Green is Good

11 Green Cocktails to Sip Right Now in Houston

From matcha to basil, these fresh sips stand out equally for their color and flavor.

By Jakeisha Wilmore March 21, 2017

Rosewater green cocktail courtesy photo hefgln

Rosewater's green cocktail is so fresh it doesn't have a name yet.

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.

Kitchen 713 abstracted zen cocktail phaedra cook dqkmw8

When Kitchen 713 said the cocktail menu was chef-driven, they meant it.

Image: Phaedra Cook

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. 

Ramen tatsuya baezilla jakeisha wilmore uj9uar

Will this cocktail be your bae?

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.

Eotile butterfly absinthe photo by moris malakoff ff49nx

Green fairy? This is a green butterfly.

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.

Caracol green is good photo kenn stearns phojns

Gordon Gecko and Kermit the Frog both approve.

Image: Kenn Stearns

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.

Underbelly kale limeade photo chris bednorz ptbazu

Low on alcohol, high on flavor.

Image: Chris Bednorz

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.

Anvil plinys tonic photo julie soefer ojcxlx

The Natural History of Houston may well include this botanically informed cocktail.

Image: Julie Soefer

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.

Coltivare snapvisa sour courtesy photo btltbv

Gin's forebear, genever, and aquavit, give this vegetal libation its 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.

State fare the garden variety photo julie soefer tb55g0

Insert "anything but Garden Variety" joke here.

Image: Julie Soefer

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.

Xoxhi wild husk sour courtesy photo nsjtyw

Even without the mezcal, this is one seriously Mexican cocktail.

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.

Nobies   vuelve a la vida vozspc

Drinking this on the deck will bring you to life.

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.

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