This week: The Fresh & Green at the W XYZ bar in the new Aloft Hotel in downtown Sarasota
The drink: Vodka, club soda, lemon, fresh muddled mint. Funny how something so simple can be so delicious. The vodka is a bit masked by the other ingredients, but the result is a grownup, unsweetened lemonade, with just enough hint of mint to give it a clean finish. Not exactly the kind of thing you’d think to drink on a cold night, but I think people will be pounding these come summertime.
The bar: Only open a week, Aloft’s new bar exudes a welcoming, urban vibe: clean lines punctuated by cool artwork and light fixtures, an orange-felted (free) pool table, a windowed wall looking out onto Ringling Boulevard, and a high ceiling with good acoustics. Nice enough for a fancy special evening, but friendly enough for a go-to after-work hangout.
Food: A handful of hot and cold bar bites (onion rings, potato skins, hummus), plus a few entrees (pizza, meatloaf). Nothing to write home about, but good enough if you need a snack.
Other notable potables: The seven specialty cocktails cover your standard spirits (vodka, bourbon, rum, tequila), plus a “NY Spritzer” of sauvignon blanc and elderflower liqueur. Ask your bartender about the season specialty drinks, too.