- The Rum House
228 W. 47th St., nr. Broadway; 646-490-6924
The revived Times Square dive pours not one but six properly spicy Bloodies on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Best among them: the Andrew Jackson, made with unaged white whiskey and smoked paprika, and garnished with salami ($14).
- Il Matto
281 Church St., at White St. 212-226-1607
Mixologist Christina Bini gives her Martinis an avant-garde spin at this quirky Italian restaurant, with the particularly aromatic Maltese featuring red bell pepper, ginger-infused vodka, and pepperoncino ($14).
- Mary Queen of Scots
115 Allen St., nr. Delancey St. 212-460-0915
Alongside the parade of whiskey drinks devised by Marcine Franckowiak and Jay Zimmerman (the Breslin) is this outstanding Sazerac, which returns to its 1830s roots by subbing out rye for Cognac, and balancing the herbaceous Herbsaint with a muddled sugar cube ($13).
Dark and Stormy
- El Cobre
95 Ave. A, nr. 6th St. 212-614-6818
The Cuban restaurant in the Cienfuegos compound boldly dispenses its Stormies out of a tap. Mayur Subbarao whips up a large batch with ginger syrup, fresh lime, and Gosling’s rum, then kegs it, pressurizes it, and pours it on draught ($14).
239 W. 4th St., nr. Charles St.; 646-449-9336
Made with spicy, 100-proof Rittenhouse rye, the Boothby Manhattan concocted by Joseph Leonard vet Brian Bartels gets gussied up with a splash of sparkling wine ($12).
- The Commodore
366 Metropolitan Ave., at Havemeyer St., Williamsburg; 718-218-7632
Don’t let the pinkish color fool you: The sloe-gin fizz tastes surprisingly complex, with fresh lemon juice, soda water, a spoonful of simple syrup, and cucumber-scented Hendrick’s gin ($7).
- The John Dory Oyster Bar
1196 Broadway, at 29th St. 212-792-9000
The best of Sasha Petraske’s dozen-plus fish-friendly libations doesn’t lean on citrus or gin. It’s a bubbly negroni sbagliato (“wrong” in Italian) incorporating Prosecco alongside Campari and sweet vermouth ($12).
- The Drink
228 Manhattan Ave., nr. Grand St., Williamsburg 718-782-8463
The finest of the nautical dive’s rotating communal punches is the Crusade, which mingles Old Monk Indian rum with citric Earl Grey tea and aromatics such as orange peel, allspice, and peppermint ($43, serves ten).
Know What I Could Go for Right Now?
Picks for every classic-cocktail yen.
From the 2011 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).