Vacation in a Glass

Six local cocktails offer visions of faraway places.
With its elegant origins, the St. Germain cocktail at Raku Sushi & Lounge evokes thoughts of St. Tropez.

A delicious drink is about a state of mind. A margarita in Venezuela is probably made with the same ingredients as a margarita in The Park, although the scenery is a bit different. At St. Louis Park Magazine, we know the best part of summer is taking time off. However, not everyone can afford an expensive excursion to parts and places unknown. We’ve decided to broaden our global horizons, and for this month’s drink selections, each beverage is paired with an ideal destination suited to the character and attitude of the drink. After all, the best vacations are often imagined grand adventures. Take this flavorful journey with us, and get a free vacation along the way.

“Who’s Your Daddy?” Margarita
Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill
Dream Destination: Isla de Margarita

A tip of the cowboy hat to Mr. Toby Keith: The man has more songs about cool beverages in the warm sun than there are days of summer. This bombastic base of tequila, orange juice, and a Guinness float is brewed together for a fresh twist on a classic drink to enjoy with your buds. The best part is this drink packs a delicious punch for only $6. So take that extra cash and plan a trip to Isla de Margarita. This aptly named island is Venezuela’s best-kept summer secret for tourists searching for surf and turf. The island is home to at least 50 beaches; that’s one for each Toby Keith song about summer. 1623 Park Place Blvd.; 763.450.9999.

Prickly Pear Martini
Rojo Mexican Grill
Dream Destination: British Virgin Islands

Like the sweet fruit in a desert oasis, Rojo’s prickly pear martini is a great excuse to step into the shade and cool down. Tres Generaciones tequila is mixed with prickly pear nectar and Rojo’s signature margarita recipe for a drink trendier than a cosmopolitan in the ’70s ($9.75). Coincidentally, the British Virgin Islands have an island named Prickly Pear. However, this destination is a nature preserve off-limits to tourists, so seek an attraction at the more popular Virgin Gorda islands. Their natural volcanic-heated baths are the perfect way to relax as your summer stress floats away. 1602 West End Blvd.; 952.657.5385.

St. Germain Cocktail

Raku Sushi & Lounge

Dream Destination: St. Tropez

Pop quiz: Which restaurant makes The Park’s premier French cocktail? Answer: St. Louis Park’s premier Japanese eatery. While a delicious beverage made with elderflowers found in the mountains of France sounds like a far cry from an ideal sushi pairing, manager Steve Robertson says it has a very light taste that pairs well with sushi. The St. Germain is enhanced with prosecco and soda to cut the sweetness, and is topped with a lemon slice to create a smooth sushi complement ($11). St. Tropez is the destination we are thinking about with this cocktail, as the city marks the first meeting of the French and Japanese peoples in the 17th century. This elegant city has a history of high society, serving as a favorite vacation spot for the likes of Coco Chanel and Henri Matisse. 5371 W. 16th Ave.; 952.378.1803.

Kentucky Apple
McCoy’s Public House
Dream Destination: Galway

There are few countries more sought after as a place for drinks with friends than Ireland. McCoy’s has channeled the spirit of the Irish into a pint packed with flavor. Cocktails and beer usually don’t mix, but in the case of the tangy Kentucky apple, better leave tradition at the door. Devil’s Cut Jim Beam is mixed with Añejo tequila, maple syrup, and Angry Orchard cider to offer a serious kick ($8). Galway is our summer city of choice to dream about while sipping the Kentucky apple. Known as a hub for music and culture, the traditional Irish lifestyle is ratcheted up by the heartbeat of a town with a youthful spirit. 3801 Grand Way; 952.224.9494.

Grasshopper
Park Tavern
Dream Destination: Disneyland

Park Tavern specializes in fun. Their famous grasshopper is the most fun you’ll have as an adult while slurping a tasty ice cream drink. Fresh vanilla ice cream is mixed with crème de menthe and crème de cacao for a green drink, which stays true to the classic recipe ($6.25). The best vacation to make you feel like a kid again is none other than Disneyland in California. With attractions new and old, the classic amusement park remains as nostalgic as a cool grasshopper on a hot summer day. 3401 Louisiana Ave. S; 952.929.6810.

Cranberry Bubbles
Crave
Dream Destination: The North Shore

Crave boasts one of the biggest drink menus in the Park and their signature flair is on every item. Try the Cranberry Bubbles, a non-alcoholic offering with fresh cranberries, rosemary, and Bruce Cost ginger ale. ($4.95). With a drink the whole family can enjoy, it is fitting to end our list with a family vacation. While it can be great to travel around the world, exploring our home state can be just as fun. Take the family to Lake Superior’s North Shore and visit the lakefront, Grand Marais, or anywhere in between. 1603 West End Blvd.; 952.933.6500.