Our 10 Best Cocktails to Drink Now
For the past couple of years, The Daily Shot, FitR's inappropriately named weekly cocktail feature, has scoured the city for the tastiest cocktails it could find. Straight up, on the rocks, with a twist, rimmed, and even on fire. You name it: We've knocked it back. Nowadays, it seems like a new bar opens every other week, with a brand-new cocktail list that begs to be explored. It's hard to keep up, but we try our best. We've had our fair share of pleasant sippers this year. These are 10 knockouts we've had in the past few months.
10. Blue Collar at Silver Lining ($14): Rye, amaro, sweet vermouth, dash of maraschino, and orange bitters. Dark and stirred and served up has always been up our alley. The Blue Collar is a "new classic," invented at Sasha Petraske's Milk & Honey and served at his jazzy new Silver Lining. It's a moody drink for a softly candlelit atmosphere. 75 Murray Street, Tribeca, 212-513-1234
9. Eureka at Bathtub Gin ($14): You don't see enough sloe gin around these days. This concoction of Plymouth sloe gin, Laird's applejack, Hidalgo fino sherry, cane syrup, and lemon juice, shaken and served up, is tart and refreshing, yet drier than you'd expect, with a hint of nuttiness thanks to the sherry. 132 Ninth Avenue, Chelsea, 646-559-1671
8: Via Vero at Weather Up ($14): Añejo rum, pear liqueur, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, and Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters make for a bitter and spicy, slightly herbaceous sipper. Translating as "the true way," Via Vero certainly feels like the right path when you're drinking it. 159 Duane, Tribeca, 212-766-3206
7. Italian Diplomat at Jones Wood Foundry ($10): Who says that you need a liquor license to serve great cocktails? In some cases, a beer-and-wine license will do. This twist on a classic Diplomat is made with Cardamaro Amaro, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, and Dolin dry vermouth, stirred and served up. It's a little sharper than the original, which can sometimes be too sweet, and lower in alcohol than a typical cocktail because it contains no hard alcohol. So, have two, why don't you. 401 East 76th Street, Upper East Side, 212-249-2700
6. Poet's Dream at Lantern's Keep ($14): We can't decide if we ordered this for its pretty name or its pretty glass. Orange bitters, gin, dry vermouth, and Benedictine, stirred and served up, gives off enchanting, nostalgic notes of herbs and flowers and citrus peel. All very inspiring. Don't be shy to ask the bartender for a napkin to jot down a musing or two. The Iroquois Hotel, 49 West 44th Street, 212-453-4287
5. Absinthe Frappe at Maison Premiere ($12): OK, so this one isn't for everyone. For some, the aniseed perfume of absinthe is awful. For others, it's a floral, licorice treat. Pernod 68, sugar, pebble ice, and water, served at a glacial temperature, transports you to some Alpine forest. Sip it with $1 raw oysters at happy hour. 298 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, 347-335-0446 4. Alpine Afternoon at Amor y Amargo ($12): Speaking of Alpine chalets, this mixture of Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur, Becherovka, Killepitsch, Angostura Bitters, and Bittermens Boston Bittahs evokes après-ski at a Swiss chalet. The Zirbenz, made from the fruit of young pinecones, combined with the orange and clove of the Becherovka, is like Christmas in a glass. 443 East 6th Street, East Village
3. Brush of the Bush at Jbird ($16): Cocktails are so often sweet. We were enchanted with this mildly saline and smoky blend of añejo tequila, mezcal, sage agave nectar, and cherry bark and vanilla bitters, served on the rocks. Light and refreshing, yet complex, its herbaceous and floral notes recall the desert. It's a drink that takes you by surprise, especially if you were expecting tequila plus mezcal to equal nasty bite. 251 West 48th Street, 212-956-1300
2. Barrel-Aged Manhattan at the Beagle ($14): Yes, yes. Barrel-aged cocktails are soooo trendy nowadays. Well, despite the gimmick of it all, we are hooked on this one. It might seem counterintuitive to start with unaged whiskey -- Buffalo Trace White Dog, plus sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters -- then put it in a barrel until it matures. But baked fruit and yeast notes of the white dog come through nicely. Plus, the vermouth and bitters get aged, too, resulting in a complex mouthful with hints of spice and caramel. 162 Avenue A, East Village, 212-228-6900
1. Pisco Sour at La Mar Cebicheria ($12): Surprised? So were we the first time we had a pisco sour at La Mar. There's nothing like a well-made classic, and this concoction of pisco quebranta, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, and regional bitters has been blowing people's minds in La Mar locations around the world long before it ever came to New York. Pisco sour is done better here than just about anywhere -- foamy and rich, beautifully complex and balanced. Sweet-tart, deeply perfumed. A pisco sour to end all pisco sours. 11 Madison Avenue, Madison Square Park, 212-612-3388
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