Basic iced coffee is a good thing, for sure, but there’s better than basic; call it next-level iced coffee. Church Alley (4201 Canal St., 504.304.6306) combines orange-blossom water, espresso and fizzy water for a refreshing Lebanese Coffee. Love the taste of chocolate-covered oranges? Coast Roast in St. Roch Market (p. 24) mixes espresso, orange juice and a touch of vanilla syrup for its Bumble Bee, a surprising candy taste-alike. The iced coffee drinks at Spitfire (p. 23) are wild. Try the Tres Flores (espresso, lavender-infused milk, orange-blossom water and rose petals) and the Brown Butter Mocha (nutty browned butter, dark chocolate and coffee).
Lebanese iced tea is a New Orleans original, seriously. It was first (and best) done at Mona’s (4126 Magazine St., 504.894.9800), though every Middle Eastern restaurant now has a version. At the mother ship, the drink is made in giant batches—lemony powdered iced tea stirred with water, flower water (rose or orange) and sweetener, then topped with a scattering of pine nuts. For something hip, vegan and jaw-droppingly gorgeous, duck into the Auction House Market (p. 18) and make a beeline for Mac & Moon. There you’ll find Frozen Blooming Flower teas (blueberry-basil, gardenia or whatever they’re doing at the moment), bubble teas (jasmine-rose with fruity “bubbles” and fresh fruit) and frozen herbal lemonades. All are the definition of summer splendor.
All that walking, sightseeing and shopping is thirst-inducing, and in New Orleans’ steamy heat, hydrating is vital. Check out some local specialty beverages and chill for a bit. —Lorin Gaudin