Sometimes water doesn’t cut it in this Houston heat and you just need something sweet and delicious to slake your thirst. From milk tea and smoothies to cocktails our local hubs have the perfect drinks to make summer a little more bearable.
The latest addition to the Avid Coffee Co. truck is milk tea with boba. It’s made in the truck by Avid’s co-owner, Matthew McKenzie who became familiar with the different techniques and styles of making milk tea while in China.
“Being in a foreign country, especially one with a vastly different culture than yours for an extended period of time, you experience culture shock…it’s good to have something you can latch onto for comfort. Mine was milk tea,” McKenzie said, “it being my comfort food, I drank a lot of milk tea.”
With the sealing machine and boba straws already available from a different almost-business venture, McKenzie decided to create his own recipe and add it to the menu. And although he couldn’t reveal the entire recipe, he gave enough information to know the drink is perfect for the summer heat.
“The boba is created by boiling tapioca balls and then after the process of cooking them you soak them in a syrup. Then the tapioca absorbs the flavor of the syrup. So, I use half brown sugar and half white sugar for the syrup then I throw in honey,” McKenzie said.
The milk tea is pretty sweet, but McKenzie is careful not to overdo the sweetness.
“I brew tea concentrate and then I use whole milk with a little bit of half and half and make a syrup for it. I actually throw in a tiny bit of cold brew to give it a little bit of oomph,” McKenzie said.
Other cold drinks available on the truck are frappes, smoothies, and a cold brew latte. Currently the Avid truck parks at Millie’s (the old Oak Forest Chill) at 3542 Oak Forest Dr. You can also catch the truck at Eleanora’s Market on Saturdays.
For something healthy and refreshing, Juiceland has options aplenty. They offer wellness shots, superfood lattes and tonics, fresh juice smoothies, and cold-pressed bottled juices.
“One of our bestselling drinks in the summer is fresh pressed watermelon juice. Watermelons are in season, so their juice is more flavorful in the summertime! Watermelon juice is a popular summer go-to because it is refreshing, and you can get a large juice for under $5,” said Lexie Shook of Juiceland.
Another summer favorite is the Rehydrator smoothie, which has watermelon, raspberry, mango, peach, beet, coconut oil, mint, lime, and sea salt. The Rehydrator keeps the promise of its name and will hydrate you in the Houston heat.
If craving something sweeter: “If a guest asked for a sweet summer drink, we would recommend our Home Run smoothie which has apple, banana, and strawberry. The Home Run is a smoothie that’s simple, sweet, and refreshing,” Shook said.
There’s something for everyone at Juiceland, with customizable drinks and menu options for people with dietary restrictions. They focus on health and sustainability, so grabbing one of their smoothies will help you feel great. Visit them at 3206 White Oak Dr.
But sometimes you need a little kick in your drink. That’s where BCK: Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures comes in.
“The biggest thing about BCK, which is short for Bosscat Kitchen, is that we wanted to come to the Heights and we wanted to be nostalgic American fare, non-pretentious and fun,” said Matt Sharp, bar director and part owner of BCK.
A part of the way they accomplish that is with their cocktails, which are broken into three parts on the menu. The top portion is the house cocktails, where there’s something for everybody with drinks featuring cucumber vodka, bourbon, gin, and more. At the bottom of the menu there’s the classics, like the Old Fashioned and Manhattan.
The middle section is called “The Good Times” and features one of a kind cocktails that will transport you right back to your childhood. These are also the cocktails that Sharp calls the most “Instagramable.”
When gathering ideas for BCK’s nostalgic menu, the staff was asked what they most enjoyed eating or drinking growing up. And from that many of the choices on the regular and cocktail menu were created.
“The first one is the First Crush, and this is a play on like an Orange Julius or an orangesicle,” Sharp said. It’s made with Jim Bean Vanilla, Orange Crush, and cream. It’s refreshing, sweet, and will make you forget about the high ninety-degree weather waiting outside.
When taking from what the staff loved drinking growing up, Dr. Pepper was also a big one for many, so they created the Dr. Feel Good.
“So, we said, ‘okay we all love Dr. Pepper, how do we make that fun and engaging and a great cocktail?’ We take Dr. Pepper, we reduce it, make a really good syrup out of it, almost an orgeat, which is kind of a flavorful syrup, and then we add rye whiskey to it, a little bit of lemon, and bitters. When we talk about fun, it doesn’t get more fun than that,” Sharp said. Especially when it comes served in a Dr. Pepper can.
Berry Crunch Milk Punch (say that five times fast, as Sharp joked) is another throwback on the menu. This concoction is inspired by Sharp’s love for leftover cereal milk. Every night before closing time they take Captain Crunch Berry and put it into two gallons of milk, let it sit overnight, and then strain it, creating cereal infused milk. In the cocktail with the milk is Buffalo Trace Bourbon and strawberry, with Captain Crunch sprinkled on top.
All three are sweet, but still perfect for quenching your thirst. They are great throwbacks that were fun for the BCK team to create and are fun for everyone to drink.
“I always say, ‘what would you drink if you’re on a patio with shorts and a tank top on and one flip flop dangling from your big toe’? And I don’t think I’d have a big warm glass of bourbon, I’d have a nice cold daiquiri or a First Crush,” Sharp said.
If you’re feeling a little wistful of the past, happy hour is 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. at BCK, where you can have the comfort of home (without any of the family drama.) BCK is located at 933 Studewood St.