Winter blues? Cabin fever? We’ve got the remedy for just about any cold weather ailment, thanks to our friends in NYC’s booming craft cocktail business. But first, a review of some of our very favorite establishments, new and old.
Where do we even begin? So much has happened in the past few years in terms of Manhattan’s cocktail scene. Speakeasies stood front and center, drawing novice and expert sippers alike to the likes of Little Branch and its shinier Midtown sister, Middle Branch, the Raines Law Room’s ever-expanding empire with newest additions Dear Irving and The Bennett, Attaboy with its stubborn no-menu policy…we could go on. While we don’t see the speakeasy vibe dying down anytime soon, it may be worth noting that we’re now seeing trends falling in favor of a truly excellent restaurant bar. It’s become imperative for any successful dining establishment in New York City and beyond to put forth a beverage program with attention to detail as precise as that of its kitchen, and the shift has not gone unnoticed. We’ve seen the old-school NYC favorites hold steady with their respectably simple yet serious cocktail menus (here’s looking at that Murray Sour, Minetta Tavern) and the new wave rival its predecessors, capturing a level of cocktailry both paying homage to tradition and pushing boundaries like never before. Michael White’s Vaucluse materialized on the Upper East Side, marrying his signature fine dining (this time French) with a veritable beverage program featuring exquisite cocktails in equally stunning glassware; ZZ’s continues to hold the gold standard for both creativity and presentation; The Clocktower opened with a bang, reshaping Flatiron’s cocktail culture and appealing to the fashion crowd with a taste for great libations. The common factor between old and new is now the cocktail hands down, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Check out our picks for NYC’s most notable cocktails of the season.