Raskin Around: Poptails, yellow bloodies and grapefruit tonic

Charleston bartender John Aquino has created his Natural Blonde Bloody Mary Mix with Johns Island Valencia Gold tomatoes.

King of Pops, which earlier this year partnered with Home Team BBQ to put its popular Gamechanger on a stick, is unveiling a new set of liquored-up frozen treats at Wild Dunes Resort.

The "grown-up Poptails" are available in peach shine, strawberry shine, strawberry margarita and sweet tea mint flavors. According to a press release, the $6 lickable drinks are available at the Grand Pavilion Bar and elsewhere throughout the resort.

Wild Dunes is at 5757 Palm Boulevard on Isle of Palms.

Depending on a drinker's bloody Mary preferences, the morning cocktail may or not be garnished with Old Bay, hot sauce, lemon juice, pickled okra, boiled shrimp, fried bacon or jerked beef. But the beverage's deep red color is a near-constant.

Charleston bartender John Aquino is now challenging the status quo with his Natural Blonde Bloody Mary Mix, made with Johns Island Valencia Gold tomatoes. Although Aquino has poured the sunset-hued mix locally - it's already on the menus at The Obstinate Daughter and Brasserie Gigi - beverage professionals from across the country had their first chance to taste the product at last month's Tales of the Cocktail bartending convention in New Orleans.

"Exceptional," one sampler ruled.

The sharp-tasting Natural Blonde is significantly lighter than most bloody Mary mixes: On the processed tomato spectrum, it's closer to water than paste. And because the component tomatoes are lower in acid than most red tomatoes, it's not slugged with too much obscuring sugar. Instead, the fresh flavors are teased out with vinegar, jalapenos and mustard seeds.

Aquino likes to point out the relative healthfulness of his mix: A 5.5-ounce serving clocks in at 25 calories (not counting alcohol), and has 270 mg of sodium. By comparison, a same-sized serving of Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix has 1,118 mg of sodium.

Although the mix isn't yet available for individual sale, Aquino anticipates retailing it soon. For more information, stay tuned to naturalblondebloodymary.com.

Moose are solitary animals, but Tattooed Moose apparently come in pairs.

NoMo's popular sandwich shop this month began the physical process of building a second location; the restaurant at 3328 Maybank Highway on Johns Island is slated to open next year. Owners Jen and Mike Kulick are partnering on the project with Meathouse's Jason Houser, who spent three years as Muse's executive chef

Although The Tattooed Moose's Johns Island location will feature the same menu as the original restaurant, including craft beer, duck fat fries and the duck club sandwich highlighted on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," its offerings will be rounded out by an on-site smokehouse, outdoor bar, live music performance area and plenty of parking.

"We feel like we'll be a one-of-a-kind spot," Jen Kulick is quoted as saying in a release.

For more information, go to tattooedmoose.com.

The timing of Bittermilk's fifth release couldn't be better: With Charleston palates already tuned to grapefruit by Radler, the local bottled cocktail mixer company is putting out a charred grapefruit tonic.

In addition to burned grapefruit, the compound features lime and lemon juices, cinchona bark, sugar and Bull's Bay Saltworks salt.

Salt was added to "really bring out the savory caramel notes and to round out the flavor," Joe Raya is quoted as saying in a release. Raya and his wife, MariElena, last year created the Bittermilk brand.

Unlike other mixers in the Bittermilk line, the No. 5 is not merely a just-add-spirit proposition. Although the tonic could probably hold its own with tequila or gin, the directions urge drinkers to reach for a bottle of club soda, too. Still, promotional materials maintain the product is a "tonic not available in the market."

Bittermilk is continuing to offer its Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, Sazerac and Tom Collins mixers, all of which are enhanced with various aromatics and botanticals. The tonic is the first concoction centered on citrus.

"We are excited to launch this line in the middle of the summer, a perfect time for the refreshing drink," Raya says.

Bittermilk products are sold at local retail outlets, including Caviar & Bananas, Charleston Beer Exchange, Two Boroughs Larder and High Wire Distilling Co.

For more information, go to bittermilk.com.

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