Slideshow: The Best Drinks We Drank in June

Thai Iced Tea at Sen Yai, Portland OR
Thai Iced Tea at Sen Yai, Portland OR

"At Sen Yai, Andy Ricker's new Thai noodle shop in Portland, you can get traditional tart Thai iced tea flavored with anise and tamarind and sweetened with condensed milk, and it's a nice drink to sip on out in their open-air seating. But on a the rare hot Portland day, it's even better when you skip the milk and go for it neat with just a splash of lime."—J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Chief Creative Officer

[Photo: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Mnazi in Kenya
Mnazi in Kenya

"During a recent work trip, I spent one weekend on the coast of Kenya in Mombasa. While mountain biking in the countryside, I stopped in a small village for lunch and was able to sample a bit of their homemade mnazi—an alcoholic drink made from the sap of palm trees. The drink is made from cutting the flowers of the palm trees, collecting its sap, and fermenting it. It produces a white, milky substance that's drunk through a filtered reed to remove the particulate matter. Villagers usually drink multiple bottles of mnazi communally throughout the day. It's sour, bitter, and earthy, but with a subtle, lingering sweetness that coats your mouth long after. It was a fascinating look at the drinking world of another culture."—Brian Oh, DC drinks columnist

[Photo: Brian Oh]

Homemade Pálinka in Hungary
Homemade Pálinka in Hungary

"I was recently invited into the historic Budapest home of a Hungarian cake maven for an epic dinner of pants-splitting proportions. The only thing that saved me from embarrassingly bursting at the seams was a few appropriately timed courses of homemade pálinka. Distilled from fresh fruit grown on our host's family farm, it came in two delicious flavors. The first, a mixture of cherry and sour cherry, was an amazing fiery cherry brandy with an earthy cinnamon finish. The second (my favorite) was sweet melon (probably cantaloupe, though the language barrier will keep its true identity a mystery for all time). Sweet, warm...if maple syrup was made of melons, and was also booze, this would be it!"—Andrew Strenio, spirits columnist

[Photo: Andrew Strenio]

Aguardente in Newark
Aguardente in Newark
"The glass in the background of this picture contains Portuguese aguardente, literally "fiery water," and the name is accurate. Max, Niki and I field-tripped to the heavily Portuguese Ironbound district in Newark recently, and the locals at the seafood bar we stopped at for lunch were alternating between throwing this stuff back straight and correcting their espresso shots with spoonfuls of it. After acquiring a little liquid courage of my own, I asked the fine gentlemen beside us what they were drinking, and not only did they write down the name of the brand on a cocktail napkin for me, they also slid their glasses over for us to try. Fiery, indeed, but in a good way —this stuff tasted like ouzo but with a warm, honeyed aftertaste. It's strong stuff, to be sure, but after a gut-busting meal of bread stew and octopus salad, this exotic moonshine straightened me right up."—Jamie Feldmar, Managing Editor
South Side at Comstock Saloon, San Francisco
South Side at Comstock Saloon, San Francisco

"It was actually warm, like summery-warm, in San Francisco when I went to get cocktails at Comstock. That's why the South Side cocktail caught my eye: it's just gin, lemon, sugar, mint, and seltzer. It's light and refreshing but not a total wash on the palate. The herbal notes of mint and gin play off each other, giving it just enough flavor to sip rather than gulp."—Carrie Vasios, Sweets editor

[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

Bourbon, Bourbon, Bourbon in Kentucky
Bourbon, Bourbon, Bourbon in Kentucky

"On a trip to Kentucky to tour the Jim Beam distillery, I had a most excellent time tasting through many of Beam's offerings, and spent a night in Louisville tasting an awful lot else, too. It's hard to pick a single favorite when you walk into a bar and the bourbon list looks like this."—Carey Jones, cocktail and 'Ask a Bartender' contributor

[Photo: Carey Jones]

Degausser at Ela in Philadelphia
Degausser at Ela in Philadelphia

"This drink off the latest cocktail list at Ela in Philly kinda looks like Sierra Mist, but there's a whole lot going on in that glass. Beefeater gin and Vida Mezcal might read like dangerous bedfellows, but they play off each other nicely when massaged by a housemade lychee shrub and a teeny sprinkle of Himalayan pink salt."—Drew Lazor, Philadelphia contributor

[Photo: Drew Lazor]

Lena Dunham's Super Nightlife Mule at Qui in Austin, TX
Lena Dunham's Super Nightlife Mule at Qui in Austin, TX
"Few drinks are as refreshing as a Moscow Mule on a sweltering Texas day so I'm glad that Michael Simon included it on qui's cocktail menu. He put a spin on the simple classic by making a celery lemongrass ginger beer that's herbaceous, savory, and zesty. The lemongrass swizzle sticks that have been infused with apricot liqueur, housemade grenadine, Aperol, and vinegar are fun and tasty to gnaw on between sips."—Melody Fury, Austin contributor
Penner-Ash 2012 Riesling
Penner-Ash 2012 Riesling
"I've been skeptical about domestic riesling, but recently a few bottles sent my way from Oregon have really impressed me. This one, from Penner-Ash in the Willamette Valley, started tart and tangy, but opened up into nectarine flavors and shimmery fennel, even some classic mineral flavors. It's delicious wine for $20 a bottle. If you haven't tried Oregon riesling, I'm now convinced that you should."—Maggie Hoffman, Drinks editor
Bud Limearita
Bud Limearita

"This has become sort of a running joke, but Bud Limearita would be it. Embarrassing, yes! It's really hard to find in the city and I picked up a case in Jersey about a month ago because I knew a friend was obsessed with them. I finally tried it the day before my friend's wedding at the beginning of June and I actually liked it! It's not overly sweet, and it's awesome if you get it really cold in the freezer when it's almost slushy. The bad thing about it is that you can't taste the alcohol, so you can down waaaay too many of them in a short period of time. Bottom line, this makes for an awesome party."—Tracie Lee, Designer

Hot Chocolate in Paris
Hot Chocolate in Paris

[Photo: Robyn Lee]

"This cup of chocolat chaud at Patisserie Viennois (recommended in David Leibovitz's The Sweet Life in Paris) made an impression on me: it's ultra thick but not very sweet at all. I drank half the cup then had to add half a sugar cube. For serious bittersweet chocolate lovers only."—Ben Fishner, Ad Operations Administrator

[Photo: Ben Fishner]

Mead Americano at Distilled NY
Mead Americano at Distilled NY

"In my opinion, few cocktails are more refreshing or summer-ready than the Americano. But this variation from the newly opened TriBeCa spot ups the ante by substituting locally-made mead for the traditional sweet vermouth. This OG of fermented beverages adds a nice subtle sweetness to counterbalance the slight bitterness of the Aperol."—Maryse Chevriere, NY cocktail columnist

[Photo: Maryse Chevriere]

Cobbler d'Montenegro at Playground in Santa Ana, CA
Cobbler d'Montenegro at Playground in Santa Ana, CA

"The experimental farm-to-table and craft beer whiz kids over at Playground in Santa Ana, CA have begun conquering the cocktail world. The Cobbler d'Montenegro, featuring Amaro Montenegro and lemon, is a lofty early effort with notes of vanilla, citrus, and a complex spice profile. Delicious!"—Stef Ferrari, beer contributor

[Photo: Stef Ferrari]

Coffee from Seven in Seattle
Coffee from Seven in Seattle

"Seven is a tiny roaster and their beans make fascinating cups of coffee. The even-handed roast makes for a smooth cup, magnifying subtle distinctions and letting individual flavors jump out."—Naomi Bishop, Seattle contributor

[Photo: Naomi Bishop]