The Best Cold Drinks for Hot Days in The Bronx

By Patrick Wall on July 9, 2012 4:33pm 

Fotis Blanis, the manager of Banana Queen in Mount Eden, pours a fresh-made smoothie specially designed to beat the heat.
Fotis Blanis, the manager of Banana Queen in Mount Eden, pours a fresh-made smoothie specially designed to beat the heat.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Wall

THE BRONX — Fire hydrants, swimming pools, beaches and A/Cs — The Bronx is never short on ways to stay cool during the summer.

But few methods for beating the heat are as simple or sweet as an ice-cold drink.

DNAinfo.com New York scoured the South Bronx for the perfect summertime beverages — drinks to help you cool down and chill out during even the most stubborn heat wave.

Smoothie
Where to get it: Banana Queen, 6 E. Mount Eden Ave.

Tito Smith, a 21-year-old construction worker, treks 10 blocks every day to pick up a smoothie or a fresh juice drink from Banana Queen in Mount Eden.

His favorite smoothie — crammed with mango, papaya, peach, watermelon, passion fruit and mint — puts the standard strawberry-banana combo to shame.

“I walk and it’s healthy, and coming here and eating fruits is healthy,” said Smith, who was ready to down a cup of carrot juice after finishing his daily smoothie. “It’s a win-win.”

The five-year-old juice shop offers about 20 smoothie ingredients, from beats and blueberries, to oranges, pineapples and oats.

“Here you get what you see,” said Fotis Blanis, 26, the store manager. “It’s all fresh food — never frozen.”

The drinks, smoothies or juice, run from $3 for a small to $6 for a large.

Iced Coffee
Where to get it: The Blend Café, 582 E. Fordham Rd.

With their caffeine burst and cool blast, iced coffees and lattes pack the perfect one-two punch on a summer day.

The Blend Café, which opened across the street from Fordham University two years ago, serves chilled coffees and lattes at a price — starting at $2 for a small iced coffee — that’s made it a hit with students.

“I get it everyday,” said Leslie Feigenbaum, 20, a Fordham student who fills the time between her summer classes in Blend’s air-conditioned lounge.

Besides the iced coffee and lattes, Blend sells bottled beverages and fountain soda and will brew iced tea upon request. Later this summer, the café will start to serve alcohol.

But even then, said barista Christian Gianola, 22, she expects the atmosphere remain more relaxed than during certain weeks of the school year.

“Finals are when it’s crazy,” she said, “and midterms are insane.”

Milkshake
Where to get it: M&G Restaurant, 2390 Arthur Ave.

Sweet-toothed pilgrims may head to The Bronx’s Little Italy for the cannoli or gelato or maybe the Italian ice — but the milkshakes?

Perched on Arthur Avenue between Full Moon Pizza and Vincent’s Meat Market, specializing in Italian sausage, sits M&G Restaurant, an American-style diner with extra-thick milkshakes.

“They like it because it’s different,” said Guillermo Marquez, 45, who owns the diner with Roman Casarrubias. “A lot of people pass by and they ask for a cold drink.”

The milkshakes cost $3.50 for a regular and $4 for thick and come in strawberry, chocolate or vanilla. Jarritos, the refreshing fruit-flavored Mexican soft drinks, are also available.

Lemonade
Where to get it: Flavas International Grill, 854 Gerard Ave.

Nothing washes down gooey mac-and-cheese or barbeque chicken quite like a fresh lemonade.

Flavas International Grill, a Jamaican and soul food joint near the 161st St. business corridor by Yankee Stadium, serves extra-sweet regular and pink lemonade, as well as iced tea, each for $1 a cup.

They also make fresh smoothies, protein shakes and natural juices, which include carrot, apple, celery and pineapple-tropical fruit and ginger-punch blends.

“It’s beautiful,” said Edoardo Salomon, 62, who works at Yankee Stadium and was sipping a pink lemonade inside Flavas. “It’s good for you, too,” he added, a point hard to deny on a scorching hot afternoon.

Mango Lassi
Where to get it: Neerob, 2109 Starling Ave.

Lassi, a chilled yogurt-based drink popular in South Asia, has been keeping people cool for ages.

At Neerob, a three-year-old Bangladeshi restaurant in Parkchester, the drinks come in salty or mango varieties and cost $3.

The salty lassis are savory and made with yogurt, salt, lemon and rose water. The sweet mango lassis combine mango yogurt, milk and sugar and taste remarkably like liquid cream sickles.

The restaurant also serves lemon drinks filled with fruit chunks and, during Ramadan, a milkshake-like beverage called falooda.

“In my country, where it’s hot, people love cold drinks,” said Neerob owner Mohammed Rahman.

He paused for a moment, then added, “It’s not much different from here.”

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