Whether area residents or visiting guests need to cool off or cool their heels, local establishments offer plenty of refreshing beverage options to make summer less about venturing away from home and more about staying local. Partake in some homegrown specialty concoctions, many of them made with ingredients from just down the road.
J. Carver Distillery
From grain to glass—the distillery is opening its doors this summer for tours and tastings. Included in the tour, customers can sample up to three J. Carver products or a specialty cocktail created with its spirits. Guests can call or sign up online for tours; public tours are held on Fridays and Saturdays, and private tours can be scheduled on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. In addition to its gin and vodkas, J. Carver recently launched its very own grappa, made with leftover grape pomace (seeds, skin and stems) from Waconia wineries. Try this cocktail the next time you’re at the lake—or wish you were:
- 2 oz. J. Carver Lake House vodka
- 1/2 oz. lime juice
- 1 oz. grapefruit juice
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
Serve on the rocks, and top with club soda and a wedge of lime.
- 2 oz. J. Carver Premium gin
- 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 oz. thyme-infused simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake and strain. Serve in martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist and sprig of thyme.
(The Venetian features J. Carver Premium Gin from J. Carver Distillery.)
Visit the website to discover which local restaurants use J. Carver spirits in their craft cocktails.
1320 Mill Lane, Waconia; 952.442.2433
Give taste buds a pop with July’s featured Fireworks Fizzie, which is a raspberry, orange and lime Italian soda, mixed with sparkling water. The Summer Kiss Smoothie, appearing in August, includes vanilla smoothie powder and ice blended with white chocolate and Oreos, topped with whipped cream and more cookies. Specialty mochas are available, along with fruit smoothies, made with 100 percent crushed fruit. Need a boost? Servers can add protein or other nutritional supplements.
115 S. Olive St. and 641 Marketplace Drive, Waconia; 952.442.2853 and 952.442.0452; themochamonkey.com
Blueberry Fields, Georgia Sunshine, Rhubarb Oolong, Green Tea Mango and caffeine-free Red Berries all sound like summer in full swing. TeaSource also features Minnesota N’Ice Tea, a local favorite jasmine and orange blend, and iced Chai teas available in spiced or vanilla. Feeling spontaneous? Try out an “Iced Tea of the Moment,” available daily.
561 Prairie Center Drive, Eden Prairie; 952.767.3648; teasource.com
Waconia Brewing Co.
The brewing company rolled out its honey ale in May, aged in gin barrels from J. Carver Distillery. Other new brews include a lighter Waconia wheat beer, a single-hop IPA, a double IPA and another pale ale. Cask beer also is featured, adding hops and herbs to the brew for unique flavors—even orange peel and chocolate. Root beer and free popcorn are at the ready in this family-friendly spot.
255 W. Main St., Waconia; 612.888.2739; waconiabrewing.com
End the weekend with a traditional-style mimosa, featuring a newly released sparkling wine or a special Blueberry Bumbley Mimosa (Bumbley is Schram’s honey wine). At least six new wines, including a Riesling, a pinot gris and Minnesota white will be released this summer. In addition to eight flagship beers, beer releases include a Hefeweizen and a Mocha Monkey Coffee ale, featuring cold-press coffee from Mocha Monkey in Waconia infused into Schram’s brown ale.
8785 Airport Road, Waconia; 952.442.5105; schramvineyards.com
(The Blueberry Bumbley Mimosa, made from Schram Vineyards Bumbley honey wine, adds some sparkle to a hot day.)
JJ’s Wine Bar + Bistro
Crisp and refreshing Loonberry Sangria debuts this summer, combining Cabernet Sauvignon, fresh fruits and berries, and topped with Loon Juice Cider from Four Daughters Winery in southern Minnesota.
The bubble tea line will also feature new summer flavors. Bubble teas are a traditional Taiwanese tea drink, including small tapioca pearls with “a texture creamier than a [slushy] but more viscous than a smoothie,” owner Mark Jundt says.
7942 Mitchell Road, Eden Prairie; 952.974.1000; jjscoffeecompany.com
Parley Lake Winery
With 95 medals earned in national competitions, including 20 gold medals, the winery is featuring its latest six gold medal winners: Petite Amie 2014, Frontenac Gris, Parley Vu Rosé, Marquette 2013, Lake View White and Frontenac Limited Edition 2011. Food is available or guests can bring their own picnic.
8280 Parley Lake Road, Waconia; 952.442.2290; parleylakewinery.com
Sovereign Estate Vineyard and Winery
In addition to serving wine by the bottle or glass, the staff will create custom wine cocktails. For those looking for a white Zinfandel, ask for a blend of rosé and dry white wines; the estate’s Marquette and a sweet dessert wine marry to create a sweet wine, and so on. Imbibe with a winetini, in which the Frontenac rosé replaces vermouth (a wine product infused with herbs). All perfect for the 4th of July daylong celebration, featuring Nashville recording artist Jenn Bostic, formerly of Waconia, and stunning views of local fireworks displays.
9950 North Shore Road, Waconia; 952.446.9957; sovereignestatewine.com
The team at Enki has a lot to celebrate, and they will with Anno Enki II, a brew to say "cheers" to its second anniversary. Also new this summer is Hootenanny Hefe Weiss, a wheat beer. Customers can expect a series of barrel-aged beers to add to the summer line up.
7929 Victoria Drive, Victoria; 952.300.8408; enkibrewing.com.