To most New Yorkers, it means a cherry-tinged treat. To many New Englanders, it's a fizzy raspberry soda. For the purist, it's all about the lime—and only the lime. One thing's certain: The lime rickey is the soda fountain's comeback kid.
The best comforts transcend seasons: a soft scarf, pie a la mode, a good Bloody Mary. At Mayahuel in New York's East Village, the warm-spiced Black Star is one such year-round pleasure. "This became part of what I called my Indian Winter menu," says Philip Ward, co-owner and bartender, who added the Black Star to the menu as spring started to creep in. "We've been selling the bejesus out of it."
In this smoky variation on the Fancy Free, Mayhuel's Philip Ward replaces bourbon with one part Irish whiskey and one part mezcal. Instead of maraschino, spicy Benedictine gets in on the action.
Sometimes the popular thing isn't the lowest common denominator; it's just really, really good. Take the Green Gloves cocktail at Mayahuel in New York's East Village. "People go bonkers for this one," says co-owner and bartender Philip Ward. "We must go through over a case of jalapeño-infused tequila in a week."
"This one's a good introductory bitter cocktail and a good introductory boozy cocktail," says Philip Ward, co-owner and bartender of East Village tequila and mezcal palace Mayahuel. "It's bitter and boozy, yet gentle in both ways." The Rosa Amargo, a creation of Mayahuel bartender Jeremy Oertel, is a smoky, grapefruit-tinged Negroni variation, served up.
Notes of apples and nuts find their way into this belly-warming, home-spun take on an Old Fashioned from Raines Law Room in NYC. Here's how to mix it up at home.
"I was looking through older cocktail books, and saw a Wild Redhead, which had an awesome name but it was a really boring drink—just Cherry Heering and lemon juice," recalls Meaghan Dorman, the (red)head bartender at New York's Raines Law Room. She spiced it up with some allspice dram and blended Scotch, and the Wildest Redhead was born.
Raines Law Room's modern take on the Savoy original calls on Cocchi Americano, with its spine of quinine. "It dries out your cheeks a little," notes Meaghan Dorman, giving hers a surprisingly illustrative suck. Dorman showed us how to make this tasty cocktail at home.
Something about the Tequila Sunrise is lost in translation to real, snow-dusted life. North of Mexico, that mellow buzz goes directly to heartburn hangover, buttressed by whiffs of 9 a.m. Brown Bag Sunrise on the G train. For a softer way to enter the day, New York's Rouge Tomate offers the Velvet Sunrise. This spirit-free cocktail is a citrusy beta-carotene booster.
At Raines Law Room in New York, Meaghan Dorman layers in spice and earth to the Paloma—a Mexican standby made with grapefruit, soda (or grapefruit soda) and tequila—by way of jalapeño agave syrup and celery bitters, which pick up the vegetal flavors in good tequila.
The sweet root vegetable, pomegranate, and clementine are this juice's power trio. When beets are at their sweetest, no agave addition is necessary: this stuff is fruity and delicious, crowned with an optional layer of pomegranate foam.
For a cold-weather, hangover-clearing elixir, Rouge Tomate head bartender Cristian Molina whips up an alcohol-free Winter Citrus Punch. "The citrus is just amazing right now," who waxes especially poetic about clementine juice.
The Amber Palmer from Rouge Tomate in New York City is a loose, seasonal interpretation of the classic mix of lemonade and tea. This liquor-free sparkler is a refreshingly tangy, complex alternative to a simple iced tea or a sweet Arnold Palmer, and it's easy to make at home.
Jeff Bell, the head bartender at PDT in New York's East Village, knew that whiskey was the way to bring out the essence of Momofuku Milk Bar's cereal milk.
There's no sweeter remedy for chilled bones than a steamy cup of spiked cider. PDT's winter warmer is a carol to the wassail, a ceremonial, cider-based beverage mulled with citrus and spice.
With visions of sugarplums dancing in his head, PDT owner Jim Meehan pulled out a bottle of Damson gin liqueur and starting tinkering. Damson plums—the spiciest and most tart variety of the fruit—often ripen in early September, just in time to be macerated into a liquid holiday treat. Made in the Finger Lakes, Averell's Damson Gin is an American take on the classic British liqueur. A combination of fresh damson juice, gin and sugar, it's like the less bitter cousin of sloe gin.
Catch the Gingerbread Man in liquid form in this delightful cocktail. Jim Meehan's take on the classic cookie has sugar and spice and a blended rum that's seven-islands' nice.
Get your holiday spirits on ice with this tart and festive gin-forward take on the Sherry Cobbler from Michael Madrusan and Jim Meehan of New York's PDT.
James Lombardino of 1534 in NYC wonders if the right combination of gin, mango, and allspice liqueur might have granted Gauguin a few more years in the tropics. This bright yellow cocktail is the perfect cure for grey sky blues.
This winter, drink away the chill factor with the Gypsy Woman. This breezy nomad channels springtime by way of jasmine green tea-infused gin with fresh lime juice, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and yellow Chartreuse.
Sometimes, an adaptation is a sad thing. Other times, as with 1534's Wally Harbanger, it's a happy departure from the original. The Wally Harbanger holds little in common with its nominal muse, aside from a dyslexic take on its name, and the ingredient without which the Harvey Wallbanger would be a mere Screwdriver: Galliano.
"We wanted to introduce people to mezcal who haven't had it before," says 1534 bartender James Lombardino. "It's like bourbon and scotch. A lot of people like bourbon, but they're not accustomed to a smoky scotch; going from tequila to mezcal is kind of the same thing."
"I love Manhattan variations," says Beloved bar manager Rene Hidalgo. "It's a simple approach that has a lot of room to play around with." A little bit of boredom and a lot of home-bar tinkering led Hidalgo to this variation: rhum agricole, bourbon, vermouth and bitters.
In Beloved's signature buck, sweetened ginger juice brings a funky spice and milky mouthfeel, Navy strength rum kicks things up a notch, and bittersweet Cynar rounds it all out with an intriguing vegetal flavor.
Taste mezcal's softer side in the Allsorts Inc. For a change it's stone fruit spice, not chili smoke, that warms you in this agave-based cocktail.
At Beloved in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Rene Hidalgo swaps in St. Germain and Yellow Chartreuse in this refined riff on the classic Last Word cocktail. Here's how to make this easy (and delicious) drink at home.
When Pok Pok NY's Alex Mirkin is jonesing for something citrusy, he shakes up a Hunny. Though he likes to steer clear of references to the classics, once its vinegary froth settles, the Hunny's not a far cry from a margarita; a bittersweet margarita with a subtle X factor.