25 West 56th Street
A great cocktail is all about balance, and the sublime concoctions served at Beacon are as well balanced as Sting in the lotus position. Beacon's beverage manager, Marie Maher, is a stickler for details (note the perfectly chilled, elegantly designed cocktail glasses). Classics like a seductively smooth caipirinha and a minty mojito are flawlessly prepared. But a great cocktailist is also an innovative cocktailist. To wit, the Tango (an original summertime thirst quencher of gin, passion-fruit liqueur, and grapefruit juice) and the Ichabod Crane (Goldschlager, Maraschino liqueur, and apple juice), which evokes autumn -- or at least tart apple pie -- in a glass. Beacon's best work, however, might be its clever takes on old standards -- a Manhattan made with Maker's Mark, and Pineau des Charentes standing in for vermouth; the Zip Drive, a little twist on a Between the Sheets that blends unusually sweet, dark cognac with Goslings rum, Cointreau, and fresh lemon juice. "There's no such thing as a bad idea when it comes to cocktails," says Maher, "just some experiments gone wrong."
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