It’s hot as hell outside, but that’s no reason to stay home! There are plenty of great local food events happening in Austin to distract you from the heat. Many are held in the sweet, sweet AC, or at least feature sweet, sweet cocktails to help keep you cool this summer. Here are five of my top picks for June and July.

Photo courtesy Midnight Cowboy Modeling

Photo courtesy Midnight Cowboy Modeling

Late Nite Tiki at Whisler’s– Sunday, June 23

As part of Texas Tiki Week, Whisler’s bartender Whitney Hobbs will be serving up tiki goodness with Brooke Arthur of Aviation Gin starting at 11 PM. Aviation is distilled in Portland, and I had the chance to meet their team at a liquor event in Seattle last week. The gin is very different from my mainstays Hendrick’s and Waterloo, I can’t wait to see how the bartenders transform the aromatic flavors into cooling, tiki concoctions. No tickets or reservations are required for this event, and I’m eager to check out the hipster-happy Whisler’s, which opened on the east side in May.

Bou-Tiki Night at Bar Congress & Midnight Cowboy– Wednesday, June 26

Another installment of Texas Tiki Week, Bou-Tiki Night is an excuse to hit two of Austin’s swankiest cocktail bars on a weeknight. I’m most excited about the second half of the evening: bartender Mindy Kucan, formerly of Austin’s East Side Showroom and the Anvil in Houston, will be showcased at Austin’s best downtown cocktail spot, Midnight Cowboy. As always, reservations are required at the tiny cocktail bar, but it’s oh-so-worth-it to plan ahead for their impeccably crafted drinks.

Photo courtesy Austin Food Blogger Alliance

Photo courtesy Austin Food Blogger Alliance

Cupcakes and Cocktails– Friday, July 19

This is the second annual Cupcakes and Cocktails fundraiser by the Austin Food Blogger Alliance. (I’m the President of this group!) As last year, the event will pair local sweets and sips from the likes of Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop, SugaPlump Pastries, Swift’s Attic, Delish, Crema Bakery and Cafe, Graham Barnes Distilling, T1 Tequila, and Hops and Grain. Funds raised at the event will benefitting the ARC of the Capital Area, a nonprofit that helps improve the quality of life for intellectually and developmentally disabled people in Austin through classes, advocacy, and other support. Tickets to the event are just $35, which leaves plenty of dough for the silent auction! The party is Friday, July 19, from 6-9 PM at Le Cordon Bleu Austin at the Domain.

Slow Food Austin Grub Trivia– Sunday, July 21

Slow Food Austin has revamped their annual food quiz event and this year’s fundraiser looks to be better than ever. Teams of up to six people will compete a foodie-themed pub trivia game emceed by Chef Josh Watkins. Anyone can come watch and enjoy the “Grub Crawl” of tastings with happy hour-priced drinks available at the bar. The organizers promise “a raucous halftime show with a hog butchering demo and live auction of the cuts.” Teams can sign up to compete for $180, and individual spectator tickets are $25. The trivia is happening from noon-4 PM on Sunday, July 21 at Shoal Crossing Event Center in north Austin.

Round Rock Honey

Photo courtesy Round Rock Honey Beekeeping Academy

Round Rock Honey Beekeeping Academy– Saturdays, July 6 and 27

Round Rock Honey owner and beekeeper Konrad Bouffard has been teaching apiculture classes since 2007, and this summer he is offering an expanded schedule of beginning classes. He’ll provide the bee suits and the hive– you show up and learn how to build your own hive and harvest the honey. Tickets to the three-hour classes cost $125 and are being held in Round Rock at 10 AM and 2 PM July 6 and 27, and August 10 and 31.