Sip Happy Travels
By Erin Z. Bass
This list is inspired by the professional bartenders, mixologists and brand ambassadors from around the world that I met during Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, Louisiana in July.
The American Bar
Savoy Hotel, London
Regarded as one of the world’s best hotel bars, The American is also known for its legendary bartender Harry Craddock, who created home bar staple “The Savoy Cocktail Book.” With roots in The Golden Age of cocktails, this bar remains relevant by honoring classic cocktails like the Corpse Reviver, Negroni and Sidecar, while also presenting new concoctions like The Monet Moment and Maid in Cuba. Head bartender Erik Lorincz also offers his signature serve, the Green Park, described as “a savory and contemporary mix of Bombay Sapphire gin, celery bitters, fresh basil, lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white.”
Click here to watch a video about The American Bar
San Francisco, California
Named for the site of a murder scene in Dashiell Hammitt’s “The Maltese Falcon” — and the nearby alley — this Union Square bar is inside the Mystic Hotel and known for its Prohibition-style cocktails. House creations include the Rhuby Red with bourbon, Burritt Strawberry Cordial, lemon, rhubarb and Peychaud Foam, along with classics like the Mark Twain and Vieux Carre, plus the city’s popular punch bowls for a crowd.
New Orleans, LA
The most talked about bar in The Big Easy right now, Cure takes its patrons back to a time when cocktails were savored and thought to be a remedy for what ails you. Located on burgeoning Freret Street, the bar’s elegant décor and outdoor courtyard are a respite for sipping on drinks that feature ingredients like black mission fig and cucumber shrub, house-made grapefruit cordial, green chartreuse, chamomile liqueur and cane syrup. Accompanying bites of curried crab, drunken meatballs and dark chocolate layer cake complete the experience.
The Gin Joint
Embracing this Southern city’s growing cocktail culture, Gin Joint on East Bay Street serves up everything from gin to cognac, rum and rye whiskey based cocktails. There’s also the bartender’s choice, where you choose any two words from a list on the menu – like refreshing and herbal or unusual and floral – and let the bartender take it from there. Add some beef jerky, shrimp and grit fritters or a cheese plate to your order and stay a while.
Using traditional French liqueurs as the base of its menu, this bar describes itself as having a “rock chic sensibility with an eye toward locally sourced products.” Infused with the spirit of Paris, cocktails at Le Coq include the Lipstick Rose, combining elements of French perfumery in a glass, The Spitfire, a French version of the Boston Sour, and Les Fleurs du Mal with absinthe. Experience cocktail glamour in a setting that Yves Saint Laurent and Marianne Faithfull would have enjoyed in the 10th Arrondissement.
Brooklyn, New York
Described as an oyster house and cocktail den, this bar was inspired by the hotel lobbies of days gone by. Their absinthe list boasts the largest collection in New York, paired with 30 varieties of oysters. Absinthe from Montana to Switzerland can be found on the drip list, followed by cocktails where the green fairy is blended with pineapple, cucumber, lime, rose water and coconut syrup. The regular cocktail menu is also worth a look for staples like the Pimm’s Cup, French 75 and Maltese Falcon.
Situated on the rooftop of the W Atlanta-Buckhead, Whiskey Blue offers excellent views of the city, art deco décor and signature cocktails. The second Gerber Group property in Atlanta (the first, Whiskey Park, opened at the W Atlanta Midtown in 2008), Whiskey Blue boasts custom high-end furniture, a hidden sound system and sleek art. The cocktails are artistic and made with consistent quality. The bar menu changes with the season. The cocktail list is a three-page ordeal. Popular options include the black raspberry martini, acai-blueberry martini, grapefruit basil martini, mangomint mojito and “local” Manhattan.
To sip cocktails prepared by several of the world’s leading bartenders in one place, head to Tales of the Cocktail.
-Photos courtesy The Gin Joint, Cure and Gerber Group