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Restaurants amp up the cocktail experience, for dine-in guests and off-premise, amid the COVID pandemic and new alcohol to-go laws across the country

Meet this year’s Best Cocktails winners from Restaurant Hospitality

It has been a terrible year for bar operators, with many shuttered by the pandemic. But Americans need a drink now more than ever, and restaurants and bars are meeting that need with creative flair — and often with a to-go option.

Submissions this year indicate certain trends: The smoking of cocktails and the addition of aromatic elements remains hugely popular, as do theatrical presentations at the table. We saw cerebral adaptations of classics to please aficionados of ingredients like rye whiskey and cocktails that tapped umami flavors of India. We saw cocktails served in glasses with octopus tentacles and in terrariums.

And we saw cocktails that perfectly captured 2020 with a “Tiger King” theme in a growler jug for delivery to be shared within guests’ pandemic pod.

Here are the 10 Best Cocktails of 2020.

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