Unique wellness drinks around Columbia, SC

From left to right: The Studio Fuego, The Daydreamer, The Sanarás Paloma | Photo by @coa_agaveria

The whole goal of Drink Up Week in the Soda City is to celebrate anything you can sip. We know the classics — cocktails, coffees, and Coca-Colas — but how about trying some unconventional concoctions being mixed up in our city? 

Here are six places around Columbia where you can Drink Up unique fusions of wellness-inspired drinks

Pro tip: Try the Billion-Dollar Smoothie with an adaptogen. | Photo provided by As Well As

As Well As, 3000 Rosewood Dr.

Try the Billion-Dollar Smoothie“Health is wealth” with this all organic, no sugar added drink. It’s packed with açaí, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, spinach, banana, ginger, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, shiitake, digestive enzymes + protein. 

As Well As also offers its five most popular adaptogens as add-in options — like reishi, turkey tail, chaga, cordyceps + lion’s mane. The smoothie is topped with granola, chia seeds, cacao nibs, and a choice of peanut butter or almond butter drizzle.

Blūm Cofee, 2824 Devine St. 

Along with its blueberry iced coffee Cheerio curated for Drink Up Week, Blum offers a Golden milk Latte. The latte is made with a golden milk powder blend contrived of two cups of turmeric, two tablespoons of cinnamon, one tablespoon of nutmeg, and one tablespoon of of cloves. The spices are shaken together before being added to a hot or iced latte for a creamy + spicy drink, intended to help reduce inflammation

From left to right: The Studio Fuego, The Daydreamer, The Sanarás Paloma | Photo by @coa_agaveria

Coa Agaveria y Cocina, 823 Lady St.

As Well As and Coa Agaveria y Cocina partnered to create three wellness cocktails:

“The Daydreamer” — a cocktail made with CBD, blue spirulina, tequila blanco, orange liquor, amaro, lemon, and is garnished with a CBD gummy bear. The unconventional drink contains antioxidants, brings a sense of calm, and is supposed to aid in inflammation.

“The Sanarás Paloma” — a cocktail made with turkey tail and chaga adaptogens, tequila blanco, grapefruit, and lime, topped with grapefruit Jarrito. The immunity-boosting cocktail is intended to aid in digestion + fight inflammation.

“The Studio Fuego” — a cocktail made with lion’s mane and cordyceps adaptogens with mezcal, tequila blanco, Ancho Reyes, burlesque bitters, basil, chile de árbol, and lime. This eclectic drink is supposed to give you a boost of natural, long-lasting energy + help with focus and muscle recovery.

Try one of Good Life Cafe’s cold-pressed juices. | Photo by COLAtoday team

Good Life Cafe, 1614 Main St.

This 100% vegan cafe offers tons of wellness drink options like wellness shots + smoothies — but some of its most-popular grab-n-go items are cold-pressed juices. Located in the coolers toward the back, you have a choice of 10+ juice options made in-house multiple times a week to help increase energy, repair the gut, and give you glowing skin.

Click the link below to see three more unique concoctions infused with  CBD, turmeric, and other wellness ingredients

Java Juice Cafe, 504 Gervais St.

This juicing cafe and coffee shop prepares organic smoothies + juices packed with fresh ingredients to assist the body in its essential functions. Guests have the option of a snagging a grab-n-go drink or ordering a custom made to order cold-pressed juice.

If you want a little caffeine with your cold juice, try the Beet Rose latte, made with a beetroot blend, your choice of milk, and sweetened with maple syrup. If you want to keep it simple, walk in and order the juice of the day always a great choice. 

Peak Drift Brewing, currently located at 1643 Main St.

Peak Drift, the microbrewery located inside of Smoked, is serving up a CBD Sparkling Water. Sip on this unique H2O drink made with sparkling water, hints of grapefruit, lemon lime, and 20 mg of CBD per 12oz glass. The team tried this drink on Monday + we highly recommend sipping it aside an order of Smoked’s signature oysters

10 questions with mixologist Jake Smith

Hey Soda City, Jess here and I’m back with you just for a day. 

I had the opportunity to talk with a bartender who you might remember that has a similar experience to my story of shipping up to Boston (hey, BOStoday) last year. Jake Smith is an award-winning mixologist who has worked at Tazza Kitchen + Motor Supply Company and is now serving up tasty drinks in New England. 

Let’s check in with Jake to see how life’s been in Boston + get to know him a little better. From his favorite drinks to his favorite Cola dishes, here’s what he had to say. Plus, keep reading for a custom cocktail recipe just for #DrinkUpCola.  

If you had to convince a friend to move to Columbia, what would you tell them?

Columbia is under the radar, one of the biggest up-and-coming cities in the South. I would say it has a ton of potential, it just needs the right players to be there to push things forward, help it grow, and elevate what they do there. Whether it’s just beautiful weather, the summertime lasts almost all year — which is great and terrible at the same time. But I think everyone that’s from there has this special place in our hearts.

What Cola dish do you absolutely crave and rave about?

Yes. I think about it frequently and it is Chef Rhett’s chicken bog from the War Mouth. I literally think about that dish like once a week and I’m like, “Man, I need some chicken bog right now.”

Can you describe Columbia’s personality in three words?

Easygoing, corralled, and ambitious. I would say everybody there really has a sense of pride for where they come from and what they’re doing. They’re super easygoing. It’s in terms of like letting people in and experiencing new cultures are pretty open to it. 

If someone from Boston would visit Cola, where would you take them on a tour?

So you’d definitely have to hit all the districts and I’d have to focus on the cocktails. We’d spend time on Main Street hitting up all those places and hanging out at Bourbon. Then making our way down to Smoked or Transmission Arcade, definitely getting out of the city a little bit would be really cool, like going out on the lake and doing a walk down the Riverwalk and checking out the campus, showing how grand college sports are there because it’s definitely something that you don’t really see outside of that city. 

If you’re going to take someone from Columbia on a tour of Boston, where would you take them?

We’re absolutely going down to the Boston Common. We’re absolutely going to a Red Sox game, and we’re gonna go hang out in the bleachers. And third I’d say explore the nightlife. I definitely hang out around the Back Bay area or branch out a little bit, probably go more towards the Common and hit the arcade bar (Versus) or something like that. 

What’s a pro tip that you want to share with anyone who’s new to the Soda City?

Dress cool. Yeah, that is like the hottest place I’ve ever been. It stays hot. But realistically be nice to people. It’s such a small town, everyone knows each other. You see everybody everywhere. Also, pro tip. check out the smaller spots — Kiki’s Chicken and Waffles is the best chicken and waffles in the area.

What has been the biggest difference for you moving from Columbia to Boston?

The biggest difference is definitely the city itself. I mean, it’s huge. It’s more similar than most people would think. Just because the culture is just very opposite. A lot of people believe this in the South and I hear people believe the completely opposite thing. The people here are pretty identical in terms of how proud they are and that aspect. The most major thing I would say is the weather here is nice all the time except for the winter. And the snowstorms are very serious. Don’t decide to go walking out in the snowstorms when you’re getting 24 inches of snow.

What is the most popular drink from whenever you were working in Columbia?

My number one cocktail order whenever I was in Columbia was always daiquiris. 

Are there any bartenders you want to shout out that you really appreciated their work and Columbia?

Everybody? Pretty much everyone that said there wasn’t that many of us you know like the guys that are really doing like the craft cocktail scene there. There’s a huge amount of them but everyone there I mean, from like Cat, or David over at War Mouth and Grant over a Ratio. All the guys have Hendrix, they’re still doing a great job over there. And people like Andy Haddock, did a lot for the scene there and it’s so tight knit. 

If you’re taking someone on a date for cocktails in Cola, where are you taking them?

My absolutely favorite tapas spot on a Monday night was Gervais & Vine. It’s local chef owned and operated with a rotating seasonal menu and delicious wine menu. I also want to say Smoked because I never made it there when I was there. You also can’t go wrong with the War Mouth — it’s just so good.

Jake crafted a cocktail for #DrinkUpCola called “Origin Story.” | Photo via @jake_smith_mixologist

Custom Cocktail
COLAtoday — Origin Story by Jake Smith 

2 dashes peychauds bitters

1 barspoon ginger juice 

0.5oz Chanh Muôi cordial

0.5oz lemon

1.5oz Hayman’s Old Tom gin 

Dry shake all ingredients in a cocktail tin then pour into a highball glass. Top with crushed ice and a little soda

I garnished this cocktail with a little lime leaf, but it’s definitely not necessary. 

Chanh Muôi is a Vietnamese fermented lime beverage that would translate closely to lemonade. It’s usually served in the summer with a little sugar water to cool off. 

My recipe for Chanh Muôi includes toasted coconut, lime leaf, lemongrass, clove, bronze fennel, and palm sugar, but you can use any recipe you find online! I’ve found that 5 days is the perfect fermentation period for this.

Try This: “A Night Under the Big Top” at Segra Park

It wasn’t your average baseball game — the ballpark had a circus-like atmosphere. | Photo by the COLAtoday team

Get ready to glow berserk, Cola. Michaela here, and this past Saturday, the circus came to Segra Park. We were there to experience A Night Under the Big Top, and we had a blast.

In addition to cheering on the Fireflies as they took on (and won) against the Augusta GreenJackets, we enjoyed a circus-themed game with a post-game show featuring the Human Cannonball + fireworks — the perfect way to celebrate the big win. 

Here’s how it went + how you can Try This.   

As we were making our way to our seats, we were greeted by a circus performer on stilts. | Photo by the COLAtoday team

What we tried (with pricing): 

My family and I bought our tickets online ahead of the game. Pro tip: We made sure we had clear bags and debit cards with us (Segra Park is cashless and has a clear bag policy). Before heading to our seats, we took our daughter, Milo, to the Kid Zone for fun on the inflatables (tickets are $1 per bounce).

Afterward, we made our way to our seats in Section 106 ($12), excited for the spectacle ahead. Check out all ticketing options here.

We didn’t want to miss any of the action, so we ordered food from our seats. | Photo by the COLAtoday team

What not to miss:

There were carnival-themed games on the field (and the big screen) throughout the game, like the cotton candy eating contest, Bubble Ball Circus (in which competitors from the audience faced off in bubble suits) + a rhythmic dance contest

Balloon animals and face painting were available for kids visiting the stadium, perfect for building up excitement for the grand finale.

The circus theme made Milo’s first baseball game even more exciting. | Photo by the COLAtoday team

What we’re still talking about: 

Now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for — the record-setting human cannonball, David “The Bullet” Smith Jr., took flight from center field to home plate. The crowd went wild, counting down the seconds to launch.

David Smith Jr. is a second-generation human cannonball — so it’s in his blood. | GIF by the COLAtoday team

After he landed safely, the crowd was still pumped up and ready for the fireworks display

Segra Park ends every Saturday night game with a fireworks show. | Photo by the COLAtoday team

How you can experience this: 

Theme nights happen at every Saturday home game. The next one is Sat., Aug. 5 at 6:05 p.m., and the theme is Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol, ft. characters Chase + Marshall. Check out the full game schedule here.

Things to know if you go: 

Happy hour deals in Columbia, SC

It's definitely going to be a happy hour at Boku Kitchen and Saloon

It’s about time we talked about Soda City’s happy hours, folks. No matter if you’re grabbing a quick beer after work, on the hunt for some discounted bites, or just want to have a chill hangout while going easy on the wallet, we’ve got this round.

Here are 23 places around town offering the best deals right now. So #DrinkUpColumbia and be merry. (Hours listed are HH only.)

Featuring Peak Drift’s Soda City Seltzer + Nitro Cold Brew Coffee for a limited time | Photo provided by Peak Drift

Beer lovers 

Peak Drift at Smoked | Daily, 3-6 p.m. | Enjoy $2 off any Peak Drift Brew. Pro tip: It also offers CBD water so you can still unwind after a work day even if you don’t drink alcohol.

Transmission Arcade | Daily, 4-7 p.m. | Mention COLAtoday’s Drink Up Week during happy hour this week and receive $1 worth of free game tokens with your purchase of a drink. 

Segra Park | Thursday game times vary | If you’re going to a Columbia Fireflies game, check out the Thirsty Thursday deals. Sponsored by Budweiser, grab yourself a half-priced draft beer or fountain soda and a $2 Bud Light

Tin Roof offers both meal + drink deals during happy hour. | Photo by Tin Roof Columbia

Hungry for meal deals 

The Donut Guy | 4-6 p.m. every Tues., Wed., and Thurs. | Grab a small order of mini donuts with one masterpiece or classic topping for $5. Classic funnel cakes are $5 during happy hour and grab a 50% off big boy donut for the ride home. 

Kao Thai Cuisine | Mon.-Fri., 4-7 p.m. | Along with $5 appetizers, the happy hour specials at Kao Thai include $2 off all cocktails, (like the Rai Chanika) + $4 drafts.

Liberty Tap Room and Grill | Mon.-Fri., 4-7 p.m. | Munch on $5.95 bar bites while you drink $4 draft beers, house wines, and house liquors. 

Pearlz Oyster Bar | Mon.-Fri., 4-7 p.m. | Drink up $3 PBRS, $5 house liquors, $5 house wines, $3 champagnes, and $5 oyster shooters.

Tin Roof | Mon.-Fri. 4-7 p.m., Sat. + Sun. 2-7 p.m. | Order drinks + food during happy hour with 50% off all appetizers, $5 Titos, Jack and Jameson, $4 Seltzers and Fireball, and $3 Domestic Drafts and Wells.

It’s definitely going to be a happy hour at Boku Kitchen and Saloon. | Photo provided by Boku Kitchen and Saloon

Keeping spirits up 

Boku Kitchen and Saloon | Mon.-Fri., 4-6:30 p.m. | Sip on $7 craft cocktails, $6 wines, $5 appetizers + $4 sake bombs for the perfect mix of happy hour offerings. 

Coa Agaveria Y Cocina | Tues.-Fri., 4-7 p.m. | This modern Mexican restaurant offers $6 Luna Azul Margaritas, $2 canned Tecate, $1 off Mexican bottles, and $1 off well pours during happy hour.

Tako Sushi | Tues.-Fri., 4-6 p.m. | Sangria, house wines, special cocktails + Tako-Ritas are $5 during happy hour at the newly opened Main Street restaurant. Plus, 12oz cans of Tecate/Asahi are $2.75.

Tazza Kitchen | Tues.-Sat., 5-6:30 p.m. | Head here for happy hour to enjoy $1 off of draft beers and $5.5 glasses of house red + white wines. Don’t miss out on $6 redwoods made with bourbon, Cocchi rosa, simple, angostura bitters, or $6 Blind Dates with infused vodka, lemon, agave, and ginger beer.

Don’t miss $4 wines at Za’s | Photo by COLAtoday team

Off the vine

Za’s on Devine | All day Wednesdays | Pay $4 for select glasses of wine every Wednesday, paired deliciously with a fresh brick oven pizza. Enjoy sipping on a glass of cold Rosenhaven Rosé, crisp Caposaldo Pinot Grigio, or any of the other select options.

Molto Vino | Wednesdays, 6-7 p.m. | Molto Vino offers Wine Wednesday tastings starting at 6 p.m. If you stay for bingo night, you’ll have the chance to win a $100 gift card.

Market on Main | All day Wednesdays | Wine Down Wednesday entails half-off all wines by the glass + half-off a charcuterie board. Bring your friends and sing your heart out at 7 p.m. during karaoke. Market on Main is introducing new happy hour specials, (including $6 select cocktails) starting next Tuesday.

Pro tip: Order the Whig Punch

Biggest bargains 

Carolina Ale House | Everyday from 4-8 p.m. | Carolina Ale House is the home of the $3 happy hour – $3 domestic drafts, $3 house liquors, and $3 house wines.

929 Kitchen | Tues.-Fri., 5-7 p.m. | The modern Korean spot in the heart of the Vista offers $4 draft beers, half-off glasses of wine + $2 off signature cocktails.

The Whig | Daily, 4-7 p.m. | Head to the The Whig on Main Street to grab $3 house wines + liquor. 

Your pup will be very yappy at yappy hour every Tues. + Thurs. | Photo by Jake’s on Devine

Fun in the sun 

Publico in Five Points | Mon.-Fri., 4-7 p.m. | Take $1 off wines + well liquors, and don’t forget that the beer of the day is always $3. Pro tip: Bring your pooch on the patio and treat them to food off of the pup menu. 

Publico at BullStreet | Mon.-Fri., 4-6 p.m. | Enjoy $7 cocktails, $6 wines, $5 appetizers, and $4 draft beers.

Hendrix Cola | Tues.-Sat., 4-6 p.m. | The rooftop bar is the place to be if you’re looking for a great atmosphere and deals. Hendrix’s happy hour has $5 drafts, $3 off wine by the glass + $4 off well liquors.

Jake’s on Devine | Tues.-Thurs., 4-9 p.m. | Yappy Hour takes place on the back deck every Tuesday and Thursday, offering a one-of-a-kind happy hour experience for both you and your furry friend. Wednesday nights at Jake’s is Pint Night with discounts on draft beers

Black Rooster | Daily, 4:30-6 p.m. | Golden Hour is every single day at Black Rooster, with golden discounts including $6 wines (red, white, rose, champagne), $7 French fashioned, French 75, Aperol Spritz, and half-off all draft beers.

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Your Guide to COLAtoday’s Drink Up Week

We hope you’re thirsty — these 20 local drinkeries mixed up specials and deals exclusively for Drink Up Week. Keep reading to plan your delicious week of drinking local (Mon., July 25-Sun., July 31). Remember to use #DrinkUpCola on your social posts to share the fun. 

As Well As’ Billion Dollar Smoothie | Photo provided by As Well As

As Well As, 3000 Rosewood Dr Suite 4-6

  • Billion-Dollar Smoothie — This smoothie is all organic, no added sugar, + packed with açaí, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, spinach, banana, ginger, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, shiitake, digestive enzymes, + protein. That’s not all—they add the five most popular adaptogens: reishi, turkey tail, chaga, cordyceps + lion’s mane. This smoothie is topped with Granola, Chia seeds, cacao nibs, + your choice of peanut butter or almond butter drizzle.
Blue Moon Blueberry Bam Punch | Photo provided Blue Moon Ballroom

Blue Moon Ballroom, 554 Meeting St, West Columbia

  • Blue Moon Blueberry Bam Punch
Blum’s going blue for COLAtoday | Photo by @hayleyunlikely

Blūm, 2824 Devine St. 

  • In honor of COLAtoday blue, Blūm has created a blueberry cold brew with Cheerios cereal milk (oat).
Boku’s COLAtoday’s happy hour Drink Up Week specials

Boku Kitchen and Saloon, 916 Gervais St.

  • Happy hour Mon.-Fri. 4-6:30 pm includes $7 craft cocktails, $6 wine, $5 appetizers, $4 sake bombs
Not much beats an Aperol Spritz on a famously hot day.

Cantina 76, 1301 Main St

  • COLAToday Blue Margarita Blueberry lavender/basil margarita — Casamigos tequila, fresh blueberry juice, housemade lavender/basil simple syrup, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and a splash of sparkling water.
  • Aperol Spritz — Aperol, brut, sparkling water, and an orange slice
  • Lavender Tequila Spritz — Casamigos Blanco tequila, crème de violette, house-made lavender syrup, brut and sparkling water, garnished with fresh blueberries.

Cantina 76, 2901-A Devine St.

  • Pinarita — Lunazul Blanco, coconut cream, pineapple, lime + agave
Drink Up with Carolina Min-Tea

Carolina Ale House, 277 Columbiana Dr.

  • Carolina Min-Tea — Bulleit Bourbon, sweet tea, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup, muddled fresh mint.
  • Happy Hour — Caroline Ale House is the home of the $3 happy hour – $3 domestic draft, $3 house liquor, $3 house wine.

Drip, 729 Saluda Ave

  • Drink Up with Drip’s “Brown Sugar Cardamom Latte” served iced or hot. We’ve been told it brings “pure joy and sends you to the moon and back.” 
The 434 from Hall’s Chophouse | Provided by Hall’s Chophouse

Hall’s Chophouse, 1221 Main St #150 

  • A portion of each sale of the “The 434” cocktail goes to Epworth Children’s Home. 

Kao Thai Cuisine, 1001 Senate St. #300

  • Sip of Silom — Absolut Pear, housemade lemongrass syrup, and ginger beer.
Loveland’s cold summer coffee adds in boba pearls. | Photo provided by Loveland Coffee

Loveland Coffee, 7475 Carlisle St, Irmo

  • Loveland Coffee is adding Agar Boba — chewy, jelly-like pearls that are sweetened with brown sugar + cinnamon — to its cold brew. Add in brown sugar syrup and milk (or a milk alternative) for a fun refreshing summer treat.

Oliver Gospel Roastery, 1120 Taylor St. 

  • Oliver Gospel Roastery has two sweet specials that are perfect afternoon treats. Stop in and try the Peaches-n-Cream Frappe or the Bahama Sunrise made with passion tea, lemonade, and mango syrup.

Palmetto Wine Sellers, 2218 Devine St. 

Grab this special 4-pack of wines just for ColaToday Drink Up Week. It will be a curated selection of unique and interesting harder-to-find wines. Purchase two bottles of Jadix Picpoul and two bottles of Argento Cab Franc — the normal price for the four bottles is $74, purchase the set for Drink Up Week for just $60. To purchase, text The Wine Guy at 803-714-3320 to ensure availability and the special price.
Drink up with these Peak Drift specials at Smoked | Photo provided by Peak Drift Brewing

Peak Drift @ Smoked, 1643 Main St.

  • Drink Special
    • Peak Drift “Soda City Hard Seltzer” — A Cucumber and mint-flavored hard seltzer.
  • Non-alcoholic drinks
    • CBD Sparkling Water — 20mg per 12oz with flavors of grapefruit and lemon-lime blend with floral notes of CBD.
    • Peak Drift Nitro Cold Brew Coffee — Locally-roasted Brazilian coffee beans from Iron Brew Coffee in Blythewood, SC Cold steeped in-house.
  • Happy Hour
    • Every day they have a $2 off Happy Hour special between 3-6 p.m.

Publico BullStreet, 2180 Boyce St. STE A

  • Watermelon Mojito — Served in a fresh watermelon and mint puree, rum, lime, and simple

Publico Five Points, 2013 Greene St.

  • Coconut Punch — Served in a fresh coconut with pineapple, coconut rum, house-made sour, cherry
The Ecstasy Martini from SakiTumi has a unique note in each drink. | Photo provided by SakiTumi

SakiTumi, 807 Gervais St #103

  • Ecstasy Martini — Frankly’s organic pomegranate vodka and peach schnapps, with a splash of cranberry juice + pineapple. Bartenders “bruise” it in a shaker, pour it into a chocolate drizzled martini glass and then write messages to customers in chocolate sauce on top of the frothed cocktail.
Savage Craft’s Watermelon Julep captures the flavors of summer. | Photo provided by Savage Craft Aleworks

Savage Craft Aleworks, 430 Center St., West Columbia

  • Watermelon Julep — Old Forester 86 Bourbon, fresh watermelon juice, lemon, with a house-made coconut oolong tea syrup
  • Havanaberry Daquiri — Havana Club Anejo Blanco Rum, lime juice, orgeat, with a house-made blueberry black tea syrup
  • Savage Spritz — Ford’s gin, Aperol, Pampelmouse liqueur, rhubarb bitters and Jarritos grapefruit soda
  • Peachin’ to the Choir — Grey Goose White Peach and Rosemary vodka, peach liqueur, peach nectar, lemon juice, house-made rosemary syrup and egg white

Steel Hands Brewing, 2350 Foreman St. 

  • Steel Hands Brewing is featuring its Coffee Lager and the new Steel Paws beer with proceeds that go towards the local police K9 programs around the Midlands. So far, it’s raised over $160,000.

Sweetwaters Coffee + Tea, 1002 Park St.

Wake up with this special and get to daydreaming. The Dreamy Cold Brew is made with cold brew, vanilla syrup, and heavy cream.  

Swiff, 736 Harden St.

  • Swiff’s cooked up a Caramel Cookie Dough Freddoa shaken caramel espresso topped with its cookie dough cold foamPlus, on Thurs., July 28 and Fri., 29, guests who purchase a beverage will receive a voucher for a free espresso-based drink to redeem at a later time

TakoSushi, 1332 Main St Ste 101

  • Pineapple Jalapeno Margarita —Dulce Vida pineapple jalapeno tequila, Cointreau, pineapple juice, club soda, fresh jalapeno slice.
  • Happy Hour — Drink and food specials offered Tues.-Fri. between 4-6 p.m.
Espresso yoself with this cocktail at Tazza | Photo provided by Tazza Kitchen

Tazza Kitchen, 4840 Forest Dr #20

  • Espress Yoself — Tequila coffee liqueur made in-house, Averna amaro, crème de cacao, and simple syrup

Transmission Arcade, 1712 Main St. 

  • Mention COLAtoday’s Drink Up Week during happy hour this week and receive $1 worth of free game tokens with your purchase. 
Yachtail is a canned bev made here in Cola | Photo provided by Yachtail

Yachttail, available for purchase in retail stores Bottles, Green’s, Lowe’s Foods, Morganelli’s, Total Wine

  • A new drink to the Cola market, Yachtail Sparkling Cocktail, was created here in Cola and is now available 41 different places around the state. The canned bev is perfect for your afternoon out on the boat.

COLAtoday Drink Up Week coffee shop specials

Happy Drink Up Week Cola, where we’ll be celebrating the beverage-makers in our community all week long. What better way to kick off the week than with a coffee crawl across Cola to get you amped for the 20+ drink specials we have to share with you. 

Plus, tune into our Instagram at 4 p.m. today as we drink our way down Main Street sharing cocktail specials from Hall’s Chophouse, Cantina 76, TakoSushi, and Transmission Arcade

Blūm, 2824 Devine St. | In honor of COLAtoday blue, Blūm has created a blueberry cold brew with Cheerios + cereal milk (oat). 

Drip, 729 Saluda Ave. | Drink up with Drip’s “Brown Sugar Cardamom Latte” served iced or hot. We’ve been told it will bring “pure joy + sends you to the moon and back.” 

Loveland Coffee, 7475 Carlisle St, Irmo | Combining two things we love, Loveland Coffee is adding Agar Boba to its cold brew, creating chewy, jelly-like pearls that are sweetened with brown sugar cinnamon. Add in brown sugar syrup and milk (or a milk alternative) for a fun refreshing summer treat.

Oliver Gospel Roastery, 1120 Taylor St. | Oliver Gospel Roastery has two sweet specials that are perfect afternoon treats. Stop in and try the Peaches-n-Cream Frappe or the Bahama Sunrise made with passion tea, lemonade, and mango syrup. 

Sweetwaters Coffee + Tea, 1002 Park St. | Wake up with this special and get to daydreaming. The Dreamy Cold Brew is made with cold brew, vanilla syrup, and heavy cream. 

Swiff, 736 Harden St. | Swiff’s cooked up a Caramel Cookie Dough Freddo, a shaken caramel espresso topped with its cookie dough cold foam. Plus, on Thurs., July 28 and Fri., 29, guests who purchase a beverage will receive a voucher for a free espresso-based drink to redeem at a later time

We encourage you to start your java journey this morning and try each of the businesses and specials offered. Don’t forget to tag us with #DrinkUpCola so we can follow along on your COLAtoday coffee crawl adventure.

United Way’s Midlands Reading Consortium seeking volunteer community readers for the 2022-2023 school year

MRC will celebrate its 15th anniversary during the 2022-2023 school year. | Photo provided by United Way of the Midlands

Did you know? Just 30 minutes of reading each week can determine whether or not a child advances to the next grade — or even graduates on time. 🎓

United Way of the Midlands is looking for volunteers to support the Midlands Reading Consortium (MRC) — an initiative that helps pre-K through third-grade students improve their reading proficiency — for the 2022-2023 school year. 📚

MRC is a partnership between United Way of the Midlands and is in 16 schools across eight school districts in Richland, Lexington, Newberry, Fairfield + Orangeburg counties. During the 2021-2022 school year, the program mobilized 102 volunteers in assisting 224 students.  

The program was designed so working professionals can leave their office, volunteer, and be back in an hour. | Photo provided by United Way of the Midlands

Table of Contents

How it works:

Volunteers read with students once a week during the school year (early Sept.-May) to help ensure they are reading proficiently by third grade, which is key to later success. A reading session lasts just 30 minutes, so many volunteers choose to increase their impact by working with two students back-to-back for one hour per week. Volunteers can also sign up for guest reading sessions, summer reading camp assistance, and book donations

Plus: It works. According to 2021-2022 MRC survey results, 100% of teachers agreed that students benefit from participating in MRC and 87% of teachers agreed that MRC increased students’ interest in reading.*

Interested in volunteering? Sign up here.* 

Summer recipe from Chef Jessica Shillato of Spotted Salamander Cafe and Catering

Bon appetit, Soda City. | Photo by Jessica Shillato

Chef Jessica Shillato is the creative force behind the Spotted Salamander Café and Catering, and we’re so excited to share her recipe for Deviled Eggs with Sweet & Spicy SC Pecans with you. 

We love this egg-based dish because it evokes flavors of the South that bring forth memories of family gatherings and summertime celebrations. Here’s what you need to get started.


  • 1 cup chopped South Carolina Pecans
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 12 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • ½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning

Pro tip: Grab your ingredients the local way by stopping by the Soda City Market or Rosewood Market.

How to prepare the meal yourself

  • Preheat the oven to 300°. In a bowl, add the pecans and egg whites; toss to combine. Add the sugar, salt, celery salt, and cayenne pepper; toss until combined. 
  • Spread the mixture out in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for ~40 minutes, stirring the nuts every 20 minutes. When finished, the nuts should be fragrant. Remove and let cool.
  • Slice the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place in a mixing bowl.
  • Mash the yolks using a fork, then add the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and Cajun seasoning; mix until smooth.
  • Fill each egg white half with the yolk mixture and top with the pecans. 

Still want Chef Jessica Shillato to cook for you? Visit her at the Spotted Salamander Café and Catering.

Tasty Tomato Festival returns

Cherokee Purple tomatoes will be one of many varieties available. | Photo provided by Sustainable Midlands

Here Saturday, gone tomato 🍅

The 11th annual Tasty Tomato Festival returns on Sat., July 23, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for a block-party-style event in the Cottontown neighborhood. Since the festival took a few years off and has changed locations, we wanted to give you a slice of what to expect at this year’s fest. 

Get your salt and pepper shakers ready; let’s taste some tomatoes. 

Friday Night Kick-off Party

The Friday kick-off party is a first for the festival and will take place at Gardener’s Outpost from 6-8 p.m. The event will serve as a fundraiser for Sustainable Midlands, the nonprofit that hosts the festival and works to create sustainability across the Midlands through advocacy, education, and celebration.

Your $50 ticket to the event includes: 

  • Your Saturday festival entry
  • Live music by Parker’s Back
  • Small bites by Dupre Catering
  • Two drink tickets
Tasty Tomato Festival will take place on Sumter Street in front of Indah for the first time. | Photo provided by Sustainable Midlands

🥪 Tasty Tomato Festival rundown

Arrival | Free street parking is available in the neighborhood, but carpooling is encouraged. Colatown Bike Collective will host a bike valet in the Sherwin Williams parking lot, and bikers will receive a day-of discount of $10, instead of $15. A limited number of handicap spaces will be available at 2200 Sumter St.

Bonus: Blue Bike SC will have a pop-up with BCBS bikes and a promo code for a two-hour free ride

Where to enter | Entrances are located on Sumter Street at Franklin Street + Sumter Street at Jefferson Street. 

Tomato tasting | The tomato tasting will take place inside of NoMa Warehouse so you can stay cool while you taste different types of SC grown tomatoes. 

Eat | Around 40 vendors will be on hand, and four food vendors, that will feature specialty tomato dishes for sale like Rambo’s Fat Cat Biscuit’s tomato biscuit and Il Focolari serving heirloom tomato personal pizza pies.

Drink | Both NoMa Warehouse + Indah Coffee will be serving a variety of beer and other beverages. Plus, Lemonade Paradise will be on hand serving slushies to wash down those tomatoes. 

Music | Live music is a big part of the festival, featuring eight acts at three locations — Indah Coffee’s outside stage, inside of NoMa Warehouse, and at Gardener’s Outpost. Click here for the full lineup. 

For the kids | Cola Bounce House and the Environmental Educators of SC will have activities, along with a face painter. Admission is free for Kids 10 and under.

Following the mission of Sustainable Midlands, Resoil Compost will bring its composting truck to haul away food waste, and the City of Columbia will have the Water Monster on site, so bring your own reusable water bottle

More information and tickets are available here, or at the gate on Saturday.

Dog parks around Columbia, SC

NoMa Bark Park has a full playground set for dogs to enjoy. | Photo by Mike MacDonald

Doggie days, in the park

The dog days of summer are here, and we’re sharing some of the off-leash dog parks in the Midlands and a few ways to keep your pup cool in our famously hot heat

What classifies as a dog park? They’re typically fenced-in areasoften located inside existing public parks – where dogs run freely off-leash. Some have cost + rules associated with them, and others are free rein.

Doggie Park | 127 Humane Ln. | $36/year | Contact Tina Heckman at 803-783-8193 for more membership information. 

Emily Douglass Dog Park | 2500 Wheat St. | Free | We hear you may need to be prepared to give your pup a bath after visiting this dog park.

Lexington Paw Park | 989 Hendrix St., Lexington | $31/year for Town of Lexington residents + $51/year for nonresidents | Pups must be older than four months, up-to-date on all shots, spayed/neutered + owners must be 18 or older.

NoMa Bark Park | 1250 Parkside Dr. | $30/year | All pups must be spayed/neutered and up-to-date on all vaccines.

Page Ellington Dog Park, BullStreet District | The 1.75 acre dog park is open to dogs of all shapes and sizes and is fenced in.

Saluda Shoals Barking Lot Dog Park | 5605 Bush River Rd. | $40/year + parking fees | Pups must be spayed/neutered and be up-to-date on all shots.

Sesquicentennial State Park | 9564 Two Notch Rd. | $25/year or $4/day + state park admission | Owners must provide vaccination records + proof of spay/neuter, rabies, parvo + kennel cough.

Other cool, dog-friendly parks to take your four-legged friends include Riverfront Park, Finlay Park, West Columbia Riverwalk, Granby Park, Doko Meadows Park, Irmo Community Park, and Gibson Pond Park. All of these are free, public places – but they do require you to keep your dog leashed.

Also, don’t forget to clean up after your pup + trash the poop when using these public spaces so everyone can enjoy a clean, safe environment.

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Stay cool

Last month we asked you to share some tips on how you keep your pup cool on those hot Soda City days.

A cooling vest. It’s a light material that holds water. — Ginger B. 

We take our dogs to the park later in the afternoon to avoid the midday heat. — Mike M. 

Not cool, but keep dogs at home and not walking around with you on hot pavement.  It is cruel to have a dog on a leash in a place where it can’t get off the pavement so as not to burn its paws. — LaBruce A.

—Mark L.