With summer just around the corner, bars all over the country are already in a vacation state of mind. This month, the focus is on exotic ingredients delivered in bright thirst-quenching cocktails.
Who would have thought that crickets and worm salt would be the key to a tasty cocktail? Bartender Brittney Olsen wanted to introduce the traditional Mexican ingredients in an approachable way, so she used the insects in her Paloma variation. Aperol intensifies the grapefruit notes with hibiscus, infusing it with a hint of floral.
Pouring Ribbons’ new Silk Road–inspired menu features this standout cocktail. Created by bartender Amanda Elder, it combines the earthiness of Chinese pu-erh-tea-infused London dry gin with house-made American amaro, Lustau Oloroso sherry and just four drops of an aromatic Hong Kong baijiu.
The flavors of the Fines-herbes-infused vodka (blend of parsley, chive, tarragon and dill) in this summery swizzle are enhanced by the bright tartness of dry riesling and lemon juice. The result is savory, vegetal and tart, with the fresh asparagus garnish tying it all together.
What better way to celebrate the approach of the summer blockbusters than a Tiki cocktail featuring a house-made popcorn orgeat? The buttery orgeat lends a salty nuttiness to this indulgent cocktail, which also mixes in banana liqueur, dark crème de cacao, xocolatl mole bitters, spices and a hit of cayenne.
The color black isn’t normally associated with words like bright and refreshing, but this inky Daiquiri is. It gets its jet-black good looks from the activated charcoal added to the grassy cachaça that’s then shaken with lime juice and simple syrup and finished with a mist of saline.
This well-balanced drink of blanco tequila, lime and pineapple juices, and aloe vera liqueur invigorates and revives, with a smoked-paprika-dusted rim for the right amount of kick. It’s just what drinkers at this cocktail lounge and dance club need post-boogie.
Of course, a spring-break-inspired cocktail menu is going to include a take on the infamous Jungle Juice, the staple of college parties. But the crafty and playful variation at Planter’s House has all of the fun without any of the stomachache: a well-crafted drink of Plantation 3 Stars, Rhum Clement White, house-made Jungle liqueur, and lemon and lime juices.
Spring flowers inspire this drink, a simple mixture of gin, grapefruit juice, VSOP cognac, yellow chartreuse, absinthe and Peychaud’s bitters. For its striking indigo color, butterfly pea pod, which is a natural dye extracted from the buttery pea plant, is shaken in the cocktail, lightening the lower pH level.
With bikini season around the corner, thoughts are turning toward health. Fortunately, this new creation by Jason Eisner is made with a balsamic-vinegar-based strawberry mint shrub, which is not only great for the digestion but refreshing. The savory shrub works perfectly with this Margarita variation of tequila reposado, lime, rhubarb bitters and sea salt.
For an indulgent spring-summer cocktail with a hint of Southern charm, order up this peach-infused bourbon drink made with a creamy, sweet almond marzipan, a floral blanc vermouth and lemon. For further convincing, this beautifully well-balanced whiskey cocktail also comes with a house-made almond shortbread cookie.
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