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New York’s Best Summer Sips

blueberry_soda.jpgYou won’t hear us complaining, but it’s definitely hot outside.  (We’d take the heat over frigid temps any day.)  Besides, there’s plenty of places to grab an ice cold drink (not the alcoholic kind).  In fact, the options have gotten a lot better than your average iced tea or coke.  There’s grown up slushies, made with fresh fruit purees and herbs, Arnold Palmers with fresh-squeezed lemonade, and milkshakes.  (No one said cold wasn’t sweet.)  All of these libations are non-alcoholic, so they’re perfect for the hottest part of the day.  When you’re through with work, you can spike your ginger-blueberry mint slushy with tequila.

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain
Address: 513 Henry
Street (Caroll Gardens, Brooklyn)
Phone: (718)522-6260
Website: www.brooklynfarmacy.blogspot.com

At the forefront of the soda fountain renaissance, Brooklyn Farmacy is definitely onto something.  We only wish there was a Manhattan outpost of this old school shop with housemade sodas and a dizzying selection of sundaes. (We like the Sundae of Broken Dreams with vanilla ice cream topped with caramel and broken pretzels.)  If you’re not in the market for a sundae, try their blueberry soda, which kicks Coke’s butt any day or an egg cream, made with New York’s own Fox’s U-Bet Chocolate syrup.
All the syrups are made and mixed with carbonated water on site by a trained Jerk (soda jerk, that is).

Three Tarts
Address: 164 Ninth Ave., at 20th St.
Phone: (212)462-4392
Website: www.3tarts.com

All of Three Tarts drinks are made in-house and as thoughtfully crafted as the pastries.  You could get a different drink every day of the week: There’s wildflower honey-sweetened lemonade and ice tea as well as iced chai and pear cider. But our favorite is the zippy High Lime Lemonade, which is one of the best limeades we’ve sampled.  And while you’re there, grab a homemade ice cream sandwich or mini tart to snack on later.

Rouge Tomate Cart in the Park
Address: 64th Street & Fifth Avenue
Website: www.rougetomatenyc.com

How many restaurants can boast an in-house nutritionist?  And they just recently added an environmentally friendly food cart to their impressive list of accomplishments. Now, Central Park visitors and midtown lunch types can take advantage of their health-conscious and excellent fare on the go.  The Rouge Tomate Cart in the Park is not only made from recycled materials, but also uses solar panels for electricity and dispenses food on biodegradable paper products. Of course, none of it would mean much to the hungry if the food weren’t so good.  We’re partial to the mint lemonade (it’s like a non-alcoholic mojito) and the Smoked Stone, which besides having a very cool name happens to be good for you.  It’s a blend of apricot syrup, lemon, and yerba mate tea, so it’s full of antioxidants.  Check their twitter feed for specials.

Kelvin Natural Slush Co.
Various Locations
Phone: (646)200-5083
Website: www.kelvinslush.com

These are anything but your average  7-Eleven-style slushies.  These are all natural, seasonal, and often exotic, like spicy ginger,  black tea, or citrus.  That’s just the beginning.   Once you pick a base, you can add in a few mix-ins, like white peach, basil, raspberry or mango.  We like the black tea base with white peach, the tangy citrus base with a chopped mint mix-in or ginger with basil and raspberries.  Every time we track down the truck, we find a new flavor on the board, like green tea or a pink guava mix-in.    Be sure to check their Twitter for daily specials.
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City Bakery
Address: 3 W 18th St., btwn. Fifth & Sixth Aves
Phone: (212)366-141
Website: www.thecitybakery.com

We love City Bakery’s hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows in the winter, but in 90-plus degree heat and 100% humidity who’s really in the mood for a cup of warm molten chocolate?  That’s why City Bakery’s owner, Maury Rubin, gifted the city with his frozen hot chocolate.  It’s the perfect summer drink – or dessert.

Stand 4
Address: 24 E 12th St., btwn. University Place & 5th Ave.
Phone: (212)488-5900
Website: www.standburger.com

We know Stand 4 has great burgers, damn good onion rings and crispy sweet potato fries.  But the milkshakes!  We can’t get enough of these extra thick, extra creative ice cream concoctions.  They could win accolades with these cold, creamy shakes.  Really, the only problem is deciding which one to get.  There’s the toasted marshmallow shake, made with marshmallow cream with a toasted one on top.  The mint cookies and cream is made with fresh mint and there’s the decadent chocolate peanut butter cup.  This is one time where you shouldn’t resist temptation and definitely save room.

Vivi Bubble Tea
Address: 49 Bayard St.
Phone: (212)566-6833

With an extensive selection of shaved ice treats and a tasty menu of fried snacks, this bubble tea joint has everything you need on a sweltering afternoon.  First things first, try one of their bubble teas, so named because they’re studded with tapioca pearls. The bubble tea options are endless, so weigh your options when picking between the many milk teas and flavored fruit teas with chewy “bubbles”of tapioca.  What we like most about the teas here is that none are too sweet, including the iced green tea with red beans.  A drink and a snack in one? Perfect for summer on the run.

Cake & Shake
Various Locations
Website: www.cakeandshakeny.com

The cupcakes at this small sweets stand, located in Washington Square Park & another at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are on the small side, so you can sample a few on one visit.  Even better, there’s both sweet and savory cupcakes, like the “Cini” topped with smoked turkey, peas and mozzarella.  But what we’re really craving this season are Cake & Shake’s milkshakes.  The salted caramel hits the perfect balance of sweet and salt, and if you need caffeine, the Arabica espresso shake is a dreamy way to get your fix with rich hints of real coffee beans.  The menus are different at the uptown and downtown locations, so try both.

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