July is National Ice Cream Month, which opens the door for many creatively cool promotion ideas. Don’t stop with ice cream, though, because other childhood summer favorites such as lemonade and shaved ice also attract grownups.
July happens to be National Tequila Month, too. Here are a few ideas from restaurants that have jumped into the spirit of summer with cocktail ideas as well as alcohol-free specialties.
Ice cream meets tequila: Executive chef Chris Mortenson of La Condesa Napa Valley is observing National Ice Cream Month by pairing housemade gourmet ice cream flights with premium tequilas. Flight prices, pairing four tequilas and four scoops of ice cream, start at $25. Combinations include Honey Vanilla ice cream paired with Cazadores Reposado Tequila, and Black Sesame Ice Cream complemented by Partida Añejo Tequila. The pairings will be available throughout July and August.
Peter B’s Brewpub in Monterey, CA, is collaborating with KaiLee creamery in Pacific Grove, CA, to feature an ice cream made with stout—specifically, Peter B’s Stout Resistance. Summery dessert ideas include the Espresso Stout Ice Cream Sandwich with Ginger Snap Cookies and Chocolate Shavings.
Lemonade notes: Now celebrating its 50th summer, Benihana restaurants offer a summertime drink idea: the Benihana Blue Ocean Punch bowl with lemonade and pineapple flavors. The Blue Ocean Punch Bowl, meant to serve two or more, gets its blue color from blue curacao syrup.
Ice cream carts: At Spice Market in NYC, pastry chef Christina Kaelberer created frozen novelties inspired by childhood classics, sold from an ice cream cart on the restaurant’s patio from July 2 to 13th. “The reason I want to do an ice cream cart is that being a kid was carefree and when you grow up, you have to take life seriously,” she says. “What’s summer without chasing your favorite ice cream truck and trying all the frozen novelties?” With flavors inspired by Southeast Asian cuisine, prices for Pop Cart specialties ranged from $3 to $6. Freezies featured lemongrass blueberry lemonade, melon mint and strawberry Mandarin varieties, while Ice Cream Box flavors included Thai tea and honey-roasted peanut. Also available: ice cream sandwiches such as Chinese Snickerdoodle Cookies with Salted Caramel Ice Cream, pops and sorbets.
Shaved ice: Summertime treats at The Bench kitchen, bar and lakeside patio at the Gaithersburg Marriott Washingtonian Center include mixologist-made frozen treats inspired by the childhood favorite of shaved ice. The specialties include shaved ice, freshly squeezed juices and hand-blended recipes in flavors such as Sangria, Tequila Sunrise and Mojito. Senior food and beverage operations manager Nicole Watkins says, “Almost any cocktail can be suited to shaved ice. It’s an easy way to turn up the wow factor and add a touch of nostalgia to outdoor get-togethers.”
Milkshakes: Connecticut-based Wayback Burgers, with more than 80 locations, celebrated the arrival of summer with Free Shake Day, offering junior-size signature milkshakes combining chocolate and vanilla. “Giving away free milkshakes on the first day of summer has been a tradition with our brand for many years,” says John Eucalitto, president of Jake’s Franchising. “The Black & White Milkshake is the perfect treat to celebrate the first day of summer.”
Yogurt cocktails: Yogurt is a refreshing snack, but it’s also cropping up as a flavorful cocktail ingredient. At Terrazza in Santa Monica, CA, the White Rabbit cocktail features Bols Natural Yoghurt Liqueur, Vanilla Stoli, coconut milk and Cointreau. At Molyvos in NYC, the Mediterranean-inspired Mantarini cocktail combines fresh tangerine juice with mandarin vodka, Rakomelo and yogurt.