The Beverage Cart: Stock Up and Cool Down in Style

written by J FREDRICK CLARK | bar cart from White Interiors; Southern Jubilee glasses and accessories from Accentrics; landscaping by Specialty Pools & Spas; photo courtesy of Kelle Mac Photography; Bamboo Juices; Kathryn Fitzgerald; Heather KW Brown

Summertime BeveragesImagine sitting on the porch swing watching a storm pass. Or maybe you’re entertaining guests by the pool or chopping produce picked at the farmers market for dinner. Whatever your summertime scenario may be, the right beverage sets the mood and solidifies the experience as a perfect memory made.

Now that we’ve been spoiled in a world of craft beer and clever cocktails, not just any drink will do, especially in the heat. In search of a refreshing change, we recently dove into the pool of local drink options to find what’s worth stocking the beverage cart with this season. While getting your lips on these cool sips may require a drive or a delivery order, we guarantee their uniqueness justifies doing so — and admit it, you’ve been eager for an excuse to check out Krog Street Market.

From juices to beermosas, we’ve rounded up some ways to quench your thirst, most with health benefits that will make you feel better about having more than one.

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After journeying for 15 years across six continents, Kelley Sibley, founder and CEO of Bamboo Juice, has invaluable insight into the eating habits of other cultures. Upon her return, she realized no cold pressed juices encompassed what she believed every juice should contain: the ability for true health transformation.

“I started making the juices and almond milks in my mom’s kitchen using spices from India, fruits from local farmers, super foods from Asia and a whole host of other ingredients that inspired me and got me excited about health,” Sibley recalled.

When her friends and family began purchasing the beverages, one thing led to another. After meeting the director at Serenbe Farms, Sibley gained not only a business partner but also a dear friend. Now they have their own kitchen, many employees, a free home delivery service and are selling their products all over the Atlanta area.

“When you have a product that you are passionate about, is creative, innovative and helps others transform their lives for the better, the sky is the limit,” she said.

Admittedly, juicing seems like another trend, but do most advocates actually know the real reason why they should be juicing? Soil is depleted of its amazing natural minerals due to current farming practices, which means fruits and vegetables don’t have nearly the same amount of benefits they did hundreds of years ago. To compensate, they need to be cold pressed to remove the maximum amount of minerals, vitamins and enzymes.

Sibley considers her beverages “super- food-infused health tonics” and with recipes containing no more than five ingredients (because the body has a hard time digesting any more), it’s hard to call it anything else. Except delicious. Make no mistake about it, Bamboo Juices are just as tasty as they are healthy.

Made daily and able to last five to seven days, the juices are unpasteurized and raw (as to not lose the nutritional value). Order online at bamboojuices.com or, if you’re out and about, find them at farmers markets in Decatur, Serenbe, Peachtree City, Piedmont Park and the Westside Market.

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If juice isn’t your beat, try a locally made, handcrafted soda. Kathryn Fitzgerald serves some of the tastiest drinks in Atlanta at a modern Middle Eastern food stall at Krog Street Market. Yalla was a vision shared by Todd Ginsberg, Shelley Sweet and Jennifer and Ben Johnson — the minds behind restaurants Fred’s Meat & Bread in the Old Fourth Ward and The General Muir in Druid Hills. Though Yalla’s food offering is mouthwatering, the all-natural, low-sugar sodas have stimulated their own buzz. (No, not that kind of buzz — all of these beverages are non-alcoholic.)

They say there’s a connection between memory and the senses. While you’re enjoying the refreshing taste of one of Fitzgerald’s potions, you’ll also enjoy the aroma. You might even slip back to being a child running through a field or remember picking berries in the back yard with your mother as she hummed her favorite song. However these wonderful sodas affect you, one thing is for sure: they truly are enchanting.

For Ginsberg, the sodas bring back memories of a trip DSCN0812to Israel, where the 2014 James Beard Foundation semifinalist first got the idea. They didn’t have soda fountains like the ones here. Instead, they used fresh pressed juices and created handmade sodas. The markets were set up beautifully with lots of colors, spices and many different drinks in big ice bins, and he wanted to capture the same ambiance. Fitzgerald, previously a bartender and manager, was just the gal for the job.

The key to her stimulating beverages, besides the time and passion she puts into them, is that she grew up on a big piece of property near Stone Mountain and understands the importance of sourcing locally. She and her father still maintain a garden on that property, as well as work with local farmers and foragers.

Examples of the invigorating brews you might see at Yalla include Rosemary Huckleberry and Lemon, Pearson Peach for Life ((Pearson peaches, tarragon and floral forage), The Big Red, Burge Organics Strawberry and Mint and yes, even Popcorn Soda. For the latter, Fitzgerald bought a case of Peaches & Cream corn from Cordele, cooked it down in a pressure cooker, strained it, mixed in sugar and then clarified five sticks of butter.

When I took the first sip of her Burge Organics Strawberry and Mint soda, my taste buds began to salsa. As each sip slipped away, I immediately yearned for another. Needless to say, the soda wasn’t around long.

Look for her on Saturdays and Sundays at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, Freedom Farmers Market and Grant Park Farmers Market. yallaatl.com

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Whether you’ve seen a beermosa on a menu and wondered why anyone would want to swap Champagne for beer or you’ve actually tried it yourself, this drink is making the rounds. Staying true to the idea of a classic mimosa, you need a juice and something with fizz to go with it.

Michael Searles, president of the Atlanta Chapter of the United States Bartending Guild and beverage director for a collection of restaurants including The Blind Pig Parlour Bar, Smoke Belly, Gypsy Kitchen and The Southern Gentleman, advised using 20 ounces of grapefruit juice topped with your favorite Indian Pale Ale (IPA) if you’re going for complementary flavors. For something a little funkier, try a tart lemonade topped with a nut brown ale.

For the full effect, pour your masterpiece into a beer flute — a European-style glass traditionally shaped for pilsner — and garnish with a lemon peel or an orange wheel.