Cutting-edge cuisine deserves compatible cocktails. If your bar customers are saying surprise me with your creativity, tempt me with luxury, or pamper me with fresh local ingredients, these cocktail ideas are for you.
1. Focus on housemade teas and tinctures
Bartender Alan Walter of Loa in New Orleans draws on the soul of the city to imbue cocktails with flavors from local ingredients. From local produce, he creates his own syrups, tinctures and teas. He offers an authentic taste of place with craft cocktails such as the Wild Birdseed Old Fashioned, with Evan Williams Single Barrel bourbon, Loa’s toasted wild birdseed syrup, grapefruit peel and mole bitters.
2. Introduce unexpected savory notes
At Jardenea Lounge, Melrose Georgetown Hotel, Washington DC, cocktails feature smoky, savory or salty notes. Priced at $14, eclectic flavor infusions include squid ink, balsamic vinegar and quinoa juice. The Black Mamba, for example, incorporates Stolichnaya Vodka, squid ink and housemade beef bouillon Bloody Mary Mix.
4. Go with the grain
The Peruvian-influenced Quinoa Pisco Sour at Jardenea Lounge starts with La Diablada Pisco, with a boost from quinoa juice, lemon juice, egg whites and blood orange bitters.
3. Create robustly refreshing drinks
Also at Jardenea Lounge, the Figaro is a mix of Kraken Black Spiced Rum, homemade fig puree, lemon juice and aged balsamic vinegar.
5. Combine playfulness with flavor
Aliza J. Sokolow
Chef Patrick Florendo’s new culinary approach at 41 Ocean in Santa Monica features a Southern California note for food and drink. Playful dishes include Rhubarb Burrata Shortcake made with ciabatta, while signature cocktails range from Whispers at Midnight (with Ciroc Vodka, blackberry, citrus and St. Germain foam) to the Smoked Old Fashioned.
6. Add an edge to seasonality
At Lucy Restaurant and Bar in Bardessono Hotel and Spa in Yountville, CA, the $14 spring specialty cocktails highlight locally sourced ingredients. The Wild Hare is a combination of El Jimador Tequila, Xicaru Mezcal, agave, lemon and carrot juices.
7. Splash tea time into cocktail hour
Another seasonal cocktail at Lucy is the Layover in London, made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Geijer Glogg liqueur, lemon juice, rooibos tea simple syrup and teapot bitters.