Right about now, we all could use a frosty drink. Whether it’s a boozy sipper, a meal-in-a-glass smoothie, a quenching soda or a simple slug of juice, midsummer is about hydration, cooling down and sipping at leisure. Needless to say, there are hundreds if not thousands of choices. What you imbibe depends on mood, time of day and location; join us for a drink (or two) as we explore the wonderful world of refreshing beverages in and around Plymouth.
Thai Iced Coffee
One of our favorite hot-weather drinks is Thai iced coffee, and we’ve never tasted a bad one. Thai Table’s version is, in fact, excellent. Strong coffee sweetened with condensed milk is poured over ice cubes, and that’s it. Why does it taste so delicious, so exotic? No clue—a lurking secret ingredient, perhaps?—but it’s both a cooler and a pick-me-up, and it’s killer with spicy Thai food. $2.99. 10100 Sixth Ave. N.; 763.591.6085.
Deane's Ginger Honey Kombucha
If you haven’t heard about kombucha by now, it’s time to emerge from your cave. Fermentation is in, baby—it might be the key to health and longevity, and it’s definitely key to up-to-the-minute drink trendiness. Kombucha is made from fermented green tea and is fizzy like a soda and sour like vinegar (read: only grownups need apply). Don’t hesitate to acquire a taste for it: This beverage is restorative on a deep, even cellular, level. The ginger-honey flavor is a good one, zingy and bright with blood-stirring, tummy-soothing fresh ginger and raw honey from Ames Farm in Waterton, Minn. 16 oz., $3.99. 3455 Vicksburg Lane N.; 763.253.3125.
The bar at The Eat Shop is, simply put, awesome. It has one of the largest arrays of locally brewed beers in the area. Shun the fancy-pants libations, and get down with a frosty pint of the homegrown stuff from breweries like Summit, Surly, Fulton, Lucid, Excelsior, 612 and more. For summer, we like Excelsior’s Big Island Blonde. It’s a light-bodied ale, more malty than bitter, with a quick note of citrus that heightens the lightness. While super-refreshing on the boat, it’s just as quenching here; park it and gab with the nice bar patrons for a while. $6.25. 16605 County Road 24; 763.270.5929.
Huge Kinky Margarita
You’ve got to see this thing to believe it: a margarita the size of a birdbath—a 42-oz. birdbath, that is. The funky-festive southwestern joint has a separate margarita menu with fun-sounding tequila-based concoctions like the La Bamba, Acapulco Breeze and the El Matador, but how could we resist the Kinky? It’s made from Jose Cuervo gold tequila, electric blue Kinky liqueur, and sweet and sour mix. Kinky liqueur, as it turns out, is fruit-infused vodka, though we have never seen a fruit of this color. Who cares? It’s a frozen margarita guaranteed to induce a welcome chill. Bring backup: Do not attempt to take this puppy down alone. 42 oz., $14.99. 11032 Cedar Lake Road, Minnetonka; 952.540.0181.
This is one of those places that people call a “hidden gem.” One of the reasons is that it stocks authentic Mexican fare that’s hard to find at other, better-left-unnamed taco chains. This includes an array of refrescos, nonalcoholic drinks like jarritos, agua de Jamaica and, our favorite, horchata, a milky drink made from rice. Yes, rice sounds more like a winter comfort food than a refreshing quaff, but believe us when we tell you that this will plunge you into a delicious, cooling creaminess. Mexico knows hot weather, after all. It’s a unique blend of rice, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla—yup, it’s dairy free. A fortifying countermeasure to both high temperatures and culinary heat, a few slugs of horchata do wonders to temper the chili burn on your tongue. $2.99. 60 Nathan Lane N.; 763.545.1977.
Martini menus have swarmed the area like, um, mosquitos at dusk, and Sunshine Factory—now known as hipper, abbreviated “The Factory”—has a sweet little list of creative options. Try the chocolate one, and join us in delighting over its decadent drinkability. It’s made from Absolut vanilla vodka, chocolate liqueur and Bailey’s Irish cream—that’s three different kinds of alcohol, but the boozy kick hardly registers. This is a high-class liquid dessert, but high-test, too—sip slowly. $7.99. 4100 Vinewood Lane; 763.535.7000.
Creamy Cold Press
Coffee drinks are getting more and more elaborate, to the point where, let’s face it, they’re really liquid ice cream sundaes. But that’s OK—who doesn’t love a caffeinated ice cream sundae? Caribou guests have long raved about the cold press coffee, and with the advent of this summer’s specialty limited edition creamy varieties, the refreshingly iced bevvie gets an infusion of sweet cream and flavor—vanilla, salted caramel and chocolate almond, to be exact. It’s definitely for the seasoned coffee drinkers among us: Caribou’s intensely roasted beans deliver a solid kick of caffeine. Don’t worry, it’s “socially responsible” coffee, so you can sip with a clear conscience. Prices vary. 1400 County Road 101; 763.473.1339.