Two words: patio season. It’s the time of year when Regina folks flock to restaurant and pub decks to enjoy the warm weather, good conversation with friends, people watching and have a cocktail or two. The patio selection in downtown Regina has grown exponentially over the past few years. Alongside that growth, has been the rise of the craft cocktail experience. Whether it is the inclusion of handmade syrups, locally sourced liqueurs, bitters, muddled fruit or the currently popular trend of in-house created shrubs, there’s never been a better time to get a handcrafted concoction in the city. For those seeking a new approach to classic cocktails or ones which feature the best of locally sourced ingredients that have had a lot of thought (and effort!) put into them, there are several places to quench your thirst. Check out the following patio hot spots where you can try some of the city’s tastiest summer spirits:
Sit outside in the spacious patio area or pull up a stool at the bar. What you can expect at Crave is both lovely presentation and thoughtfulness with their cocktails and food. The drinks suggested Crave mixologists Jacob Kereluke and Michael Truong: Dutch Courage “This simple super fresh cocktail is perfect for summer,” says Manager, Jessica Wallman. With shaved cucumber, Hendricks Gin and Fentiman’s Tonic, this drink doesn’t require anything fancy to quench one’s thirst on a hot day. Cool, clean and invigorating. Haskap Berry Rhubarb Collins Kereluke says “It’s light, refreshing and tangy,” when speaking to the newest cocktail to soon hit the menu. With a summer take on the classic Tom Collins; it’s made with Tanqueray Gin, Haskap liqueur, in-house made rhubarb syrup and bitters, fresh Saskatoon berries with splashes of lemon juice and soda. To top it off, the sweet treat is decorated with edible flowers from restaurant’s out front garden. Pair with: A loaded charcuterie board, which features creations from Chef Jonathon Thauberger. With delectable items like chicken liver parfait, Gorgonzola cheese, fennel spiced pork sausage and accompaniment of berry compote for example, the delicious dish is perfect for sharing.
Not only a great patio spot, the cool vibe of the Capitol’s jazz inspired atmosphere (and music) along with their handmade cocktails and tapas menu makes it a must stop spot for drinks and nightlife. Bramble Berry Gin Fizz Once a cocktail that appeared seasonally, the Bramble Berry Ginn Fizz one of the Capitols’ top selling drinks, and the epitome of a great summer cocktail (that doesn’t seem to leave the menu). Co-owner Judd Stachoski calls the cocktail “bright and foufy” Containing 2 ounces of gin, bramble shrub and rosemary juniper tincture, the fresh mint and lemon zest garnish on top of the egg white froth completely balance this delicious cocktail. Sangria Blanco Doing Sangria done differently is the best way to describe this complex cocktail which includes Pisco, Fino Sherry, white grape juice, lavender tincture, lemon gooseberry shrub and white wine. But the coolest thing about this delightful drink is that it changes colour over time thanks to a glorious bramble ice cube. Think sangria with an electric punch! Pair with: Peruvian influenced Cervice Mixto featuring fresh citrus marinatedsalmon, snapper and prawns over a bed of baby potatoes. The tang of the citrus is well balanced with the potatoes.
With floor to ceiling windows, being inside Flip feels nearly the same as enjoying its outdoor patio. Bar Manager and cocktail curator, Morgan Allen says the following drinks are great go-to's for summer: Rhubarb Gin Gimlet Don’t be fooled by the size of this small drink as it packs a sweet punch (with 1.5-2 ounces) and some zip! Simple and tasty, the ingredients include Bombay East Gin, rhubarb lime shrub. Strawberry Kiwi Shrub-arita “I wanted to do a fresh take on the traditional summer margarita,” says Allen. The rim lined with brown sugar, is the perfect complement to ingredients including Hornitos Tequila, Knob Creek Rye, house made kiwi shrub and muddled strawberries. An airy and (not too) sweet finish. Pair with: Roasted sweet potatoes with elephant (garlic) crisps, which also feature shallots, chimichurri, fresh cilantro, honey, sea salt and Parmesan. New to the menu, says Executive Chef Dave Straub, "it's old our take on sweet potato fries.” The crispness of the garlic with the soft sweet potatoes and Parmesan are a match made in heaven.
General Manager, Jason Canfield thinks that shaved drinks are the way to go for summer! Like others included on this list, taking a twist on a classic cocktail works like a charm at Malt City. Strawberry Mash Coloured by Crème de Cassis and mashed strawberries, this cocktail includes whiskey (of course!) with Jim Bean, ginger syrup and fresh lemon. Canfield explains that pairing fruit with bourbon works so well thanks to the drink's corn base make up. Light and fresh! Coca Pina All it takes to reimagine the Pina Colada is Kraken, Pims, pineapple shrub and coconut milk. A less sweet version that its traditional counterpart, the condensed coconut milk lightens the weight of the drink, providing a frothy and cool concoction that goes down (very) easy. Pair with: The feature ice cream! Instead of a starter, indulge in the restaurant's freshly prepared rotating flavour of ice cream. Of course handcrafted cocktails may not be for everyone and they aren't necessary for taking advantage of a patio. For those who are find more satisfaction in an ice-cold pint of beer (may I suggest a local brew), the Fat Badger, O’Hanlons and Victoria’s pub downtown all have fantastic patios to enjoy.