While I do enjoy microbrews and good wine my first love when it comes to drinks is the cocktail. I love old standards like sidecars, brandy alexanders, and gimlets, but the great thing about living in NYC is the access to mixology bars and speakeasies. They are great venues to try more unusual spirit combinations. Here are a few of my favorites:
67 Orange Street: Aside from loving that this Harlem speakeasy is in walking distance of my apartment I love the ambiance of this bar. Cloaked in deep red curtains this bar ushers you back to Harlem’s heyday in the jazz era. The cocktail lists are arranged by spirits. My personal favorites are Color Purple (gin, lavender bitters, blackberries, creme de violette, st germaine, lemon, and simple syrup), Smoking Geisha (mezcal, bitters, lime juice, raspberry, peach, sage, and agave), and April Flowers (benedictine, scarlet ibis, lemon, agave, and sparkling wine). The food menu is small, but you’ll love the updated twists on soul food such as red velvet chicken and waffles and lobster mac and cheese.
Bathtub Gin: If you want to experienced the romanticized version of a speak easy then head to this Chelsea bar hidden behind an operating coffee shop. Certain evenings they have live jazz and there is burlesque brunch on the weekends. Even if you go on a night sans entertainment the cocktails won’t disappoint you. You’ll feel like a Bond Girl with their Vesper Martini. I also enjoy their Jazz Saz which is an update on the classic sazerac.
Gallow Green: This is one of the few venues that combines mixology with the outdoors. This rooftop bar in Chelsea is a great place to cool down on a hot summer night. The house cocktail, The Sleep No More is mezcal, shrub, and ginger beer.
Little Branch: This Village speakeasy is so secretive that they don’t have a website. Don’t let that fool you though, this bar is usually bustling by late night. One of the best bar tender’s choice experiences I had was when the bar tender asked me what my spirit animal was instead of my spirit of choice.
Orient Express: I recently introduced a friend to this West Village bar, and that visit is what inspired this post. I love this little tucked away gem. The cocktails are amazing and you can also enjoy several absinthe drips if that’s more your style. The menu has plenty of small bites that are perfect for sharing.