TNT Diner

Too hot? Here are six new summer cocktails you should drink immediately

A glass of frozen wine (left) and frozen cider (right) from North End Social Club in Tacoma.
A glass of frozen wine (left) and frozen cider (right) from North End Social Club in Tacoma.

I’ve spent the last month cruising summer menus in the Tacoma area for tasty adult beverages. I’m talking deck-style tropical cocktails and summer sippers that are easy drinking when temperatures rise. Take a look here at these cocktails that are icy, sweet, fruity and even smoky.

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A rhubarb Collins from Primo Grill in Tacoma. Sue Kidd

Rhubarb Collins

Where: Primo Grill, 2701 Sixth Ave.; 253-383-7000 or

The Sixth Avenue Mediterranean restaurant blurs the line between kitchen and bar with its handcrafted cocktail elixirs made from house-infused spirits and handmade syrups. The Rhubarb Collins is a new invention from co-owner Jacqueline Plattner. She uses a house-made tart-and-floral ginger-rhubarb syrup at the base of her refreshing twist on a traditional Collins. The herbal note came from fennel-infused vodka, also made in house. Served in a tall Collins glass over ice with a fennel frond plopped on top, $10.

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The Miss Saigon cocktail with hibiscus-infused vodka from Boiling Crawfish in South Hill. Sue Kidd

Miss Saigon

Where: Boiling Crawfish, 4301 S. Meridian, Puyallup; 253-256-7423 or

Beer typically is my preferred booze companion with Louisiana-style seafood boil, but the new South Hill boil restaurant, Boiling Crawfish, has a mighty interesting summer cocktail list as a companion to its dozen-plus styles of seafood boil. Try the Miss Saigon, which starts with a vibrant purple hibiscus-infused vodka. The hibiscus imparts a light floral whiff, which was intensified after the addition of muddled mint and fresh lime juice. Served in a short rocks glass over ice with a lime slice and a sprig of fresh mint on top, $9.

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The Blood Moon cocktail from Matriarch. Sue Kidd

Blood Moon

Where: Matriarch Lounge, 1322 S. Fawcett Ave., Tacoma; 253-302-3359 or

My favorite cocktail in Tacoma using Cherry Heering, a complex cherry brandy that I love, has always been The Cardinal at The Mule Tavern, but a new close second is the Blood Moon from newly opened Matriarch Lounge in downtown Tacoma’s Alma Mater building. The Blood Moon starts with a slap of smoke from mezcal and a bit of boozy depth from sweet vermouth. The rich sweetness comes from that splash of Cherry Heering and a citrus finish. Served up in a coupe glass with an orange twist, $9.

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Sweet Leilani, a specialty cocktail on the Hawaiian menu at Cooks Tavern in Tacoma. Sue Kidd

Sweet Leilani and Madame Pele

Where: Cooks Tavern, 3201 N. 26th St., Tacoma; 253-327-1777 or

The Proctor neighborhood restaurant changes its menu every few months. The new Hawaiian-themed menu debuted in June and features a handful of summer sippers. I liked the sweet-smoky-spicy Madame Pele with a smoky blast of mezcal and heavy foam top ($10.50), but my summer go-to cocktail is going to be the Sweet Leilani, made with Havana Club Anejo Blanco rum, a heavy pour of dragon-fruit syrup, passion-fruit puree, coconut cream and a surprising addition of coconut nigori sake. The rum and sake turned this drink super boozy, and it was sweet enough that it went down dangerously fast. Served in a tall glass over ice with a cherry, pineapple and orange garnish, $11.

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A glass of frozen cider from North End Social Club in Tacoma. Sue Kidd

Cider Slushy

Where: North End Social Club, 3013 Sixth Ave., Tacoma;

I was describing this frozen cider to somebody the other day and they thought I was joking. I wasn’t. They really do freeze cider at North End Social Club, a taproom in the Sixth Avenue neighborhood. The bar usually has a frozen cider and frozen wine whirling away in its slushy machine behind the bar. I didn’t care much for the frozen wine with a bitter finish, but I think the fruity, frozen huckleberry cider was the best adult slushy I’ve ever tasted. Served frozen in a tall jar, $6.

Sue Kidd: 253-597-8270, @tntdiner