Go on Pinterest (or Google), search for summer cocktails and you might get a headache. 

And not just because of the bright-as-the-sun colors that fill the screen.

You'll find a rainbow of beverages, mason jars filled with sliced fruits, and plenty of how-tos for do-it-yourself sangrias, margaritas and booze-infused slushies. You'll see under 100-calorie options and three-minute recipes and quizzes for which liquor to match to your personality. 

Keep scrolling, and you might think: "Where do I start?"

Just ask Lauren Dallesasse, a bartender and mixologist at The J Bar in Davenport — she's basically a walking Pinterest board when it comes to summer cocktails. 

"In the summer, it seems like there's a whole other list of things you can do with cocktails," Dallesasse, 23, said. "There's always a new trend, or something people want to try or something you saw on Instagram." 

If doing-it-yourself seems overwhelming, just try The J Bar.

At this bar, recent trends include anything ginger-infused, blueberry Moscow mules and unique takes on sangrias and anything with fresh fruit. 

Dallesasse has worked at the high-end spot attached to the Holiday Inn on Elmore Avenue for almost two years. Each day behind the bar, she whips up a new featured cocktail of the day. 

"It's not the same from day to day, and I get to add my own touch to it," she said. 

Every day, depending on her mood, the temperature, what she had for lunch or conversations with friends, she'll come up with a cocktail concoction.

"It's something you might only get to try that one day and that's it," she said. "It's spontaneity."

When it's warmer outside, the drinks tend to have flashes of pink, green and blue, she said. 

"You get to be creative and make that girly drink or that colorful drink," she said. "It's something people point at, and it catches their eye." 

For bars and restaurants, like The J Bar, summer isn't just an annual, inevitable weather pattern: Summer blooms a new reason to drink. 

"People kind of come out of their caves after the winter," Tim Benevides, the beverage director at The J Bar, said. "And I think they're ready to be adventurous, so we want to beat them to the punch." 

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The ever-trendy space rolls out a new drink menu four times per year, or each season. With an uptick in sales during the summer, plus more people on the patio, the summer drink menu is coveted territory. 

The J Bar menu is also charged with the challenge of catering to Quad-Citians as well as daily travelers who stay at the hotel. 

"We go through at least 30 drinks before we come up the final list," he said. "It needs to be solid and really impress people in and draw people back."

The recently unveiled summer cocktail list isn't your typical blend of gin and tonics. Take. for example, The Lifeguard ($10), a drink with Patron tequila, fresh lime juice, strawberry mango puree and pineapple juice or the Drunken Monkey ($10), which is some version of an alcoholic ice cream sundae. 

The names are summery, too — from Hot in Here to Skinny Jeans to Pretty in Pink to the more in-your-face choice: Summer Sunset, which holds a blend of Absolut Citron, champagne, lemonade and cranberry juice.

"It's the next generation of cocktails," Benevides said. "People have been drinking manhattans and old fashioneds for years and years — now they want something else." 

And a hot day in June or July or August seems to be the go-to time to try those something-else, fruity, tropical, sweet, doesn't-taste-like-alcohol drinks. 

"In the summer time, you want something that goes down a little easy," he said. "Something that's almost deceivingly good, something that tastes like the weather feels." 


Amanda Hancock is a reporter covering food, arts and entertainment in the Quad-Cities (and beyond).