What better way to celebrate our recent list of the 100 Best Steakhouses in America than with a cocktail made to go with steak. Filets may be the prime attraction at these eateries, but drinks are the gravy of any steakhouse experience. Whether you’re looking for a quick tipple in 30 seconds or less, or you want savor a libation barrel-aged for three months, here are the top steakhouse cocktails that are a cut above.
Goldenrye at Jimmy’s An American Restaurant & Bar, Aspen, Colorado
Jimmy’s is all about sourcing local produce in the heart of Aspen, and Colorado’s rich valleys produce just the right potatoes and grains for vodkas and whiskies, too. Liquor from Woody Creek Distillers — just 20 miles from the restaurant — comes straight from the Centennial State’s bounty, including the favorite of bartender Chris Kelner: the 2- to 3-year aged rye. He puts a twist — literally — on the traditional Gold Rush, blending whiskey and lemon for the Goldenrye, adding ginger liqueur for spicy-sweet notes and a dry sherry finish. Make a reservation at Jimmy’s An American Restaurant & Bar.
Meat and Potatoes Martini at Lawry’s the Prime Rib, Chicago, Illinois
A meal in and of itself and a perfect homage to Chicago’s meatpacking heritage, Lawry’s Meat and Potatoes Martini even makes the spirit meta with potato vodka. Their signature cocktail includes two colossal olives stuffed with prime rib and horseradish—the perfect meaty pairing for the other menu staple of the “spinning salad,” served tableside with all entrees. It’s fun to kick a few back and laugh as bowls are set in buckets of ice and twirled like Oksana Baiul. Make a reservation at Lawry’s the Prime Rib.
The Swanson at Steak & Whisky, Hermosa Beach, California
It’s not too hard to decipher just what’s served up at Steak & Whisky, but one of the biggest hits riffs on the beloved Parks and Rec character (and ultimate bacon lover) Ron Swanson. Steak & Whisky’s version of The Swanson incorporates its namesake libation and adds barrel-smoked maple syrup and bitters. Served up on the side is a meaty garnish from the steak and charcuterie board — a beverage truly fit for any plaid-loving, woodworking man’s man. Make a reservation at Steak & Whisky.
Vida de Playa at BOA Steakhouse-Sunset, Los Angeles, California
Bar manager Josh Renfree doesn’t compromise quality for speed at BOA, where his diverse list of 15 steakhouse-friendly cocktails can all be assembled in 30 seconds or less. South American-born bartender Pancho Lam lends a hand — and some inspiration — with his Vida de Playa, a playful Peruvian twist on a piña colada incorporating pisco and mango coconut puree. The sour is homemade, as are the natural coconut, mango, and citrus purees, pairing up with menu hits like goat cheese baklava, Thai chili wings, charred tuna tartare, and chilled jumbo saffron prawns. Make a reservation at BOA Steakhouse-Sunset.
Death & Taxes at Grill 23, Boston, Massachusetts
It’s been said that nothing is sure in life but death and taxes — yet surely enjoying the Death & Taxes cocktail at Grill 23 is right up there. Hospitality director Brahm Callahan mixes up cigar-infused Woodford Bourbon, lemon juice, fernet branca, and a bit of peach syrup to bring a hint of the South to blustery Boston. Grill 23, one of Boston’s favorite steakhouses in the city’s tony Back Bay section, has been open for more than three decades but underwent a massive renovation in 2014. The revamp of the downstairs bar and the new bar menu are perfect for enjoying along with Death & Taxes. Make a reservation at Death & Taxes.
Prohibition Buzz at The Palm-Tribeca, New York, New York
It’s easy to throw back the Prohibition Buzz, a throwback to The Palm’s 90th anniversary. The tipple blends Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition Blended Scotch Whiskey, chilled with honey syrup and a dash of Angostura bitters, topped with Champagne and a cinnamon stick. But unlike bathtub gin, this one is smooth with hand-selected American oak casks to give the whiskey subtle flavors of vanilla and citrus. “Even though the Palm restaurant opened during Prohibition, it was still considered the best watering hole in New York,” says Angelica Sbai, director of operations, wine and spirits. “The Prohibition Buzz pays homage to the Palm’s history of two-martini lunches and quick and witty bartenders.” Look for the Buzz on The Palm’s new 90th-anniversary menu. Make a reservation at The Palm-Tribeca.
Carley Thornell is a travel writer whose experiences eating street food in Japan, English peas in the UK, free-range steak in Argentina, and Brussels sprouts at Estragon tapas in her hometown of Boston have provided unforgettable culinary inspiration. Shout out at email@example.com.
Photo credit: Curet Photography (Jimmy’s).