People here (NYC) aren’t really deprived of a good drink. But from time-to-time you can come across a bad bar or overpriced dilluted drink. From my experience (and of course a little help from older, cooler siblings), I’ve narrowed down a few places that I think serve good drinks, and drinks that are worth the price tag. Some of my picks are not even in the city- btw!
Oh, and most of the cocktails below contain Gin, Sake or Wine, which are relatively low in calories and not too bad for you (if you don’t go binge drinking that is!). Also, if you’re out for a night and want to have fun, but not take in a ridiculous amount of empty calories, try a Gin & Diet Tonic with a squeeze of lime, Stoli Vodka & Seltzer with a slice of orange or a glass of wine, of course.
1. Rye House11 West 17th Street New York, NY I was introduced to this bar/restaurant by my brother-in-law who, I can confidently say, knows his wines, whiskeys and bourbons. I am definitely a girly-girl when it comes to choosing an alcoholic beverage. I usually ask the waiter, “Which of these cocktails is the sweetest?” or “Can that be made sweeter?” or my eyes are automatically directed towards the drinks with “sugared-rims” or agave nectar. Yes, the drinks I drink are usually more sugar then alcohol, but I really can’t get myself to sacrifice taste just for alcohol!
Anyways, my bro-in-law told me that I HAD to try their ‘Darling’ Cocktail, which consists of bourbon and cognac: (I wish I took a picture, it was so pretty!)
Bulleit Bourbon, Cognac, Cinnamon Bark, Honey, Bitters
The minute I heard those to spirits I was like HELL NO. But he insisted that it’s very good, and my sister was chiming in her 2 cents as well, haha. So I gave in and tried it. Let me just say- it tastes like honey-scented, beautifully woodsy nectar, aka it was sooo good!
I recently went to this highly acclaimed raw, vegan restaurant. I was looking forward to it, because though I am not vegan, nor do I eat raw foods, I was interested in tasting a whole meal that has been prepared using temperatures below 118 degrees, and with ingredients that basically remained in their natural state. While the food was rather disappointing (I’ll be discussing that in another post), the drinks were very good/impressive. All of their cocktails are made with sake, because its natural and pure, and it tasted really good (it helps that I like sake in general and prefer to drink it over other spirits). I ordered a Pure Mojito:Pure Mojito – fresh mint, lime juice, sake, splash of cava
The mojito started off with fresh mint, lime and lime juice crushed together and topped with sake, cava and agave nectar (of course I asked for a bit more since I have an unreasonable sweet tooth!). It was light, refreshing and sweet and definitely was not drowning in alcohol! This was one item on the menu that I would spend a pretty penny for. Plus the restaurant has a great atmosphere to meet up with friends and grab a drink (or two) and relax! I thouroughly enjoyed the cocktails at the restaurant.
I went to this restaurant during February Winter Restaurant Week, and already wrote an extensive review on the food & beverage at this upscale, central park Manhattan eatery. But I’m writing this to re-emphasize how good their cocktail was, and one drink lasted through the whole meal! I was savoring each sip of my Strawberry Field Caiparinha:STRAWBERRY FIELDS CAIPARINHA
cachaca rum, strawberry-basil puree, fresh lime juice
The combination of fresh strawberries and herby-sweet basil was refreshing and different. I’m generally a fan of rum (cause it’s sweet, obviously), so when the bartender recommended this drink, I was all for it. It reminded me of the Costa Brava, Spain- salty breeze of the Mediterranean and warmth of the Spanish sun.
(Pictures from when my friends & I studied abroad- stolen from my friend who has one of those fancy cameras)
South Gate has a bar/tavern section just for having drinks and light snacks- perfect to have the strawberry fields caiparinha.
Atlantic City, NJ This is obviously not located in the city, but it must be noted for the amazing Sake Sangria. No, I do not like to gamble, nor do I frequent casinos. However, my parents do like to, so I just mooch off of their Borgata Black Card member deals, like staying in free rooms, and dining for free at fancy restaurants (this behavior is justified while I still live under their roof!!). Anyways, I was there with some girlfriends, and luckily, we all have similar tastes in drinks. We ordered a pitcher of Sake Sangria:
Sake Sangria Sake, Gruener Veltliner, Shōchū, Tropical Fruit, Lemongrass, Ginger
Sweet sake sangria filled with fruits such as pinnapple, Japanese pear (which looked like canadian bacon and I freaked out), and oranges. It was really good- it practically tasted like juice, which can be a good and bad thing haha. We were all thouroughly satisfied with it and it was a great start to our AC weekend! It’s not a manly beverage, but I’m sure no dude would be complaining if he had a glass of this!
5. Carmen’s750 Barclay Avenue
Staten Island, NY
Now while we’re on the to of sangria, I must say the best traditional sangria I’ve had is right here in good ole’ Staten Island, at a very popular authentic Spanish restuarant called Carmen’s.Red or White Sangria
You can order a pitcher or just a glass, but with such good prices and taste, one glass is definitely not enough! It’s simple- made with red wine and club soda, juice and packed with fresh fruits. It’s so simple, yet so tasty! It’s also conveniently located right next to my house on the water (on the Raritan Bay to be exact), and while you’re sipping your yummy sangria, you can hear the waves crashing and look onto beautiful.. well.. beautiful New Jersey! Haha.. it’s the pretty part though- Sandy Hook, NJ.