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Sweet Summer Drinks and Desserts

Cecilia's (photos by Jill Greenberg)

A survey of local cocktails suitable for warm weather


716 Elmwood Ave., 883-8066

Buffalonians know that it’s important to enjoy the summer weather as much as possible while we can. There is no better way to do it than to enjoy a drink on an outdoor patio.

Chocolate Bar

Cecelia’s has a great patio and a great list of summer martinis (above). The most refreshing choice is the Organic Cucumber Lemonade Martini made with Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka, a splash of lemonade, and a crisp cucumber garnish. The June Bug Martini has a fruity, beachy taste thanks to Bacardi Coconut Rum, Midori, crème de banana, pineapple juice, and sweet and sour mix oddly blending very well.

A few other good picks for the season would be the Italian Ice or Watermelon Martini. The Root Beer Float Martini captures a creamy and classic taste with white chocolate flavored vodka. Amongst all the sweetness, Cecelia’s bartender Ken listed Bud Light and a shot of Jameson as his favorite martini. For a summer taste that is more classic try the Cable Car or the All Bleu, which features a classic martini with blue cheese stuffed olives. —rg

Chocolate Bar

114 Chippewa St., 332-0484

This summer, the Chocolate Bar has created refreshing seasonal drinks and a new ice cream flavor to balance the rich taste of their chocolate drinks and desserts. The new Melon Ball Martini is made with a special blend of flavored vodkas, frozen melon ball, and a garnish of fresh cantaloupe, honeydew, and a mint sprig.

Speaking of mint, their peppermint ice cream is a twist on the classic flavor, made with fresh mint and crushed pepper. In addition to offering a burst of cool taste, The Chocolate Bar’s fresh mint is locally grown by owner Bill Panzica. Panzica’s mint was brought directly from Italy by his grandfather more than 60 years ago.

For a more tropical taste try the Mangotini or any of the fruit flavored mojitos (such as peach, pineapple, and coconut). If you still crave the decadence of chocolate with a lighter taste, try the Salted Caramel Martini with homemade caramel. —jg



802 Elmwood Ave., 882-5956

One of the great things about Buffalo is that we love food, especially when it’s homemade. There is nothing better than enjoying an ice-cold sweet treat during these hot summer months. Indulge in homemade gelato and sorbet at Dolci’s newest location on Elmwood Avenue. They also supply local restaurants around Western New York with their delicious deserts.

When compared to ice cream, the noticeable features of gelato are the way the flavors pop, the rich and creamy texture, the lower fat content, and that it’s made with less air. When creating flavors, they include a range of flavors between light and fruity to rich and traditional. Currently, Dolci offers Cinnamon Strawberry, Peach Olive Oil, Vanilla Berry, Vanilla Bean (or ‘Niller Bayan as they would say in the South), Guinness, Concord Grape, Popcorn, and Pink Grapefruit Sorbet. Flavor inspiration comes from local fruits and vegetables from the Lexington Co-op and the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market. This seasonal inspiration ensures that there will be new flavors year-round, along with returning favorite Burnt Caramel Sea Salt. —rg

Sweetness 7

Sweetness 7

220 Grant St., 883-1738 & 301 Parkside Ave., 834-1954

Some people will drink hot coffee all year round, no matter how hot it gets. But with iced coffee, iced lattes, and other chilled drinks; more people are making the switch when the weather heats up. At Sweetness 7 Café they make sure to include a variety of iced beverages so you won’t be forced to drink a beverage above room temperature during these muggy months. If you love hot chocolate, try the seasonal alternative, frozen hot chocolate (above). It really does taste like frozen hot chocolate due to a rich and creamy texture. Their most popular summer time drink is the Hibiscus Lemonade. It is very refreshing and comes in a fun summer color, hot pink. Other summer drink items include Italian Iced Coffee (sweetened espresso and foamed milk), Vietnamese Iced Coffee, and daily specials such as the Mango Passion Fruit Spritzer, Affogato (vanilla ice cream with espresso), and a Christmas in July special known as the Eggnog Frappé. —rg


810 Elmwood, 362-0356

If you would like your spicy and smoky taste buds to be activated simultaneously, sip a Smoky Margarita at Solé. It is made with a blend of Cazadores tequila blanco, Sombra Mezcal tequila, Esprit de June (a liqueur with complex floral and fruity aromas), agave nectar, ruby red grapefruit juice and lime juice. The glass is rimmed with a mixture of salt, cayenne pepper, chili powders, and cinnamon. The spices on the rim give the drink a jolt that has a memorable tang. Even if you tend to avoid bold flavors, this drink is worth working up the courage to try. The taste is subtler than it sounds and provides a perfect balance when paired with Solé’s creamy tableside guacamole. —jg

Teetotalers in Paradise

To enjoy summer sweetness sans alcohol, try these suggestions from some fellows who know about beverages, the Thirsty Dudes (

I recently found out that the temperature in Buffalo has never broken 100 degrees. I was completely shocked because lately everyone looks like a basted turkey that’s getting a bit overcooked. To beat the heat, try Calypso’s lemonade. Any lemonade is a nice treat on a warm summer day. From the cup you buy from neighborhood kids to an upscale variety purchased at a café, it’s a great way to fight the omnipresent sun. Calypso offers a variety of flavors infused with various fruit juices that keep the bitterness of the lemon in check without tasting overly sweet. As an added bonus there are tiny chunks of lemon floating in the drink. —jason draper

One hot summer day, I went to dinner with my friends and they picked K. Gallagher’s (73 Allen Street). I thought, “Oh, another Irish bar.” Sometimes “Irish bar” can be a copout, like in movies where “the whole thing was a dream.” It just seems too contrived. Put some clovers on the wall, call it something quintessentially Irish, add the Pogues to the jukebox, and open the doors.

My bias was challenged when I went and tasted the most delicious burger that I have ever had and was blown away to find that they have delicious birch beer on tap. On top of that, K. Gallagher’s actually does a great job of creating a pub atmosphere without shoving a shillelagh directly down your throat. —mike literman

I recently moved back to Buffalo after two years in Portland, Oregon. Unlike Buffalo, Portland’s temperature exceeds 100 degrees all the time and I had to escape. But wherever you are, summer is sticky, humid, and all around uncomfortable.

The one thing that helps is cold drinks. My all time favorite is the sweetened iced tea from Amy’s Place (3234 Main Street). I love it because unlike normal iced tea, it’s a half and half (half lemonade, half iced tea), the perfect combination of lemonade sweetness and thirst-quenching iced tea.

Because we’re always searching for new drinks to review on the Thirsty Dudes blog, I discovered a new favorite summer drink at the Lexington Co-operative Market (807 Elmwood Avenue). I fell in love with Hubert’s Honey Lemonade after the first sip. The sweet honey flavor complements the tart lemonade so well. —derek neuland

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