The secret's out: How Austin beats the heat with Topo Chico

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The secret's out: How Austin beats the heat with Topo Chico

It's said that 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered in water. Texas' portion of that, give or take a Trinity and a Brazos, is probably mostly Topo Chico.

Any reader of the New York Times knows that the Grey Lady loves a trend piece, and now the paper has turned its eye to the fizzy fluid that's been quenching parched Texans for as long as anyone can remember.

"Bottles of Topo Chico are tabletop everywhere in Texas this time of year, including tatty taquerias in the Rio Grande Valley and reservations-only restaurants in Houston," the piece's author, Kate Murphy, writes. "The water is often the finishing fizz in cocktails at the hippest bars in Austin and the sidecar to espresso drinks at indie coffee shops in Dallas."

All that might be true — the Lone Star State as a whole sings with the song of clinking glass bottles. But here in Austin, Topo Chico is omnipresent, and the Times' article bears evidence. Congress Avenue caffienation station Jo's Coffee, the boutique Hotel San José and taco truck Veracruz All-Natural all make photo appearances, bottles of Topo Chico serving as props. Jeffrey’s, Josephine House and Elizabeth St. Cafe are namechecked as restaurants dispensing the bubbly balm. "Top Chef" judge Gail Simmons is quoted as saying she fell in love with the drink while filming in Austin.

But you didn't need the Times to tell you about any of this. Just in case your nostrils don't already burn from  a wafting mineral bite as you toy with a dented bottlecap in your fingertips, here are a few ways to keep cool with a Topo Chico. Or, y'know, a San Pellegrino or a La Croix will work just as well for any of these recipes.

1. Make-your-own coffee soda with Topo Chico and cold-brewed coffee. According to the American-Statesman's Joe Gross, "Obviously, you can adjust the percentages of concentrate and Topo Chico based on just how much of a kick you want, but the result is cold, refreshing and caffeinated, the coffee dialing down the intensity of Topo Chico carbonation, the Topo Chico diluting the often-intense concentrate."

2. Go on a Roman Holiday. Ari Auber has a delicious cocktail recipe from Paula's Texas Grapfruit that combines that liquer, Topo Chico, Campari and lime juice.

3. Speaking of cocktails ... We think the Texas Tenor, which uses Deep Eddy lemon vodka, is worth a look on the brand's list of recommended cocktails.

4. Use it as a bookend. The Dallas Morning News recommends sipping Topo Chico "before and after an espresso or macchiato to cleanse the palate."

5. Go classic. Topo Chico michelada, anyone? There's also an agua mineral preparada with your name on it. Or, it being summer and all, a sparkling lemonade.

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