Atlanta’s summers engage the senses like no other season—think warm breezes, gorgeous blossoms and vibrant landscapes. Summer's natural beauty is enhanced by the flavorful dishes and zesty drinks concocted by local restaurants and bars as an homage to this season's endless charm. Dig into Atlanta's hottest time of year with our favorite summertime dishes and drinks.
A Sip of Summer
Our favorite summer cocktails capture the essence of the season in a glass. Sip on these to cool down while Atlanta heats up.
Grain is a quintessential locals-only stop in the heart of Midtown. Sit in the shade of their outdoor patio while cooling down with the Endless Summer Smash, a mixture of Bols Genever, nitro-muddled mint and sage, watermelon, strawberry, beet shrub and vermouth served in a martini glass.
Kimball House creates some of the city’s best cocktails, so it’s no surprise this Decatur hotspot nailed their warm-weather cocktail, the Spring Daiquiri. Served in a goblet glass, this eye-widening concoction of rhum, rhubarb vermouth, celery, lime and chartreuse will awaken your senses. We’re holding on to this tasty and tart drink all summer long.
The Iberian Pig is a staple for Spanish cuisine, but we can’t stop thinking about their Feel Good Hit of the Summer. This sweet and zesty cocktail stirs up Papa’s Pilar Blonde rum, cachaça, strawberry-basil syrup and lemon over crushed ice to transport you to a whitesand beach.
A new South-African stall at Ponce City Market, Biltong Bar mixes up a refreshing selection of cocktails. The bright-red B.B. Cooler is especially apropos for a hot day: Aylesbury Duck vodka, lemon, lavender and Grapetiser—a sparkling red grape soda from South Africa—find a home for themselves in a collins glass with an orange-peel garnish.
Savor the Season
Indulge in the season’s bounty with these supremely fresh dishes that serve up summertime flavor in each bite.
Miller Union chef/owner and James Beard Award-winner Steven Satterfield has achieved national acclaim for his ability to draw immense flavor from vegetables using simple, classically Southern recipes. Try the light, fresh and nutritious spinach and chard salad with strawberry, fennel, sunflower, chevre and rhubarb vinaigrette for a taste of summer.
Known far and wide as the best sushi restaurant in Atlanta, and arguably the region, Umi’s avocado salad is one of its simplest and most delicious plates. And we mean simple: half an avocado is pitted and served—peel and all—with a pool of wasabi vinaigrette in the pit. Trust us, this is one summer dish you don’t want to skip.
There’s something about a dozen oysters served on a tray of ice that makes us want to sip a cold drink on a breezy patio. Luckily, Saltyard offers super-fresh East Coast oysters year round. Visit during oyster happy hour every weekday from 5-7 pm to indulge in $1 oysters on the half shell, $3 local brews and $5 glasses of wine.
In the heart of Downtown Atlanta, Alma Cocina serves up modern fare inspired by the rich flavors of Mexican cuisine. Nothing cools you down while satisfying your hunger more than their hibiscus-cured cobia ceviche with blood orange, avocado, pickled red onion, radish, cucumber and blood orange habañero granita.
In the last few years, cocktails have gained a place for themselves as a serious artform. No longer is it enough to mix orange juice into vodka, especially not with the vast spectrum of spirits, cordials, liqueurs, bitters and modifiers available to amplify a drink’s complexity, flavor, nose and appearance. Atlanta’s cocktail culture is exceptionally strong, and Staplehouse and 1Kept are two restaurants that take meticulous mixology to the next level.
Take the Umami Mia, for instance. Staplehouse bartender Shyretha Bolton created this concoction as a riff on the classic English milk punch. “I am big on texture, so I wanted the cocktail to still feature the viscosity from milk but not feel heavy on the palate,” said Bolton. To create the Umami Mia, Bolton steeps seaweed in whole milk for 12 hours, a step inspired by Staplehouse executive chef Ryan Smith’s techniques in the kitchen.
After half a day of steeping the seaweed, Bolton strains and simmers the milk, adding lime juice for coagulation and applejack brandy for flavor. The curdled milk is then set aside to cool and refrigerated overnight. Several steps later, Bolton has created the base of the cocktail, which is then mixed in a shaker with pineapple juice and yellow chartreuse. The creamy cocktail is then served over ice in a rocks glass.
With a similar attention to detail and quality, 1Kept creates The Evening Star cocktail with vodka that’s infused in-house. Using a cold-brew system, the vodka takes over eight hours to filter through fresh herbs and botanicals at a rate of about one drop per second. The result is a refreshing ginger-lime vodka that’s mixed with Van Gogh gin, lemon, house-made saffron syrup, Boston Bittahs, extra virgin olive oil, basil and a top of prosecco.