Sometimes our job is grueling, but we do it for you. We’ve sampled the city’s best, and here are our cocktail picks for summer.
Insider Exclusive Offer:
When you’re not sitting on the beach or sucking air from an AC vent, we suggest you beat the heat this summer with one of these boozy, refreshing treats, our top picks of the season.
Shangri La Swizzle at Gin Palace
Gin Palace was the city’s first cocktail den to offer gin and tonics on tap (though the city is trying to end that practice—protest anyone?). And while a g&t is handy most of the time, the Shangri La Swizzle (named after the 1969 Kinks song) is for special occasions. This tart cocktail combines two types of gin—Old Tom and fruit-forward Damson plum—with herbaceous Amaro CioCiaro liqueur, raspberry syrup, pineapple, and lemon juice. Served over crushed ice in a towering pilsner glass, it’s a tiki-style tipple that will cool you down and liquor you up… quick. 95 Avenue A, 212.614.6818
Strawberry Fizz at Franny’s
The strawberry fizz at everybody’s favorite locavore pizza restaurant begins with super-ripe strawberries roasted in an oven until concentrated and jam-like. They then make their way into a collins glass along with Beefeater gin, lime, and seltzer. Come for the cocktail, stay for the clam and chile pizza. 295 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, 718.230.0221
Bermuda Triangle at Lani Kai
Our favorite boozy beverage at cocktail maven Julie Reiner’s tropical tiki wonderland can be found in the “Brain Freeze” section of the menu. We would bathe in this icy blend of cachaça (Brazilian sugarcane rum), creamy coconut milk, citrusy kalamansi, and lychee juice if permitted. 525 Broome Street, 646.596.8778
Clouds Over San Juan at WD-50
Bar manager Kevin Denton was tired of overly sweet and syrupy piña coladas, those ubiquitous tourist drinks of the tropics, so he set out to make a version he describes as “light and easy.” Denton blends dehydrated coconut milk with Flor de Caña rum, to which he adds pineapple juice and xanthan gum. He then force-carbonates the beverage with a CO2 tank conveniently kept behind the bar. As the carbon dioxide escapes, the xanthan gum and the pectin in the pineapple stabilize the carbonation—watch as the liquid rises higher and higher in the glass. The result is light and easy to drink, for sure. To concoct, not so much. 50 Clinton Street, 212.477.2900
Pimm’s Cup at Maison Premiere
Maison Premiere’s Pimm’s Cup—that iconic summer refresher that evokes images of Wimbledon and English garden parties—is suitable for lengthy drinking sessions in the bar’s overgrown garden patio. Beverage director Maxwell Britten adapts the recipe for each season (spring saw the addition of cherries and rhubarb), and his summer variation is stripped down, clean, and classic. Britten stirs sweet and herbal Pimm’s No. 1 with spicy ginger syrup, cucumber water, mint, orange, and lime, then finishes the cup with a spritz of soda water, a slice of cucumber, and fresh mint. 298 Bedford Avenue, 347.335.0446
Blackberry Lime Rickey at the Americano
Pucker up for this perfect pairing of muddled fresh blackberries, lime juice, soda water, and vodka, served at the Americano restaurant in Chelsea’s High Line–adjacent Hôtel Americano. Then make your way to La Piscine, the hotel’s rooftop pool bar, where you can take a dip, enjoy the view, and order a few more rounds. 518 W. 27th Street, 212.525.0000