Dram It! 8 Restaurants for World Whiskey Day

The first Saturday in May may be all about big hats and horses, but the third Saturday in May gives us yet another reason to celebrate Kentucky: World Whiskey Day. It’s said that the spirit made its way to Louisiana from the heartland and got it rich color and flavors as it aged in barrels along the journey. Today, the tipple’s ripple is felt all over the world — most recently in exclusive Japanese blends — and there are flavors and flights of fancy for everyone from the novice drinker to the expert. Here’s where to get your 1- or 2-ounce pours, specialty cocktail, or an eye-popping $50 pop to toast this dram fine day.

GreenRiver, Chicago, Illinois
GreenRiver’s name and extensive Irish whiskey list may celebrate Chicago’s connection to the Emerald Isle, but head bartender Julia Momose is putting a unique spin on it by mixing flavors that are an homage to her Japanese heritage. Growing up in Kobe, she was inspired by both her mother’s passion for hospitality and an adventure through the city’s winding streets that led to a small bar, where the magician behind the counter was hand-chipping spheres of ice for cocktails. Today, the Ivy League design grad makes cocktails her own art, especially using Japanese whiskey. Two of her favorites are the Gray Wolf, her take on the Old-Fashioned, in which 12-year single malt Yamazaki replaces the traditional bourbon and is paired with Benedictine, Demerara, Plum Vinegar, and Angostura Bitters, and the Cullerton Street, with Nikka Coffey Grain Japanese Whisky, Pineau des Charentes, Curry, Barley, Verjus Blanc, and Fukujinzuke. Make a reservation at GreenRiver.

Restaurants for World Whiskey Day

Tremont 647, Boston, Massachusetts
Bostonians cooking for a little comfort food in the tony South End have looked no further than chef-owner Andy Husbands’s approachable cooking at Tremont 647 for years, but neighboring Cambridge is about to share in the wealth with his brand-new BBQ joint, Smoke Shop. Whiskey is just one of the ways he’s seen what used to be considered “jug-swilling stuff turned into this object of desire, with maple, caramel, oak, cherry, and vanilla flavors,” Husbands said of Tremont 647’s extensive bar menu. “When we think about refinement, we think about wine, but we’re seeing it so much with craft now — beer, craft (whiskey) bourbon, and now barbecue. People are really fascinated by how things are made local or small-batch.” That includes Bully Boy, a subtly sweet Boston brand that many diners have been asking for. Husbands turns the tables with his new venture and the James Beard semifinalist is putting an upscale spin on an American staple with seasonal specials like beer-poached shrimp and award-winning recipes for ribs and brisket. Make a reservation at Tremont 647.

Restaurants for World Whiskey Day

Capo’s Chicago Pizza & Fine Italian Dinners, San Francisco, California
The whiskey menu may be global at Capo’s, but it’s strictly the California mindset that puts it on the map. “We have a large community of adventurous drinkers here, and they’re craving something more than your average Jack and Coke,” says bar manager Elmer Mejicanos. With more than 100 varieties, there’s plenty to choose from: local Anchor Distilling Company’s 25-year-old Old Hirsch Rye, Chicago-based Koval White, and Nikka Single-Malt Yoichi from Japan. New offerings are helping draw new imbibers, Mejicanos says, but there will always be a core legion of fans. “Whiskey is part of U.S. history. It’s one of the spirits that, regardless of the new trends, it has always been around. In the last five years, craft cocktails bars have started focusing on getting cocktails back to what they used to be in the thirties and forties, so it’s a no-brainer that whiskey is be one of the main spirits people focus on.” Got an Old-Fashioned state of mind? Capo’s lets you select your own spirits, bitters, garnishes, and sweeteners. Or, try a whiskey flight or interpretations of classic cocktails like Fools Gold, made with Templeton Rye whiskey, green chartreuse, fresh lemon, artisan root beer, and absinthe, or the Friendly Fire with bourbon, pineapple gum syrup, celery seeds, agave nectar, fresh lemon, and dry curacao. Make a reservation at Capo’s Chicago Pizza & Fine Italian Dinners.

Restaurants for World Whiskey Day

Jimmy’s An American Restaurant & Bar, Aspen, Colorado
There’s nothing like a little whiskey to warm up ski bunnies or take a nip out of the mountain air on a summer’s night, and Jimmy’s (and Jimmy’s Bodega) have spirits for all seasons. Among the most popular is Woody Creek Distillers’ Rye Whiskey, which is made from local Colorado rye and aged in American white oak barrels and is popular in the Goldenrye, mixed from La Gitana Manzanilla Sherry, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, and lemon. Or, order the Jimmy Mac, a high-end mix of Scotch and Irish whiskeys, like 18-year-old Glenfiddich and 15-year-old Tullamore, with Averna Amaro, Benedictine liqueur, and orange bitters. Owner and spirit aficionado Jimmy Yeager is so passionate about whiskey (his “first love”) that he recently took his entire bar staff on one of several field trips to get first-hand tastes and tours in Ireland and Scotland at Hendricks, Kininvie, Balvenie, and other distillers. Yeager also enjoys making his own ice cubes with two-inch-square crystalline cubes or spheres. “Personally, I like serving whiskey over a Macallan ice ball — it creates a nice ‘wow’ factor, and it’s also elegant,” Yeager says. Looking for an excuse to book an Aspen getaway? Whiskey may be your answer since Jimmy’s has a few bottles of one-of-a-kind Four Roses Bourbon, courtesy of Kentucky distiller Jim Rutledge, who helped to create the recipes and hand-pick the barrels. Make a reservation at Jimmy’s.

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Best Brunch Cocktails: Go Beyond the Basic on Mother’s Day

Sorry, plain Jane Bloody Mary; you’re just way too basic these days. That goes for you, too, champy and OJ! Mixologists are creating radical cocktails that seriously raise the bar when it comes to midday imbibing. We’re talking cocky concoctions to boost your lobster benny – and your spirits (as well as mom’s) on Mother’s Day and beyond. Here are delish sips of spring in the form of the best brunch cocktails you need to drink this weekend.

The Ruby Soho, Left Bank, New York, New York
The Ruby Soho cocktail is deftly mixed by head bartender Claiborne Fortenberry, who combines grapefruit and pink peppercorn-infused tequila (made in-house), Pamplemousse liqueur, fresh lime, and a salt rim for a super-fresh day drink. Goes especially well with the eggs Benedict, don’t you think? Make a reservation at Left Bank.

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Eiffel Affair, Eiffel Tower Restaurant, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Eiffel Affair is the best-selling “new classic” cocktail served at the Eiffel Tower in the desert and features fresh berries macerated in Stoli Blueberi Crème de Cassis, Cointreau, and Rose Nectar. It’s topped off with a splash of Eiffel Tower Cremant for added effervescence. Make a reservation at Eiffel Affair.

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Bloody Bull, Momofuku CCDC, Washington, D.C.
Grab the horns and order The Bloody Bull. Made with vodka, tomato, horseradish, and beef broth, the beef broth stars beef shank and oxtail, and is also used in CCDC’s Beef Noodle Soup. The cocktail, served only during weekend lunch, pairs particularly well with Momofuku’s Twice-Cooked Pork Noodles with maple fish sauce vinaigrette and the Scrapple, Egg, and Cheese steamed buns. Make a reservation at Momofuku CCDC.

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Citrine, Harvest Table, St. Helena, California
Lead bartender Joel Pfeifle mixes unique, non-spirit based cocktails — many of the ingredients are sourced from the inn’s five culinary gardens — but these certainly aren’t your garden-variety cocktails. Top brunch libations include the Strawberry Belle (Mirabelle Brut, Strawberry Shrub, Garden Mint Syrup, Lime Juice), The Pampered Moose (Giffard Pamplemousse, No. 209 Gin, Grapefruit Oleo, lemon juice), and the Citrine (sparkling wine, garden mint syrup, fresh squeezed orange, bitters). Make a reservation at Harvest Table.

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The Lunchbox, Farmer & The Seahorse, San Diego, California
A seashell’s fling from the beach in San Diego’s Torrey Pines neighborhood, the status cocktail at celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s restaurant is called The Lunchbox — made with Mama’s Lil Pilsner beer, Peach liqueur, and freshly squeezed orange juice. It is the perfect pairing to the brunch menu’s duck confit and waffles or the pastrami-style pork belly hash. Make a reservation at Farmer & The Seahorse.

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Asparagus Negroni, Davio’s, Boston, Massachusetts
The Asparagus Negroni (Cynar, Stoli Vodka, Peychaud’s bitters, orange bitters and muddled asparagus) is a nod to the star of springtime. And, it’s a perfect complement to Davio’s brunch menu, including specials like the Beef Tenderloin with poached eggs, potatoes, popover, and truffle hollandaise. Make a reservation at Davio’s.

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Bashment Punch, Solomon & Kuff’s Rum Hall, New York, New York
Known for its almost 100 varieties of rum and a monthly reggae brunch, it’s no shocker that co-owner and mixologist Karl Franz Williams chose to channel the islands when he created his fruity Bashment Punch — a Caribbean-inspired libation of rum, pineapple juice, mango puree, lime juice, and orange bitter. Bonus: Sip it to up your daily fruit intake. Make a reservation at Solomon & Kuff’s Rum Hall.

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Millennial Mimosa, CUCINA enoteca, Newport Beach, California
Mimosas are to brunch what beer is to baseball — traditional, but kinda boring. Meet the millennial mimosa! The ingredients are rolled on a cart to your table and a more exciting mimosa is prepared just for you. You’ll have your choice of mixers, purees, and garnish, and the ingredients are seasonal, including pineapple-blood orange, vanilla bean, Meyer lemon, strawberry jalapeno, pomegranate peach, rosemary ginger pineapple, candied ginger, blueberries, rosemary sprigs, blackberries, fresh strawberries, and pomegranate seeds. Make a reservation at CUCINA enoteca.

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The Board, Nick & Toni’s, East Hampton, New York
Brunch in the Hamptons, such a chic chill. Wait, what, your bloody is bland, not enough horseradish? Or, hot sauce? Oh, bloody hell, you hate to send it back—what will the Seinfelds think? Or Billy Joel? Such a high maintenance brunchster you are. Nick and Toni’s has your back. They call their brunch Bloody Mary cocktail, “The Board” and describe it as “a drink, a snack and an activity.” The way it works: Pick a liquor (house-infused sweet pepper-onion-and basil-infused Absolut, hot pepper and peppercorn Absolut ,or Maestro Dobel Tequila, choose a mix and and garnish away – and toss in a few condiments to your tasting. Special Stuff: Pickled green garlic from the garden will be rotated into the Bloody Board lineup, too. Make a reservation at Nick & Toni’s.

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P-Town Punch, Sabio on Main, Pleasanton, California
The “deceptively light and fruity” P-Town Punch cocktail served at this newbie restaurant packs a lot of punch — Pisco, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gum Syrup, fresh lemon juice, and a strawberry garnish. The cocktail plays well with menu items like the Hamachi “Nicoise” salad and Eggs Benedict, and, thanks to the acid that is needed to cut through fat, the cocktail can also stand up to bigger flavors like the Liberty Duck Croque Monsieur and burgers. Make a reservation at Sabio on Main.

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Muddy Waters, Geraldine’s, Austin, Texas
Named for the father of Chicago blues music, the Muddy Waters cocktail (Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Averna, Orgeat syrup, cold brew coffee, condensed milk, and nutmeg) is a boozy coffee cocktail that harmonizes well with Geraldine’s Brioche French Toast and Smoked Short Rib Tacos. Make a reservation at Geraldine’s.

Muddy Waters - Photo credit Aubrie Pick

Buffalo Soldier, South Water Kitchen, Chicago, Illinois
Order the Buffalo Soldier (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, egg, maple syrup, two strips crumbled bacon, Peychaud’s Bitters, powdered sugar, and bacon strip garnish), expertly mixed cocktail from by head bartender Dan Rook, and you’ve basically got a beautiful brunch in a glass. Make a reservation at South Water Kitchen.

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Brunch Punch III, Hearth, New York, New York
East Village weekend brunchers get punch drunk with the Brunch Punch III, a brunch-only cocktail that stars Four Roses Bourbon, Atsby, Cocchi di Torino, and blood orange. Order it alongside one of Hearth’s delicious spring brunch dishes like the seasonal vegetable frittata. Make a reservation at Hearth.

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I-5 High Five, Café Eugene, Albany, California
The I-5 High Five (gin, Oregon Marionberry Liqueur, California spiced pear brandy, lemon, rosemary) gives Café Eugene’s cheesy grits with tomatillo-braised pork shoulder, chayote, butternut squash, wild herb sauce and a poached egg a perfect boost. Or, if it’s pancakes you crave, order the Duck-Duck-Punch (rum, orange, carrot, lime, pomegranate, falernum, Oregon chai, nutmeg) and the sweet yogurt raspberry pancakes with orange butter and Vermont maple syrup. Make a reservation at Café Eugene.

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All Abuzz: 15 Coffee Cocktails to Add a Spring to Your Step

We love coffee. We love booze. Put the two together and that’s heaven in a glass. These double-amped cocktails showcase the mastery of mixology combined with the talented touch of a blue ribbon barista. That means they work for breakfast, a mid-afternoon break, or at dinnertime drinks (or all three if it’s one of those days). Here are 15 coffee cocktails that will have you buzzing in no time.

Travelle Kitchen + Bar, Chicago, Illinois
The Midnight Train to Portland cocktail should be renamed the One-Way Ticket to Buzzville. Espresso tequila forms the backbone of the ruby red drink, which gets its hue from Pinot Noir. Pear wine and aromatic bitters add sweetness and bite. Make a reservation at Travelle Kitchen + Bar.

Coffee Cocktails

E.P. + L.P., West Hollywood, California
There’s an Asian accent to this aromatic sipper. Thai chilies, star anise, and cinnamon spice up the espresso, which is mixed with juniper-rich genever, cognac, and bitters to create a truly buzzy bevvie. We don’t recommend drinking more than one of them after dinner if you want to go to bed anytime soon. If your plans include not sleeping, order two. Make a reservation at E.P. + L.P.

Coffee Cocktails

Estrellón, Madison, Wisconsin
There’s a double caffeine kick to this cocktail thanks to St. George coffee liqueur and cold brewed coffee. Fortified with Spanish brandy, bar manager Mike Lu mixes in some Angostura bitters to add depth and lemony oleo-saccharum for sweetener. Guaranteed to put pep in your step. Make a reservation at Estrellón.

Coffee Cocktails

Siegel’s 1941, Las Vegas, Nevada
Made with 12-year aged rum, espresso liqueur, vanilla syrup, and Angostura bitters, the Have a Cigar cocktail is a worthy post-gig pick-me-up for rock stars. Or for you when you’re convinced you’re Roger Waters. You can almost hear Pink Floyd in the background as you sip it, “Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar/You’re gonna go far, you’re gonna fly.” Make a reservation at Siegel’s 1941.

Coffee Cocktails

Rockit Bar & Grill, Chicago, Illinois
Who could resist a cocktail called the Drunken Monk? Not us! Made with Evan Williams Bourbon, Frangelico, chocolate syrup, espresso, and steamed milk, it’s topped off with a cap of flame-kissed marshmallow. Make a reservation at Rockit Bar & Grill.

Coffee Cocktails

Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar, Dallas, Texas
Bardstown Coffee is for java junkies who need something stronger than Starbucks. The coffee cocktail gets a considerable boost from a healthy dose of Jim Beam infused with hazelnuts, vanilla, cinnamon, and allspice. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a finishing layer of Maker’s Mark-enriched whipped cream on top. Make a reservation at Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar.

Coffee Cocktails

Sushisamba, New York, New York
This is not your crazy aunt’s espresso martini. The Café Millonario features coffee-washed Bacardi Black rum, espresso, Tonka bean-infused maple syrup, dark chocolate syrup, and bitters, plus a shower of chocolate powder and a trio of coffee beans on top. Actually, you should definitely order one of these for your crazy aunt. She deserves better. Make a reservation at Sushisamba.

Coffee Cocktails

Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago, Illinois
This Polynesian potable packs a punch courtesy of some cold brew coffee. Oh, yeah, and also tequila, dark rum, and overproof rum. For a tropical flourish, there’s a mélange of passion fruit, lime, and pineapple juices added. Warning: don’t try to walk out with the glass. The tiki gods frown upon such bad behavior and may lay a curse upon you. Make a reservation at Three Dots and a Dash.

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Protein Packed Potables: 11 Meaty Cocktails for Carnivores

There’s no fork and knife required to get your fill of meat these days. Bartenders are creatively working a plethora of protein packed components into their cocktails – from chorizo fat-washed bourbon and prosciutto-infused bourbon to pork enhanced bitters and a butchery’s worth of garnishes. Ron Swanson would approve heartily. Here are 11 meaty cocktails for carnivores.

Scarpetta, Miami Beach, Florida
Rum, rye, and dry sherry are the boozy foundation of the Lombardia. The cocktail is perked up with Angostura and orange bitters and then finished off with a strip of crispy pancetta. Make a reservation at Scarpetta.

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Old Town Pour House, Chicago, Illinois
Here’s a cocktail worthy of a meat eater. The Churchill Bloody Mary is garnished with a trio of proteins: a peppercorn steak medallion, grilled shrimp, and a Slim Jim. You almost don’t need to bother with an entrée if you order it at brunch. Almost. Make a reservation at Old Town Pour House.

Meaty Cocktails

Steak & Whisky, Hermosa Beach, California
Ron Swanson finally has a cocktail to celebrate his meat-loving ways. The eponymous tipple riffs on an Old Fashioned, featuring whiskey, barrel-smoked maple syrup, and bitters. It’s finished off with a meaty nibble from the charcuterie board. Make a reservation at Steak & Whisky.

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Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Las Vegas, Nevada
Bacon makes everything better — even bourbon, which is pretty darn awesome anyway. It boosts this spicy Bloody Mary, which comes garnished with a chewy strip of housemade jerky. Make a reservation at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar.

meaty cocktails

Estrellón, Madison, Wisconsin
Chorizo takes a starring role at this Spanish restaurant from James Beard Award winner Tory Miller – even the cocktails. Chorizo fat-washed bourbon is the lead in the aptly titled Chorizo Cocktail, alongside Spanish vermouth, lemon and orange juice, maple syrup, and angostura and blackstrap bitters. Make a reservation at Estrellón.

meaty cocktails

Bar Boulud, New York, New York
Give us lardo over butter any day of the week. The whipped fat is zigzagged across a crispy crostini jutting out of the crimson depths of the Bloody Mary. The rosemary-accented porky spread is a nice counterpoint to the cocktail’s spicy tang and perky acidity. Make a reservation at Bar Boulud.

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