Spring is officially here, and Old Man Winter — the guest who overstayed his welcome — has left the building. Cincinnati can finally relish the warm weather with a few celebratory drinks. Just in case you’ve forgotten where to drink and what spring drinking should taste like, don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of essential drinks from around the city. These drinks are packed with refreshing combinations of citrus, fruits and herbs that will help you slough off winter and forget about those heavily rotated flannel shirts.
We start downtown at the Metropole
inside the 21c Museum Hotel with a cocktail concoction that rivals some of the best dinner plates in the city. El Spring Grove ($10) is a mixture of carrot, apple shrub, El Jimador Reposado and orange curacao. The drink is opaque and carrot-orange in color, served on the rocks and garnished with a lime wedge. The flavor, coming from the house-made apple shrub, a vinegar-based drink with a hint of lavender, is reminiscent of a boozy vegetable juice with an added splash of orange flavor from the curacao. If the weather stays warm, you can enjoy this drink up on the rooftop patio, which they plan on opening by the end of April — fingers crossed. 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-578-6600, 21cmuseumhotels.com/cincinnati.
Moving north to Over-the-Rhine is Kaze. Sitting on the urban corner of 14th and Vine, you wouldn’t expect this restaurant to have a beautiful, large outdoor bar and patio. Kaze is known for its Japanese dishes, but the cocktails are just as stunning.
A simple twist on the Moscow mule, the Tokio Mule ($8) — yes, Tokyo with an “i” — is served on the rocks with the standard vodka and ginger beer, but Kaze spruces up the classic cocktail with elderflower liquor and lemon. The elderflower liquor adds a hint of sweetness and floral aroma to the ginger beer cocktail, augmenting its naturally warm weather appeal. 1400 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-898-7991, kazeotr.com.
For a drink on the West Side, try the Incline Public House
, known for its breathtaking view of Cincinnati as well as its expansive patio and delicious pizza. Of course their beer taps are great, but they also have a nice cocktail menu. The Scratch ($8) is made with Bulleit bourbon, lemon juice, confectioner’s sugar, soda water and finished with a splash of cherry juice for color. This drink is surprisingly delicious and not overly sweet. The confectioner’s sugar leaves no granules at the bottom of the glass, and the splash of lemon makes this bourbon lemonade a perfect thirst quencher while enjoying the spring air on the deck. 2601 W. Eighth St., Price Hill, 513-251-3000, inclinepublichouse.com.
Maribelle’s eat + drink
in Oakley recently redid their menu, and the drink list does not disappoint. The Gin Mill ($9) epitomizes spring in one rocks glass. Made with Gordon’s gin, muddled basil, lemon, cucumber and ginger beer, it tastes like freshly plucked herbs and spring rain. Enjoy this in a glass, sitting outside in front of their restaurant, under the umbrellas. 3235 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-321-9111, maribellestavern.com.
A few miles away, nestled between a string of restaurants, is Wurst Bar
in Mount Lookout. Their entire drink menu is geared toward warm weather. The Red Legged Rosie ($7) is a citrusy fruit bomb in a glass made from Absolut Citron vodka, peach schnapps, pomegranate liquor, lemon juice and grenadine. This well-balanced berry-red drink tastes like an exotic fruit salad dressed with a sweetened citrus sauce. Enjoy your drinks at one of the tables in the front of the restaurant or head to the back for more outside seating. 3204 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, 513- 321-0615, wurstbarinthesquare.com.
If you find yourself in Mainstrasse Village, The Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar
offers warm weather bourbon drinks with a few spots for outside seating on their back patio. The Scofflaw ($8.50) is a rye whiskey drink served up with dry vermouth, fresh lemon juice, a splash of grenadine and garnished with a twist of lemon peel. This drink is tart and juicy, almost like biting into a whiskey-sugared lemon, but definitely refreshing for a whiskey drink. 629 A Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-581-1777, facebook.com/1OKBB.
So when you’re done turning the mattress over and beating out the curtains, go sit on a patio, enjoy a citrusy beverage and thaw out.