The international food scene is prominent throughout Colorado since it is home to people from all across Europe, Asia, South America and Africa — unlocking the gate to worldly cuisine for this landlocked state. Meals are important, but no one seems to be paying close attention to the beverages these hidden gems have to offer. There’s no better feeling than having a thirst-quenching drink to help wash down a delicious meal. Summer has just begun, yet the gloomy weather seems to be sticking around — check out some of these spots to brighten up your day and kickstart the season.

Tacos Acapulco (Tacos y Pupusas)

Horchata and tamarindo.

Where: 8890 E Colfax Ave, Denver.
Hours: Monday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

The Lowdown: This hole-in-the-wall place is known for its variety of Mexican street food and El Salvadorian pupusas. It’s located on at the cross streets of Colfax and Yosemite and doesn’t offer very ample seating — the kitchen actually takes up the most space. Acapulco has a handful of housemade agua frescas to pair with your meal at an inexpensive price. Both the horchata and tamarindo are refreshing and aren’t overly sweet. The tamarindo brings back memories and it’s like eating the pulp of the fruit right after it was picked off the tree. Its ice cold drinks are perfect to pair with their delicious food.

Neveria La Mexicana

Chamango.

Where: 8890 E Colfax Ave., Denver and 7506 E 36th Ave., Denver.
Hours: Monday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

The Lowdown: Neveria La Mexicana has a vast dessert menu filled with ice cream, agua frescas, sorbets and some food options as well. You’re greeted by bright colors, welcoming faces and quick service when walking through its doors. Although there are many options to choose from, the chamango — also known as a mangonada — is a drink everyone should try this summer. It takes your tastebuds on a rollercoaster of flavors with the sweetness of the fresh mango, the spices of the chili powder and chamoy sauce and the sourness of limes. The tamarind candy wrapped around a straw is also there as a fun treat to balance out some of the sweetness you may come across. There’s no denying this drink will cool you down on a hot summer’s day.

Damascus Grill

Housemade iced chai before being mixed together.

Where: 2276 S Colorado Blvd., Denver;1399 W Littleton Blvd., Littleton and 703 Wilcox St, Castle Rock.
Hours: Monday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

The Lowdown: Damascus Grill has a few locations in Colorado, but no matter where you go you’ll be greeted by the smells of spices and foods upon walking in all of the locations. There are only a select few drinks crafted by the Middle Eastern restaurant, and they include its housemade Chai and Syrian banana shake. Sadly, the banana shake wasn’t available at the Denver location, but 303 Magazine was able to try the housemade chai. Some chain coffee shops make its chai drinks overwhelmingly spiced or sweet, but the one made at Damascus Grill is neither of those. It’s has a perfect balance of spices and sweetness, and it quenches your thirst.

Tbaar

Fresh passion fruit tea with boba and honeydew milk tea.

Where: 3970 Buchtel Blvd. S #105, Denver and 12201 E Mississippi Ave., #123A, Aurora.
Hours: Monday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

The Lowdown: There is a countless number of boba shops throughout Colorado, but Tbaar offers a variety of flavors and toppings that will explode in your mouth. They have numerous fresh juices, smoothies, teas and milk teas to choose from, and they also offer a split cup option — allowing customers to try two flavors at a time instead of one. Its boba is perfectly made and is not too chewy or hard, so it isn’t a struggle to eat it while enjoying your drink. You get hints of what tastes like green tea and an assortment of chopped up fruits with the fresh passion fruit tea, and the honeydew milk tea is like biting into a perfectly ripened honeydew. The Denver location also has a foosball and mini pool table to play at while you’re waiting for your drinks.

Tokyo Premium Bakery

Iced matcha latte.

Where: 1540 S Pearl St., Denver.
Hours: Check their site each month for official opening times.

The Lowdown: Tokyo Premium Bakery is a go-to spot if you want authentic Japanese pastries. They are baked daily from scratch, so they typically go quickly when they open in the morning. All of its sweet and savory treats pair perfectly with their drink menu. It offers a handful of classic coffee options including an Americano, vanilla latte and caramel latte. It also has Japanese specialty drinks as well, which include the matcha latte, houjicha (roasted green tea) latte, matcha super green (Japanese organic tea) and its new banana smoothie with black sesame. The iced matcha latte is simple but decadent — its authentic to the matcha flavor.

Quiero Arepas

Where: 1859 S Pearl St., Denver.
Hours: Monday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

The Lowdown: Quiero Arepas started out selling arepas at farmers markets, leading to a spot in Avanti, having their own food truck and now opening its first sit-down spot on South Pearl about a month ago. They offer a few Venezuelan drinks, but the cocada was recommended by the hostess. If you aren’t a lover of coconut this drink may not be for you because that’s all it consists of. The cocada is made out of the meat from a young coconut and its juice all blended together with some ice. There’s no sugar added to this coconut smoothie — making it naturally sweet and delightful.

Pho 95 Noodle House

Salty soda lemonade.

Where: 1401 S Federal Blvd., Denver.
Hours: Monday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

The Lowdown: There are almost an infinite amount of places to get pho throughout Colorado, but one of the best places in Denver has to be Pho 95 Noodle House. It specializes in traditional Vietnamese food and drinks, and the “95” in its name isn’t a random number — it symbolizes the year when the family immigrated to the United States. Pho 95 offers many traditional drink options including beer, liquor, cocktails and boba, but their giải khát (beverages) menu offers Vietnamese specialties. It offers salty lemonade, salty soda lemonade, soda with yolk and condensed milk and many more. The salty soda lemonade confuses your tastebuds with the explosion of flavors — making you go back for more after each sip as you try to pin down its taste. The saltiness and sourness from the lemon make the drink quench your thirst in an oddly satisfying way.

READ: Why Do Pho Restaurants Have Numbers in Their Names?

Bambu

Taro lover with boba.

Where: 1147 S Federal Blvd., Denver and 2058 S University Blvd., Denver.
Hours: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The Lowdown: All of Bambu’s Vietnamese beverages, dessert drinks and puddings are home-made (chè). Its menu online doesn’t show the extensive amount of sweet treats and drinks they actually have available in the store. The Federal Boulevard location is small, but it provides a great place to hang out and play games with some friends while waiting for your order. The taro lover is thick and icy — making it hard to drink with the straw that’s provided, which is why they give you a spoon as well. The pandan jelly is delicious, and the coconut and taro flavor is very prominent throughout the entire drink — creating a perfect palette of sweet Southeast Asian flavors.

Vinh Xuong Bakery

Iced Vietnamese coffee.

Where:  2370 W Alameda Ave., Denver; 375 S Federal Blvd., Unit 112, Denver; 3501 Wazee St., Denver.
Hours: Varies by location.

The Lowdown: Vinh Xuong Bakery is known for its inexpensive yet delicious bánh mì sandwiches, but they also specialize in many drinks as well, including Vietnamese coffee. Vietnamese coffee utilizes medium to dark roasted beans brewed and mixed with sweetened with condensed milk. Vinh Xuong’s Vietnamese coffee has a very strong and distinct flavor that won’t overpower your tastebuds — many returning customers like to add it to their order along with a bánh mì sandwich. There are other drink options as well that include other coffees, juices, iced teas, milk teas, smoothies and hot teas — some can have different flavors of boba added in as well.

All photography by Lukas Crosby.

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