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Now That You Mention It, Topo Chico Is a Strong Contender for Drink of the Summer

Mm-mm-mm! It's crisp and refreshing on its own, but also a great addition to any cocktail.

2:48 PM EDT on May 9, 2023

A bottle of Topo Chico.

Refreshing! (Hell Gate)

I don't know whose Topo Chico bottle that was on the NYPD Twitter account, but whomever's it was, we're on the same page about staying refreshed with a crisp and satisfying beverage as the summer months begin to roll in.

With a few hot days under our belt, it's time to start thinking seriously about what 2023's Drink of the Summer is going to be—by this time last year, the New York Times had already declared the "Dirty Shirley" the drink of the summer. People were skeptical of that pick, and I see why: The perfect summer drink simply cannot be weighed down with the sugar content of a full eight-ounce pour of Sprite and an ounce of grenadine syrup. A summer drink has to be light and limber, and most of all versatile, able to be sipped on a summer Friday at the beach or late into the night. 

That's where Topo comes in. It might feel a little cheesy to name a plain seltzer the drink of the summer, but hear me out. The proliferation of hard seltzers and other premixed drink options has gotten a little ridiculous. The cheap malt liquor typically added to beverages like White Claw and other "hard" drinks like Twisted Tea gives them an acrid aftertaste which is, to my tastes, far less palatable than simply throwing in the cheapest well vodka in an unspiked seltzer. And buying a prepackaged seltzer mixed with a traditional spirit feels like choke point capitalism—I'll do that myself, thanks. 

A mezcal and soda (with a splash of lime) is one of the best seltzer-based mixed drinks, my favorite at an open bar or a house party. The complex agave flavors and smokiness make it feel like a real cocktail, not just a spiked drink. And there's no better pair with your favorite mezcal than an ice-fucking-cold Topo straight out the fridge. 

Anyone who takes fizzy water seriously knows that the sparkling mineral water from Mexico is a heavyweight in the sphere. Its bubbles are suitably aggressive, without the over-the-top intensity of a supermarket seltzer like Canada Dry or a Schweppes or the disappointing flatness of sparkling waters like San Pellegrino. (I feel no affinity for Hal's, and would rather not consider it further.) My personal favorite is Selters, but the German brand is hard to come by in New York. Topo is the high-quality option that's available now at almost every store—and it's even popping up on bar menus, including at Nowadays. I know what I'm drinking next time I'm seeing Soul Summit there!

It's an asset to any cocktail. Another strong contender for drink of the year is the Bamboo, recommended by a friend with a similar lack of a sweet tooth, which is half dry vermouth, half sherry, with some bitters—a sort of low-ABV martini. That's already something I could see myself drinking on an easy summer day, but if I top that fucker up with a Topo? I'm crushing one at the bar, twisting up my napkin, and shoving it in the bottle and the recycling, then heading to the next spot for a few more.

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