, explaining that he purchases the “stemy” flower from Karma Farms. “It brings the farmer income from something that wouldn't typically be used.”

Creating the iced flower—it’s perfectly centered in the middle of the crystal clear sphere—took the staff there a while to create.

“It's mostly a trade secret,” he said. “It took a lot of time [two months] to perfect.”

But it’s worth it, according to Benkert.

Vain Desires

$11 ($7 during happy hour), The Bluebird Cocktail Room

The refreshing drink—served in a stemless wine glass—is composed of fermented cucumber juice, fresh lime juice, vodka, and grapefruit and elderflower liqueurs.

“It's our biggest seller,” Benkert said. “The drink has to be approachable and insanely refreshing.”

The key to this cocktail is the fermented cucumber juice, which is almost like a cucumber soda, according to Benkert.

“We don't let the fermentation process go for more than 36 hours,” he said. “It’s still fresh and zesty. It gives the cucumber more depth and gives the drink it's body.”

Sour Me Unicorn Farts

16 oz can 4-packs ($12.99-$13.99), various locations

While flowers have dominated the drink offerings this season, DuClaw Brewing Company took a sweeter approach when teaming with Diablo Doughnuts for Sour Me Unicorn Farts. Yes, even the beloved maker of artisanal doughnuts has gotten into the beer business with this medium-bodied and tart-sweet beer based on their popular Unicorn Farts Fruity Pebbles doughnut. The 5.5% alcohol by volume beer also contains edible glitter.

Emily Thompson, pastry chef at Diablo Doughnuts, calls the collaboration: “A magical twist out of the box and right into the can.”

She touts the “bold fruit flavors of fresh strawberries and tangerines” as a way of transporting drinkers “right back to Saturday morning cartoons and breakfast.”

The beer will be available June 15 at Whiteys Liquors in Linthicum. The beer will also be available at a number of bars in Annapolis during Annapolis Pride.

Rose Matcha Latte

$5 for a 12 oz. cup and $5.50 for 16 oz., Order & Chaos Coffee

Coffee drinkers can also get in on the seasonal displays.

The Locust Point coffee shop serves up this floral forward Rose Matcha Latte, which can be made hot or iced. The hot version, which is comprised of a rose water syrup, matcha powder and milk of choice, is the more dramatic presentation with a creamy green foam that allows for the stunning visual of a leaf design and a heavy sprinkling of rose pedals.

“It is a favorite among a lot of people,” said Laura Micciulla, a barista at Order & Chaos Coffee. “Adding that rose twist adds a floral, spring flavor. It’s not too strong. It freshens up the drink.”

Summer 75

$5 on the happy hour menu, Cinghiale

This peppery-sweet cocktail is a steal at $5 on the Northern Italian-themed restaurant’s newly launched happy hour.

The Tanqueray gin-based drink includes Strawberry Basil Gastrique, lemon, Zardetto Prosecco and ground pink peppercorn.

Summer Blueberry Mojito

$5 on the happy hour menu, Bar Vasquez

This version is a spin on a blueberry mojito. Made with fresh local blueberries, garden mint, and white rum, the drink is “mouth-watering,” according to the restaurant’s general manager, Charisse Nichols. “You can’t have just one.”

La Paloma

$18, The Bygone

The Great-Gatsby era restaurant atop the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, serves up this classic tequila-based, salt-dusted, grapefruit-wedged cocktail.

The drink, which is believed to have been originated by Don Javier Delgado Corona, the owner and bartender of the famed La Capilla, the oldest bar in the town of Tequila, Mexico, according to The Bygone’s bar manager William Escalante.

The lime and grapefruit in the drink creates a tropical feel.

Plus, “It makes your glands salivate and makes you want to go in for another drink time and time a again,” he adds.

Bumer’s Manifest

$24, The Bygone

This fruity, citrusy drink was made for the warmer summer months.

Served in a tiki glass, the concoction is comprised of Jaegermeister manifest, pineapple, sibilla amaro, Chartreuse, lime and angostura.

“It’s definitely a patio cocktail that you can enjoy in the sun,” he said. “It reminds you of the Caribbean or at the beach—somewhere in the outdoors.”

Rain Check

$18, The Elk Room

Coconut oil fat-washed gin, golden beet-infused sauternes, Amontillado sherry, enoki mushroom, cascara, valerian, orris and nasturtium creates this fresh, earthy cocktail at the Harbor East speakeasy-themed bar.

Zeus the Shapeshifter

$14, Ouzo Bay

This saffron honey lemonade drink can be made with Tito’s Vodka, Bluecoat Gin, Papa’s Pilar Rum, Milagro Tequila or Maker’s 46 Bourbon.

Topped with micro greens and spring flowers, the cocktail is supposed to resemble a spring color palette.

The “bright, refreshing” flavors are perfect for warmer weather, according to the restaurant’s bar staff.



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