Best Summer Date Ideas: Food & Drink Trends

Photo: Elyssa Goodman
Best Summer Date Ideas: Food & Drink Trends
Contributor
Self

You're strolling hand-in-hand on the beach with your love, the sea salt gently misting through your hair, when suddenly, it happens. The two of you exchange looks, hungry with desire, then grab one another and say, "You wanna get something to eat?" 

RELATED: 50 Best Summer Date Ideas

This summer, whether you want to cool off when things get steamy (try a paleta, a Mexican-style popsicle!), or heat things up (jalapeño cocktails, anyone?), YourTango is here to make sure your summer dates are filled with flavor. Taking you through some of summer's biggest food trends is New York-based culture vulture Elyssa Goodman, of the blog Miss-Manhattan.com. Booze blogger Diana Vilibert also shares two of her favorite summer sips! Grab your man and a fork and let's get started.

#31: Amped-Up Childhood Favorites

Nothing says youth like summer love, but no matter your age you can enjoy childhood food favorites with an adult spin! From popsicles to grilled cheese, these amped-up kiddie classics will remind you of those carefree summer days, maybe even easing those first date jitters. Some examples include: Paletas (Mexican-style popsicles) in flavors like Hibiscus and Avocado from La Newyorkina in New York; grilled cheese sandwiches like the Sweet Dreams Melt (goat cheese, candied bacon, apple) from Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese food truck in Boston, and an adult shaved ice (made with liquor) called a Rumble from Comme Ça in West Hollywood and Las Vegas. Check out the Rumble recipe here.

#32: Gourmet Picnics, Local Products

Your date is one in a million, and they deserve more than any old picnic. You wouldn't settle for your sweetie, so why settle for egg salad when you could have so much more? With enticing fresh markets popping up everywhere as we head into summer, try some locally grown or gourmet products to make your picnic that much more special. Go for goat cheese instead of cream cheese, pear-apple wine instead of beer, arugula instead of lettuce. For delicious local products, give some of these a shot: Eve's Cidery in Van Etten, New York; Allegheny Mountain HorseRadish Cheese from Pennsylvania Macaroni Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; or find your own products at the Nashville Farmer's Market in Nashville, Tennesee.

And for a delicious picnic treat, try these Prosciutto, Goat Cheese and Fig Sandwiches!

#33: Feed Your Senses At Food Festivals

A great date should be a sensual experience—why not try a date that literally feeds your senses? Food festivals are everywhere this season, so walking around not only holds the possibility for delicious food, but that oh-so-subtle hand-hold that can kickstart summer love. Take a stroll with your honey at some of these famous summer food festivals: Kapalua Wine and Food Festival in Maui, Hawaii, June 9-12; California Wine Festival, July 14-16 in Santa Barbara, California; Taste of Chicago, June 24-July 3 in Chicago, Illinois.

#34: Fruit In Unlikely Places

Chocolate-covered strawberries are a sexy treat, but sometimes we forget that fresh fruit has more than one use! Especially in an unusual recipe, a meal with fresh fruit is a great way to cool down. Try it for unexpected flavors in a sandwich or a salad: No. 7 Sub's Fried Clam Sandwich with Pickled Strawberries in Brooklyn, New York; Crostini Toscani (chicken liver, apricot, pistachio) at Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado; Watermelon and French Feta Salad at 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Why not substitute fruit for an old favorite in a Bacon, Lettuce, and Cantaloupe Sandwich?

#35: Rooftop Dining

Imagine the entire city at your feet, lush greenery above you. So often in big cities it's difficult to find a splash of nature, and after the long week you and your date have had, a rooftop picnic might just be the relaxing, restorative time off you need. It's a visual feast to accompany your actual one, and the scenery will be worth it at the very least! Get cozy in green spaces like: Cambridge Center Roof Garden in Boston Massachusettes; Kaiser Center Roof Garden in Oakland, California; and The Lotus Garden in New York.

#36: Drinks With Purées

Adding pureed fruit to a cocktail adds a sweetness and coolness matched only by your number one. Now, perhaps accordingly, bars are using puréed fruits and even vegetables as part of their cocktail menus. This includes but is not limited to puréed sweet peas in the Sweet Pea cocktail at Hotel Griffou in New York; puréed passion fruit in the Ginger Passion Martini at Casa Tua in Miami, Florida; and puréed raspberries in the Raspberry Mint Gimlet at The Liberties in San Francisco, California.

#37: Some Like It Hot…

Sometimes summer brings out our spicier side, and cocktails are no exception. Try drinks made with jalapeño or jalapeño-based tequila to bring out the caliente in you! The best bars to start off a hot and spicy night this way include Mayahuel in New York [link: ], Poquitos in Seattle, Washington [link: ], and The Florida Room in Miami, Florida [link: ]. To spice up your night at home, try this Lush Lagoon cocktail from Sandra Lee!

#38: Pickle Your Fancy

Sometimes you and your man are cool as a cucumber, but why not give your love a healthy zing this summer with a pickle juice cocktail? Pickles have the freshness of cucumber, a summer drink staple, with that sassy attitude perfect for a new twist on an old favorite. For a perfect pickle dose, try the Slap ‘N' Pickle cocktail at Death and Company in New York; Pickled Moonshine Martini at D.B.A. Barbeque in Atlanta, Georgia; or the Dirty Pickletini at The Star and Shamrock in Washington, D.C.

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#39: Hands On: Make Your Own Cocktail Infusions

Between the shelves of fruit-flavored vodka at the liquor store and the long list of flavored liquors popping up on bar menus, infused spirits are everywhere this year. But why stand elbow-to-elbow with dozens of boozy bar patrons to give the trend a taste? Make a sweet and spicy date night out of it with this recipe for Blackbeard Spiced Rum's apple infusion:

Directions: Pour seven liters of BlackBeard Spiced Rum in a large glass jar and add nine large ripe, peeled, and cored apples (Fuji or Gala). Stab another apple with three scented cloves, add to jar, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Keep in a cool, dark place for at least 10 days before drinking (at which point, remove and discard the apple with the cloves). Then kick it up a notch to make the Apple Hook Infusion cocktail: Shake up two ounces of the infusion with one ounce of apple juice, half an ounce of lime juice, and half an ounce of simple syrup, and strain over an ice-filled glass.

#40: Suggestive Spirits: Drinks with Libido-Boosting Ingredients

Is that a cocktail in your hand, or are you just happy to see me? With the growing popularity of fresh ingredients in cocktails comes another pleasant boost—to your libido.  Set the mood (subtly—that family-size portion of oysters is a touch heavy-handed) by ordering up a drink that incorporates a tasty and libido-boosting ingredient like chocolate, pineapple, or ginger. Or make your own at home—serve your sweetie this sweet Godiva Chocolate Rasberry Royale:

Ingredients:
1 ounce Godiva Chocolate Raspberry Vodka
1/2 ounce Crème de Cassis
Champagne

Directions: Combine Godiva Chocolate Raspberry Vodka and Crème de Cassis in a cocktail
shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a champagne flute. Top off drink with chilled champagne.

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