Beer is de rigeur for most summer afternoons, but for cocktail lovers, it’s the season of the gin and tonic. Whether that gin is juniper-driven or herbaceous, local or imported, we’ll take any or all of it in combination with the cooling quinine flavour of tonic – with a slice of lime, please and thank you. The traditional highball is standard, but Calgary spots are taking a classic and making it their own for the summer season.
Calcutta Cricket Club
We’ll never turn down the chance to enjoy this Indian street food joint’s Crushable Gin and Tonic, complete with mango and lemon, then spiked with chili, but we feel safe it’s unlikely to leave the menu anytime soon. For summer sipping, opt for the Mango Lassi Gin Fizz, a boozy take on the classic, cooling yogurt-based drink with sweet mango and British Gin.
340 17 Ave. S.W., 403-719-1555, calcuttacricketclub.com
Eau Claire Distillery
Skip the mixing and crack open a can of this ready-to-drink gin and tonic made from Eau Claire’s London-style dry gin with its hints of rosehip and lemon and the house-made tonic from Eau Claire Soda Company – also created by the distillery. Perfectly portable, the cans of cocktail make summer afternoons a breeze.
113 Sunset Blvd. S.W., Turner Valley, 403-933-5408, eauclairedistillery.ca
Slurpees aren’t just for kids. With the Super Sonic, a typical gin tonic gets a playful twist with a lime-slush topping capping off the cocktail. Deeply refreshing for an afternoon on the patio, the trick is to avoid any brain freeze.
Four Calgary locations, joeyrestaurants.com
With summer comes a plethora of rhubarb, which makes for fantastic pies or crumbles. Equally good, though, is putting the sour stalks in a cocktail, like the Rhubarbarella. This drink feature takes Tanqueray and mixes it up with bubbles, rose water, lemon, the floral flavour of St. Germaine and some rhubarb cordial for a fizzy and fun cocktail.
308 17 Ave. S.W., 403-265-7343, modelmilk.ca
Ox Bar de Tapas
It’s the first cocktail on the drink menu, this Spanish tapas restaurant’s gin and tonic with housemade mix, but peruse further down the menu for a whole host of gins and three options of tonics to really explore this classic drink. Organized by region – Canada, US and Europe – the gin options are incredibly varied. Mix and match with the three tonics to find your perfect version.
528 17 Ave. S.W., 403-457-1432, oxtapas.com