As spring finds its footing, bartenders brighten up their cocktails. Some drinks stay spirituous and silky, ideal for those lingering chilly nights or rainy days. Others go strong on citrus, chilies and berries. These are the 11 hottest cocktails served at bars and restaurants around the country this month.
Can't make it to any of the bars serving these great drinks in April? Try making the Sotolero from this list at home.
Detroit’s elegant steakhouse Prime + Proper is also a cocktail stop, thanks to beverage director and New Orleans transplant Jonathan Shock. Though light and frothy with egg white, hops, grapefruit and lemon, the Foraged Fizz is also savory and umami-rich with truffle-infused Citadelle gin and PX sherry. The umami aromatics of the truffle hit on the nose, while the nutty-sweet sherry adds layers to the hoppy citrus gin base.
Trick Dog’s creative cocktail menus continue to garner international attention every time it launches a new theme. The new year kicked off with a Trick Dog Airways airline safety card menu, with each drink named after an airport around the world, complete with airport map. The Stockholm ARN features Swedish Absolut Elyx vodka and Luxardo bitter bianco and Bénédictine liqueurs, then turns tropical, fruity, tart and smoky with coconut, oolong tea, strawberry and lemon, served over crushed ice.
This sunny booth-lined space turns out Cuban food and tropical cocktails, something you don’t see every day in British Columbia. Classic cocktails such as the Daiquiri and Mai Tai abound, but the real gems might just be the house drinks. The Electric Hot Tub showcases hop-infused Beefeater gin and absinthe with California white sage, lime, simple syrup and Peychaud’s bitters.
Test Pilot is a SoCal Tiki gem located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. Owners Brandon and Misty Ristaino honor California history with Trader Vic’s– and Don the Beachcomber–inspired classics alongside balanced house creations. A nod to New Orleans classic, the Absinthe Suissesse, the Suisse Family Robinson takes vodka and creamy coconut and adds to it a nutty, tart balance from PX sherry, orgeat and lime, then finishes it off with a whisper of absinthe.
Champagne bar Effervescence offers more than bubbles with its top-notch dishes. The Café Ole makes for the perfect after-dinner drink or bracing sipper on the back patio. Bold and silky with reposado tequila, Congregation cold-brew coffee, pecan, Cappelletti amaro sfumato and chocolate bitters, the drink is topped with Crémant de Bourgogne sparkling wine.
Industry vet Tobin Shea crafts drinks that keep pace with Redbird’s inspired brunch menu. While our favorite is his anise-heavy Ghost in the Glass cocktail, featuring Lebanese L'Arack de Musar, the Thai Ball wins for sheer beauty. Served in colorful Moroccan glasses, the cocktail is made with Altos Olmeca tequila and Rhum JM and mixed with a house-made pineapple shrub, makrut lime and Thai chilies.
Woolworth on 5th debuted last December in the former dining room of Nashville’s F. W. Woolworth department store, where people braved lunch counter sit-ins during the 1960s civil rights movement. The main dining room serves pimento-cheese-slathered corn cakes alongside cocktails like the dreamy clarified Baby Doll Milk Punch, lush with white and aged rum, cognac, pineapple, spices, milk and a coconut green chai.
Behind new lead bartender Candice Jae, Mosto boasts more than 200 tequilas, 200 mezcals and even a vegan pechuga mezcal flight. The Sotolero drinks like a Martini made with sotol (Mexico’s desert spoon plant spirit) rather than gin. It’s earthy green notes are highlighted by Lillet blanc apéritif, Salers gentiane and orange bitters.
Chicago cocktail trailblazer The Violet Hour recently turned 10, rolling out new drinks from head bartender and partner Toby Maloney and managing partner Eden Laurin. Taking inspiration from the classic Vieux Carré, the Snakes Take is boozy and luxurious with Plantation Original dark rum, R. Jelínek plum brandy, Carpano Antica Formula vermouth and walnut liqueur. The spirituous concoction alternates between dry, robust and fruity and is brightened by a splash of Apologue Aronia liqueur, an aronia berry superfruit liqueur produced locally in Chicago.
Broken Shaker sees its fair share of crowds and long waits on the weekends. But off-hours by the rooftop pool are more chill, and the cocktail menu is just as good. The O-Fish-Ally Open is easy drinking yet complex, made with Bobby’s Schiedam dry gin, blanc vermouth, California citrus cordial, organic miso and a dash of Pernod absinthe. The drink shimmers, like the L.A. skyline around it, with a glitter garnish and strips of nori.
Chef Brian Howard’s live-fire cooking draws crowds of regulars to Sparrow + Wolf in Vegas’ Chinatown. Lead bartender Sarah Gage and bartender Andrew Shumaker craft a cocktail menu that explores elements of wood and fire in drinks like the bold Burn the Witch. The silky, sweet yet spirituous drink features Daron calvados and Strega liqueur amped up with Om dark chocolate sea salt liqueur, cinnamon, absinthe and plum bitters.
Mixing your cocktail