Drink of the Week: Cayman Jack

There’s a mounting anxiousness for warm weather in Minnesota. The promise of warm days arrived early, and now I’m dreaming of long, late summer nights. Thankfully, it won’t be long before there are wee hours under stars filled with friends and laughter that hits with such vengeance that it’s painful. There will be meandering pontoon boat rides with boat drinks and plummeting dives into fresh lake water. There will be inner tubes and aloe vera; persistent bug bites and crystalline blue skies. Summer is coming, and I can’t wait.

Although the temperatures are still seasonally appropriate, there is an important sogginess that holds pregnant promise of tulips. However, I’d prefer to drink a bit of summer.

Last week I was invited to attend a special media dinner inside Hola Arepa, one of my favorite restaurants in town. Chef and co-owner Christina Nguyen could wrap just about anything in masa, fry it, and serve alongside a scratch-made sauce, and I’d happily stuff it in my face. Her partner, Birk Grudem, is a beverage whisperer, and the bar program he runs with bartender extraordinaire Nate Raczkowski is a stunner for serious and casual drinkers alike. Oddly enough, the dinner featured a beverage that wasn’t made on site.

Cayman Jack margaritas are premade malt beverages sweetened with agave that are making a push into our local market. The little bottles remind me of a Mickey’s grenade and are light, refreshing, and low in proof. The bright citrus flavor is mellowed by the gentle sweetness and then buoyed again by effervescence. (Full disclosure, we were gifted a few bottles of these beverages at the dinner.) However, they are affordable and available at metro-area liquor stores. They fit into the Mike’s Hard Lemonade department of drinks, but less sweet and easier to drink a few of them in one sitting. In other words: crisp, cold and perfect for summer. Although I can’t quite experience the season yet, we can still drink it in.

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