Distilled, photo by Noah Fecks
Shaking and stirring may just become passé thanks to a new breed of pre-mixed and bottled drinks. Forget those ultra-sweet, mass-produced vodka coolers; we’re talking about small-batch, artisan libations created by the industry’s best bartenders and served exclusively in their lounges.
Distilled, New York
This Tribeca spot does things a bit differently, from serving its wings with blue cheese and gochujang (a Korean condiment), to offering bottled cocktails and mead by the glass. Combine these two bar staples and you’ve got the Mead Americano, a bottled blend of Carrol’s Mead, gin, Aperol and grapefruit bitters. It’s charged with CO2 in-house to help its deliciousness go straight to your head.
BDK Restaurant & Bar, San Francisco
Table service in San Francisco? With bottled cocktails? Yep, you’ll feel like a V.I.P. when the 750-mL bottle arrives, served on ice in a bucket with lemon wheels and mint. The Seasonal Punch cocktail is a light and refreshing mix of bourbon, manzanilla sherry, white peach tea, honey and bitters; it’s like a bourbon sangria, meant to be shared with friends.
Pub 1842 by Michael Mina, Las Vegas
One of the most popular cocktails on this bar’s list is the Cosmo in a Bottle, a fizzy take on the Cosmopolitan that bottles vodka with Aperol and St. Germaine (instead of Cointreau). It may feel strange sipping a bubbly pink drink in a pub on the Strip, but you’re inside the MGM Grand in Vegas, baby, so anything is possible!
The bottled cocktails at this Queen Street West hot spot are aged for a minimum of six months—the time it takes for flavour profiles to mature and integrate in the bottle, says bar chef Frankie Solarik. Aged one year, the Symphony #5 is a harmonious blend of London dry gin, vanilla-infused brandy, rosemary syrup, dill bitters and green Chartreuse, with an orange-blossom-water bottle rinse.
West Restaurant, Vancouver
This popular South Granville watering hole will always have an arsenal of bottled cocktails available. Bartender David Wolowidnyk loves them because bottling allows for the “homogenization of flavours, over time.” Try the Barrel Martinez, which combines Broker’s gin, Punt e Mes vermouth, maraschino liqueur and orange bitters aged in a marsala-conditioned barrel for a hint of nuttiness.
Where to Sip Sake Cocktails, and the Recipe for Masa Shiroki’s Osake Sunrise
In North America, sake (a Japanese rice wine) is popping up on menus as a wine option, or in cocktails as an ingredient that adds an exotic flair. Sip it in creative cocktails at Foreign Concept in Calgary, at UnderBelly in San Diego or at Sunda New Asian in Chicago.
Three Places to Drink a Piña Colada
The piña colada was created in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico and became popular around the world. While too-sweet versions fell from favour in the 1980s, today craft bartenders are using fresh ingredients to revive the drink. Here are three to try at Hula Grill Kaanapali in Maui, Miss Thing's in Toronto and Bootlegger Tiki Bar in Palm Springs.