A Very High Bar: The 10 Best Cocktails in New York

Al Rodriguez Photography

Ten standout drinks in the city that pioneered modern mixology

Boulevardier, The Long Island Bar

Cobble Hill’s charmingly retro Long Island Bar, co-owned by Cosmo inventor Toby Cecchini, hits the mark for a low-key night out. The drink to order is the classic Boulevardier, which combines Campari, rye, and vermouth. Don’t be surprised if you spot some of NYC’s other celebrity barkeeps placing the same order. thelongislandbar.com

Buck Wild, Amor y Amargo

The eight-seat Amor y Amargo in the East Village is dedicated to bitters and amaro in all their complexity, offering drinks on a sliding scale of approachability. The uninitiated should order off the top of the menu—try the Buck Wild, with cherry-saffron bitters—or just trust the bartenders. amoryamargony.com


Courtesy Amor y Amargo

Green Bison, Suffolk Arms

In the first wave of the cocktail renaissance, back in the mid-aughts, vodka was taboo. Now the East Village’s Suffolk Arms is showing just how well this once scorned spirit can play with others. Try the Green Bison: bison-grass vodka, Granny Smith apple, and vanilla. suffolkarms.com

Frida Kahlo, Pouring Ribbons

A second-story bar in Alphabet City, Pouring Ribbons has perfected the conceptual-cocktail menu.Thecurrent theme is “Revolutionary Artists,” featuring the beguiling Frida Kahlo (mezcal, sherry, vermouth, strawberry-infused Aperol,
and black pepper). pouringribbons.com


William Aaron

Penichillin, Diamond Reef

The crowds that gathered when the Diamond Reef opened in Bed-Stuy last summer disappeared with the cold weather, paradoxically making winter the best time to soak up its Miami Vice vibe and sip a Penichillin, a slush made from Scotch, honey, ginger, and lemon juice. diamondreefnyc.com

Snap Pea, The Office NYC

The team behind Chicago’s hallowed experimental cocktail bar the Aviary just launched their first New York outpost, the Office NYC, in the Mandarin Oriental. Make a reservation, and order the Snap Pea (gin, Chartreuse, sherry, lime, fennel, soda), a drink as well put together as the clientele. theofficenyc.tocktix.com

Rum & Cola, Blacktail

Named the best new cocktail bar in America at this year’s Spirited Awards (the Oscars of booze), BlackTail brings the sultry glamour of ’20s Havana to otherwise unglamorous Battery Park City. Its twist on rum and Coke includes Fernet-Branca and Champagne—and it somehow works. blacktailnyc.com


David Williams

Porcelina, The Guthrie Inn

An oasis in the craft-cocktail desert that is East Harlem, the Guthrie Inn serves reverently re-created classics, addictive new creations, and one of the best playlists in town. Try the Porcelina, which cuts the sweetness of Cointreau with bitter orange marmalade. 1259 Park Ave.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Angel's Share

A hidden Japanese cocktail den that helped kick off the speakeasy fad, Angel’s Share in the East Village still feels like a secret. Among its most dramatic concoctions is the bourbon-based Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, which comes in a glass smoked with cinnamon and clove. 8 Stuyvesant St.

Old Kind Cole Martini, Maison Premiere

Most people here will be ordering absinthe and oysters, the twin specialties at this Williamsburg bar. But why not go full on with the Old King Cole Martini, paired with an optional serving of golden sturgeon caviar? maisonpremiere.com