Spring is the most wonderful time of the year: flowers are blooming, and colorful foliage abounds. While the season ushers in perfect patio weather, it also brings an abundance of nature’s bounty.
Seasonal ingredients, particularly those of the green variety, not only make for good eating but good imbibing as well. From fruits and vegetables to fresh herbs and edible flowers, drinking green is easy in Houston. Whether it’s on the patio or the air-conditioned comfort of a bar, try these verdant spring sippers that fit the bill.
A Glass of Green Goodness at Rosewater
While the name of this cocktail is still on the drawing board, this spring-fling refresher is one of the many reasons Rosewater should be on your go-to list of quality cocktail bars. This delicious, green-tinged, floral concoction blends gin, cold-pressed cucumber, lime juice, house-made matcha syrup and a herbal liqueur. It’s essentially spring in a glass.
Abstracted Zen at Kitchen 713
Kitchen 713 has proven it’s a strong culinary contender with its widely-praised, global soul food menu, but the restaurant’s fresh digs provide new opportunities to showcase its cocktail chops. Chef James Haywood, one half of the eatery’s ownership team, proves matcha isn’t just for tea with this vividly colored libation. Vodka supplies the backbone to this finely ground-green-tea-infused creation that combines ginger, mint and lemon juice. The end result is a refreshing drink with earthy notes that’s subtly sweet and spicy.
Bae-Zilla at Ramen Tatsu-ya
A go-to spot for noodle lovers seeking hearty bowls of ramen, this popular Austin import also serves up a modest selection of invigorating sippers. One particularly well-suited for spring is this effervescent number. It’s a light quencher that mixes together house-made limeade, muddled Thai basil and sparkling soda. Basil seeds adds a bit of a fun factor with their crunchy and chewy texture. Add sake for additional élan.
Butterfly Absinthe at Étoile Cuisine et Bar
There’s a lot to love about Étoile Cuisine et Bar, from its classic and sophisticated French fare, to its balanced curated wine list that even the most discerning oenophiles adore. However, well-crafted absinthe cocktails also shine here. The tableside Butterfly Absinthe, equipped with its own fountain, puts the mysterious anise-flavored spirit on full display. Adventurous drinkers will take delight as the drink transforms from a dark green hue to a light lime color before their eyes. The classy offering is served alongside a sampling of other alluring pale green cocktails during Étoile’s absinthe-themed happy hour, The Green Hour (4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.) Don’t want to fight Uptown traffic? It’s also available at its downtown sequel, Brasserie du Parc.
Green is Good at Caracol
Get into the spirit of spring with this zesty cocktail from Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught’s coastal Mexican restaurant. The emerald-hued libation is a light and zingy blend of lime zest, house pickled tomatillos and choice of vodka or gin from Texas-based Dripping Springs.
Kale Limeade Shrub at Underbelly
For a walk on the non-boozy side, Chris Shepherd’s Montrose wine bar shakes things up with a shrub-based vegetal mocktail. The seasonal creation is made with fresh limes and a house-made kale shrub. Feeling a little fancy? Go for a Topo Chico topper for extra fizz.
Pliny’s Tonic at Anvil Bar & Refuge
This easy-drinking green creation has become something of a cult classic since Anvil’s beginnings. Citadelle Dry Gin comes together with lime, cucumber and mint for a clean-tasting refresher. There’s a fiery finish in part created by the habanero tincture, which provides a nice kick.
Snapsvisa Sour at Coltivare
Named after a Scandinavian drinking song, this daiquiri-inspired cocktail is one of the newer additions to Coltivare’s spring menu. With a handful of green ingredients, including mint and sugar snap peas, combined with lavender and genever, its notes are mostly sweet, complex, and floral. The vegetal libation also blends aquavit, allspice and lime. Traditionally, aquavit is consumed after a snapsvisa. Here, the rustic Italian eatery stays true to the time-honored Scandinavian custom.
The Garden Variety at State Fare
For those who love spice, State Fare’s herbaceous cocktail is a winner. The drink is layered with spicy components like Thai-chile-infused vodka and ginger, while cool cucumber and lemongrass are a welcome relief from the slow burning heat.
Wild Husk Sour at Xochi
Variety is the spice of life and it’s in full abundance at this downtown shrine to Oaxacan cuisine. Xochi boasts over a 100 agave-based spirits, mezcal and tequila among them. However, if you’re not up for a pour (one to one-and-half ounce), try one of several mezcal-based cocktails, like this bright green number from beverage director Sean Beck. Crafted with mezcal, pisco, lime, grapefruit, tomatillo marmalade and candied hoja Santa, the Wild Husk Sour feels like a retreat to the Southern Mexican state.
Vuelve a la Vida, Nobie's
St. Patrick's Day may be past, but perhaps you can bring him back to the land of the living with the Vuelve a la Vida cocktail, whose name is Spanish for "return to life. It’s a vibrant green, mezcal-based cocktail composed of Lillet Blanc, Ancho Reyes Verde, herb-infused simple syrup, lemon juice and absinthe.