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Best Classic Cocktails

510 Hudson St.

New York's cocktail consciousness continues to rise, with fledgling mixologists splurging on copies of "Professor" Jerry Thomas's seminal Bon Vivant's Companion, or How to Mix Drinks, and urban sophisticates worshipping at the mixed-drink altars of Bemelman's and Milk & Honey. Their elite ranks have recently been joined by Employees Only, a Deco-inspired West Village watering hole where atavistically whiskered barkeeps infuse gin with lavender and vermouth with herbes de Provence and combine them in a brilliantly complex invention they call the Provençal. Their Tifozzi, a Campari-based apéritif, is a light, lively take on the Americano and an ode to afternoons spent watching soccer. Loving respect is paid to the classics: a real martini with the merest hint of vermouth. Its precursor, the Martinez cocktail, essentially a Manhattan made with gin, distinguished here with housemade absinthe bitters. And a bracingly bittersweet Manhattan crafted, in the spirit of its earliest incarnation, with the classic rye whiskey and a dash of orange curaçao.

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