11 New Cocktails to Drink in Bars Now: March 2016

Contributed by

Garden Party at Indianapolis’ Spoke & Steele

Spring is just around the corner, and this March bartenders are moving toward new, refreshing cocktails best enjoyed on a warm day.

1. The Watercourse Way (Columbia Room, Washington, D.C.)

This rich, aromatic cocktail with its bergamot-infused honey syrup and sandalwood powder was inspired by incense. But thanks to its mix of Japanese whisky, medium sherry, lime juice and egg white, it finishes fresh and light—perfect for a warm, breezy March day.

2. Elvis Presley (Bottle & Barlow, Sacramento, Calif.)

A cocktail ode to the King is always a good idea, especially when it’s a Daiquiri incorporating the flavors of his favorite sandwich. Here the creamy sweetness of banana and peanut butter honey balance the lime, and the white rum drink finishes with the mouthwatering heat of the cayenne.

3. Cold Brewed Dude (Okra, Phoenix)

image: MMPR Marketing

For those open to new flavor possibilities, the big statements of Tapatio Reposado tequila and Cartel cold-brew coffee here are highlighted by the pineapple syrup. Dashes of salted cacao bitters accentuate the agave spirit’s earthy richness.

4. The Scorpion & Squid (Barrio, Seattle)

Think: squid ink margarita with the bitterness of Meletti amaro and herbaceousness of blanc vermouth. The squid ink not only gives the cocktail its striking color but a salinity that complements the salty edge of the blanco tequila and rounds out the drink at the end. It has a great texture and is deceptively quaffable.

5. Raisinet (Drumbar, Chicago)

Like the other cocktails on Drumbar’s new Candy Shoppe menu, the Raisinet is a variation of a classic. This Daiquiri, however, showcases the flavor components of that popular movie theater treat with the acid from the lime juice standing up to the sweetness of the Ron Zacapa 23 and house-made raisin brown syrup.

6. John and Leonie Circumnavigate the Globe (Café ArtScience, Cambridge, Mass.)

Unlike most Tiki cocktails, the John and Leonie’s vessel doesn’t steal the show. The vertical lines of the banana leaf visible through the clear Tiki mug give a sense of motion and texture, making the drink appear to rise out of the glass like a volcano. The well-balanced drink plays the Angostura 7 rum and Appleton 12 rum off one another, and the black tea and clarified lime juice dry out the drink and the orgeat and cherry heering sweeten it.

7. The Living Daylights (Melrose Umbrella Co., Los Angeles)

The Living Daylights is an ode to Pimm’s and tea time with a black tea dryness and a long finish courtesy of the raspberry-infused scotch. The mist of Islay scotch sprayed on top maintains the cocktail’s potency, and the mint leaves in the tea bag release refreshing notes over time.

8. Bullfights on Acid (Presidio, Chicago)

image: DLM Photography & Design

Barman Sam Lyden wanted to create a complex low-ABV cocktail that drinks like a soda. His Bullfights on Acid succeeds, possessing a rich grape and berry flavor from the sloe gin and spiced raspberry, and the Cardenal Mendoza Spanish brandy brings in raisin and molasses notes. Acid phosphate bumps up the tart elements of the berry flavors and adds a tingling sourness for a balanced cocktail.

9. Bunny Hill (The Spare Room, Los Angeles)

image: Caroline Pardilla

There should always be a cookie drink on the menu, according to bar director Yael Vengroff and bartender Eric Bugosh. And the pair’s new cookie-loving cocktail, the Bunny Hill, is a gin-Julep-style drink paired with a buttery shortbread cookie garnish that complements the light citrus of the lemon curd. The cocktail—made with Beefeater gin, Dolin blanc vermouth, lemon curd, lemon juice and muddled orange and sage—tastes like an herbal, lemon meringue pie. It even has the same creamy, citrusy mouthfeel.

10. Chinatown Suckerpunch (15 Romolo, San Francisco)

With an eye toward spring, the Chinatown Suckerpunch bourbon cocktail showcases floral flavors and aromas in a dark, bittersweet context. The Malmsey Madeira and Amer Picon bitters have contrasting yet harmonious flavors, and the quince “sweet and sour,” highlights the base spirits—as does the Bitter Girl bitter rose bitters, which are sprayed over the cocktail with an atomizer.

11. Garden Party (Spoke & Steele, Indianapolis)

Spoke & Steele is celebrating the approach of spring with a vegetable-garden-inspired drink that allows guests to not only eat veggies that pair with it but add a pipette of fresh tomato water to taste. The Garden Party cocktail combines gin and Americano vermouth—which are vacuum-infused together with green pepper, cucumber and tomato—with a house-made garden shrub, celery shrub bitters and simple syrup. The drink is then served up in a small mason jar filled with vegetables. Thumper approved.

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