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As temperatures warm, sample some of these refreshing seasonal cocktails in Spokane 

Drink Local

click to enlarge Go to Cochinito's Kristy White and ask to meet the Watermelon Man. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Go to Cochinito's Kristy White and ask to meet the Watermelon Man.

When the weather warms, my appetite often turns to things like margaritas or gin and tonics — drinks I typically eschew over the winter. Those are easy enough to make at home, so I hit a few Spokane spots in search of fresh spring sippers better left to the professionals. Here are a few worth your while:

Watermelon Man, $9
Cochinito Taqueria, 10 N. Post,
facebook.com/cochinitotaqueria

In the times I've chatted with Kristy White for drink-related articles, I've inevitably learned something new. This time, I learned the phrase "shrub," a concoction savvy mixologists like White make out of drinking vinegar infused with a variety of fruit juices, herbs and spices to use as the base of some wicked libations. The Watermelon Man cocktail is a White invention that came out of playing with a watermelon-based shrub at a house party. The version available at Cochinito uses freshly muddled watermelon, lime juice, simple syrup, apple cider vinegar, mint and tequila, served up with chili-lime salt on the rim of the glass. If you can drink one and not immediately hanker for another, you're a better person than I am.

Peychaud's Aperitivo, Pompelmo San Pellegrino & Prosecco $9
Ruins, 825 N. Monroe,
facebook.com/ruins.spokane

The wise tippler who visits Ruins knows to take suggestions from the diminutive restaurant's resident mixologist Crystal Bertholic. When I asked for something "spring-y" on a recent visit, she pointed me toward this simple, low-alcohol wonder that was pleasingly bitter, thanks to the Peychaud's and grapefruit soda, as well as utterly refreshing thanks to the prosecco's infusion of bubbles. Reddish pink and delicious, this drink was tied to Ruins' Italian menu, but if you're nice I bet you can get it almost any time.

Yuztopia, $11
Volstead Act, 12 N. Post,
volsteadactspokane.com

This refreshing little drink came out of a staff brainstorming session designed to come up with a new warm-weather cocktail menu for the months ahead. Assistant manager Hannah Butcher concocted this flavorful drink that balances a lot of different aspects, finding sweet harmony — but not too sweet. "I'm not a big sweet fan, so I'm not going to make like a huckleberry sour," Butcher says. This drink is an international affair, combining Kronan Swedish punsch (a sweet and spicy Nordic liqueur), Joto Yuzu sake (Joto is the brand, yuzu is a Japanese fruit bringing a citrus vibe), vodka and some local Skidmore Alchemy rhubarb bitters to elicit a fresh, delicious spring cocktail.

Apparent Sour, $7
Logan Tavern, 1305 N. Hamilton logantavern.com

When Nehemiah Zilar and his partners opened up the relatively new Logan Tavern adjacent to the Gonzaga campus a couple months back, he knew he'd have to come up with some cocktails that would appeal to budget-conscious college kids as well as folks looking for a quality drink, cost be damned. The cocktail menu hits that sweet spot, offering standards like an Old Fashioned for a few bucks less than a downtown cocktail lounge might. When I asked for a spring-y drink, the Apparent Sour leapt to the top of the list. The aperol, an Italian liquor, brings hints of orange and rhubarb to the party and boasts an orange-pink hue when mixed with elderflower liqueur and lime juice. It's a little sweet, a little sour and a lot tasty.♦

The original print version of this article was headlined "Spring Break"

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