Sweet tooths don’t need to wait until after dinner to enjoy dessert. That’s because these sweet cocktails mimic iconic treats. Here are 11 reasons to take a look at the bar menu to get a pre-appetizer sugar rush – or sip your sugar rush at the end of your meal.
Birthday Cake Milkshake Shot, The Stanton Social, New York, New York
Now you can have your cake and drink it, too. Though it’s powered by Makers Mark whisky, the festive cocktail still tastes like a childhood birthday party. It arrives in a pair of shot glasses with rainbow nonpareil rims. Make a reservation at the Stanton Social.
The Girl Scout, Sons & Daughters, New York, New York
Using the classic Grasshopper as a starting point, barman Tim Cooper deleted the cream and added some more complex flavors by incorporating Branca Menta, Marie Brizard Creme de Cacao, lime juice, and muddled mint. The end result tastes like a fancy Thin Mint cookie. Luckily, it’s garnished with an actual Thin Mint to help you with any cravings that may arise. Make a reservation at Sons & Daughters.
Ricotta Situation, Radiator, Washington, D.C.
Don’t think we’re cheesy for falling hard for this cocktail. It imitates the flavors of ricotta cheesecake by incorporating ricotta, honey, lemon, and vanilla beans. There’s a boozy boost from Mahia, a Moroccan spirit distilled from figs. Make a reservation at Radiator.
Pecan & Tonic, Annunciation, New Orleans, Louisiana
Pecan pie, now in cocktail form. The dark flavor of the nut is emphasized throughout, thanks to Cathead pecan vodka, coriander-pecan syrup, and a candied pecan rim. A touch of ginger liqueur and squeeze of the lime slice add warmth and a touch of acidity. Make a reservation at Annunciation.
French Connection Coffee, Mon Ami Gabi, Reston, Virginia
All the chocolate fiends out there please raise your hands. We’d raise both of ours, but we still need to type the details of this magnificent mocha. Made with coffee, Hennessy VS Cognac, Disaronno Amaretto, Godiva chocolate liqueur, sweet cream, and shaved almonds, it tastes like a Hershey bar dipped in a latte. Make a reservation at Mon Ami Gabi.
Sobremesa, Aldea, New York, New York
Sobremesa means “dessert” in Portuguese, which is fitting since this cocktail was inspired by one. Matcha cake with cacao nougatine and Chantilly cream was the starting point, so the cocktail features Firelit coffee liqueur and white chocolate-matcha infused milk to echo the flavors. Tito’s vodka gives it a svelte kick. Make a reservation at Aldea.
Créme Brûlée Scotch & Cream Soda, The VNYL, New York, New York
Powered by scotch and Cocchi Americano, the complex cocktail is rounded out with cream soda, strawberry, white peppercorn, and hibiscus elements. To evoke its namesake dessert, there’s torched demerara sugar speckling the egg white float. One of the most inventive and intriguing liquid fancies of recent memory. Make a reservation at the VNYL.
Johnny Appleseed, The John Lamb, New York, New York
There’s nothing more American than apple pie, so that makes this a most patriotic potable. Crafted with apple brandy, housemade apple pie moonshine accented with clove and anise, rye whiskey, and Peychaud’s bitters, it’s served in an old fashioned glass. To complete the presentation, it’s spritzed with absinthe and garnished with a dehydrated apple chip. Make a reservation at the John Lamb.
Key Lime Martini, Mastro’s, New York, New York
You’ve never had a Key lime pie quite like this one. That’s because it’s made with American Star caviar lime vodka, Licor 43 (a svelte Spanish liqueur with notes of vanilla and citrus), pineapple juice, and a bit of whipped cream. Completing the drinkable dessert is a rim dusted with graham cracker crumbs. Make a reservation at Mastro’s.
Grandma Mary, South Water Kitchen, Chicago, Illinois
The ‘tail’s namesake used to make a mean zucchini bread, which inspired this drink’s flavor profile. To accomplish this, head bartender Dan Rook creates a vinegary zucchini shrub that is mixed with gin, dry curaçao, Bols Genever, and vanilla and cinnamon syrups. Reinforcing the flavors are the squares of housemade zucchini bread spiked on a skewer. Make a reservation at South Water Kitchen.
Slice of Pie, District Commons, Washington, D.C.
The flavors of grandma’s apple pie come alive in this on-season creation. Made with Smirnoff vanilla vodka, Laird’s apple brandy, lemon juice, and brown sugar, it features a cinnamon sugar-crusted rim. No one will fault you if you accidentally ask for another slice when you order a second round. Make a reservation at District Commons.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Shedrick Pelt (Sons & Daughters); Daniel Erath (Annunciation); Winne Au (Aldea).