You can find bars, pubs, taverns, and speakeasies on every corner in New York City, and with this great abundance of choices, you could easily explore a new happy hour each day. Luckily, we’ve done all the dirty work for you. Here, we profile 10 unmissable signature cocktails in New York.
The Manhattan at the Joe Allen Restaurant
Folklore says this whiskey cocktail was first created at the Manhattan Club in 1870, although other variations were concocted throughout the Manhattan region. Joe Allen Restaurant has been open in the Theater District since the 1960s, and continues to be a great spot for pre or post-show drinks. Catering to theater-goers and other patrons, this bustling venue is ideal for happy hour, and their Manhattan is a perfect version of this standard.
Time to take your medicine! The ‘Penicillin’ was created in 2005 by mixologist Sam Ross from Milk and Honey, who combined Scotch with honey, lime, and ginger to create a memorable beverage. Although Milk and Honey closed in 2012, baratenders Ross and McIlroy reopened it the following year under the new name, Attaboy – a speakeasy-style spot mixing up creative concoctions alongside classic cocktails.
Martinis at Smoke Jazz Bar
In true Mad Men style, New York businessmen established the three-martini lunch, so New York City is the perfect spot to enjoy this iconic American cocktail. Smoke, an intimate space for live jazz music, fosters the perfect atmosphere in which to indulge in their signature pepper-infused vodka martini with blue cheese-stuffed olives.
The Classic Old Fashioned at Rye Restaurant
Leave the hustle and bustle of Manhattan behind and head to this neighborhood spot in Brooklyn to whet your whiskey whistle with an Old Fashioned at Rye Restaurant. Serving up delicious, no-nonsense food and drinks, Rye is a great local bar and restaurant, and their Old Fashioned will have you returning time and time again.
A Cognac at The Brandy Library
Not your typical study hall spot, this library is stocked with hard-to-find spirits alongside your favorite classic cocktails. The Brandy Library exhibits rare brandy and whiskey bottles lining the shelves like rows of reference books. It’s a perfect spot to sneak away for a nightcap or to brush up on your knowledge by attending their ‘Spirit School.’
The ‘Red Snapper’ at The King Cole
A New York City weekend staple, brunch wouldn’t be complete without a Bloody Mary at the table. Originally named The Red Snapper, King Cole is where this drink was envisioned, so head straight to the source for an authentic New York brunch. This isn’t your typical diner Bloody Mary; these morning tipples are $23 a glass, but are certainly worth each penny. Put on your Sunday best and pull up a seat at the bar. Be sure to take a look at the stunning mural – it’s a massive, original Maxfield Parrish.
A Cranberry Daiquiri at Gramercy Tavern
A twist on the beachy classic, the tartness of the fresh cranberry makes for a unique and tasty interpretation of the sweet and fruity original. Much like their food menu, Gramercy Tavern changes their specialty cocktails seasonally, so come often to taste what’s new. They’re located in the Flatiron District, so make this a mid-day stop on your iconic New York City architecture tour.
Margaritas at Pulqueria
Don’t wait for Cinco de Mayo to roll around – you can get your tequila fix any day of the year at Pulqueria. This restaurant serves up authentic Mexican food and drinks inspired by the culture of Mexico City. Pulqueria’s atmosphere is vibrant and fun, so if you are feeling adventurous, break free from the ordinary and taste their ‘Pulque,’ an agave-based drink dubbed ‘the nectar of the gods.’
Just about anything at The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog
The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog has been voted the ‘Best bar in the world,’ and when it comes to a craft cocktail, they mean business. The cocktail menu isn’t a piece of paper with a drinks list – it’s a complete, bound book that is categorized by shaken versus stirred cocktails alongside seasonal suggestions. It’s a spot to squeeze in with rest of the group and have a few rounds until you find your favorites. They also have a dry goods grocery as well as their taproom or parlor, and the pub fare is a tasty as their drinks.