A Sip and A Thought: The Red Brick Tavern's 'Summer Jazz'

By: Ruben Borjas, Jr., Columnist, Montgomery County News
| Published 05/07/2024


CONROE, TX -- I’m convinced, if the Soviets had gotten their hands on Blueberry Vodka, the Cold War would have ended much earlier than it did. Flavored vodka, first introduced in 1986 with Absolut’s Peppar, has opened the World to possibilities with new and creative imbibements. Now if we can get a few pallets down to Gaza, it may take the edge off to bring a little peace to that region. But if you head to The Red Brick Tavern on Simonton Street in Historic Conroe, you will find plenty of reasons to sit down, have a bite and an adult beverage; and not to mention, enjoy the scenery and/or the company you keep. Just stepping into the place you will be enticed by the red brick walls, almost wishing them to give up their secrets of the Conroe of yesteryear.

RBTs rounded bar is very inviting, located at the back of the premises, it plays its part well drawing customers, and if any movie producers are reading this; I’d recommend it for a bar scene in your locally produced movie. The music is at the right volume, where if you are having a conversation, you don’t have to raise your voice, unless they have a singer, or the place is full up to the rafters. During the quieter times, you can read or write, or chat with the local therapist (bartender), or ask a question to a lawyer, there is always one of them around. And if you’ve nothing to do, stare at the walls. They’ve got plenty of singers pictured there to make you think, with some actually autographed. Of course there are televisions around, so you will always have something to do.

In reviewing RBTs menu, I realized that I haven’t tried a drink with vodka yet, so I set my mind to the task. But it then brought up memories of the past, drinking vodka with straight shots, then I remembered the rough medicinal ethanol burning aftertaste of Eastern vodkas, thinking I had downed a shot of jet fuel. But that was when I was a kid in Europe, not 18-19, maybe 20-21. And plus that was a long time ago, Berlin actually, and America is a lot kinder than the Russian bear. I then saw the ‘Summer Jazz,’ which enticed me, and amongst drinks of The World, it’s pretty unique.

The Summer Jazz is made with Blueberry Vodka, Watermelon Pucker (a sorta of sweet and sour liqueur), fresh lemon juice, club soda, and a stacked stir stick of blueberries with lemon wedge. In other close versions you have a deeper red from the watermelon syrup, of which some use actual watermelon juice, with an additional sweetener. But RBTs version of the drink relies solely on the watermelon pucker to have varying shades of pink rising lighter to the rim. I didn’t mind the color, seeing as there is enough red in the brick, and I really didn’t want to debate myself on the topic, so I didn’t make a fuss.

My first sip of The Summer Jazz, for some reason, and for a quick second; it reminded me of my Mom’s Kool-Aid, as it pooled on my tongue. And who knows, maybe my Mother put a little vodka in her version, because I always felt relaxed afterwards. As the sip rolled off, I finally got that sensation that this is a vodka drink, flavored this time, as the blueberry hit, followed by the bitterness of the lemon juice, then the sweetness of the watermelon, with the tail end switching back to bitter from the watermelon influence. There was so much going on with my taste buds, that I almost almost wanted to install a traffic light on my tongue because the sensations were moving this way and that so fast, that I wanted to stop so I could have a conversation.

After a few sips, I crushed the blueberries and squeezed the lemon wedge to add new dimensions of flavor to the concoction. The flavor profile did change, and it was like having two drinks for the price of one, with the intensity of the sweet and sour being ramped up. It’s an inclined, or hard summer punch, but still gentle enough for an uneventful drive home. I found it very refreshing, and I know it would be most welcomed on a hot sunny day, and again, especially with the downtown Conroe professionals, the Summer Jazz would be the right drink to take off the edge of a hard day at the office.

Each sip of The Summer Jazz offers new possibilities for what the season has to offer. It made me think of that time, when I seriously considered matrimony, and how much poorer and unretired I would be, should I have gone through the prospect. I’m a lot more mature now, and ready for that serious commitment, should someone want to go down to Galveston for lunch, or accompany me to one of my play or musical reviews.

I’d definitely encourage a trip to The Red Brick Tavern. The Summer Jazz, thankfully not Soviet made, for I don’t think they’d have had the creativity; but it will bring a sort of peace, a calm over you. You will appreciate the fruity and refreshing sensations that will tantalize your palate asking for more. So the next time you have an inch to view some red brick walls and a rounded bar, head on down to Conroe’s Switch, for The Red Brick Tavern, and The Summer Jazz, are waiting for you.

Alcohol Disclaimer: This column is intended for entertainment purposes only. Please drink responsibly, not just for yourself, but for others around you.

The Red Brick Tavern is located at 119 Simonton Street in Conroe’s Switch. Their website is: the

Ruben can be reached at:

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