July 28, 2021

The Little Fleet’s Jala at Your Girl

Bottoms Up
By Lynda Wheatley | June 5, 2021

There’s only one thing local Traverse Cityians look forward to more than the latest reveal of The Little Fleet’s ever-changing cocktail menu: the latest reveal of its cocktail menu in summer. Always an inventive delight but somehow especially tantalizing when perused at the Fleet’s shaded bar as June’s first 80-degree breezes blow in, that sacred sheet of paper reads like summer’s most promising to-do list.

Never ones to shirk a duty, let alone six of them, we started at the top, with Jala at Your Girl. Appropriately more strong than sweet, this short pink lady brings a refreshing mix of tequila, mezcal, and fresh watermelon to the table, then kicks it over with a swiftly passing burn of jalapeno agave — delightfully hotter on the lips than on the tongue — plus a punch of lime juice and a lip-licking rim of flaky salt and Tajin chili-lime-spice.

Were it not so uncouth to suck the rim of an empty glass in public, we would have done so. Instead, we tried to play it cool, breaking table conversation only periodically to slurp the cocktail’s dregs, as ice-cube drips permitted, wherever salt and spice remained. It wasn’t cool. But the drink most certainly was.

Start your summer at the top with Jala ($11) and plan to press on until the end. Find it (alongside five other auspicious new undertakings) at The Little Fleet, 448 E. Front St., Traverse City. (231) 943-1116, www.thelittlefleet.com

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