Today, a turn of season often means a new menu. Keeping a balance of variety, and just as with food, seasonality and signature flavours are increasingly important for a well-thought-out cocktail. Here are five venues mixing some of the best drinks for spring.
Pimm’s Cup For Two at The Barlow Room
“We’ve had this old teapot sitting around for a while and thought we should do something with it,” says Andrew Glass. Found during a spring clean, the pot, and the “something” that Glass and fellow Barlow Room bartender Mitchell Clark decided on, has created a potential new classic. Mixing springtime flavours such as Pimm’s and fresh herbs with the theatrics of dry ice, the two created a Pimm’s Cup For Two, but not as we know it. Combining Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, Tanqueray No. TEN, cognac, Amaretto liqueur, and herbs, the pair added dry ice not just for show, but also to help infuse the drink’s aromatics. Topped with house-made lemonade the aromatic drink is served in teacups.
The Lolita at The Bibliotheca Bar & Book Exchange
The Bibliotheca Bar & Book Exchange has built its brand on stories. It features a cocktail list themed around owner Roman Tazhdynov’s favourite books.
Relevant to this year’s trend of bourbon bases and candy garnishes, Tazhdynov has created The Lolita, inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial 1950s classic. “It’s made with strawberry-infused Bulleit Bourbon, strawberry vermouth and bitters,” says Tazhdynov, and is described on the menu as a fresh twist on an old Manhattan.
Maple Manhattan at BRKLYN
BRKLYN on Rundle Street has designed its current cocktail menu for the season. “We offer both bolder and lighter drinks for spring alongside our staple favourites like the cold-drip Negroni,” says co-owner of the Brooklyn-themed bar, Alistair Loose. A new addition is a drink with its NYC namesake’s neighbours in mind – the Maple Manhattan is a nod to a Canadian staple, maple syrup.
“We infuse Bulleit Rye Whiskey with maple syrup and add bitters,” explains Loose. The maple infusion counteracts the boldness of whiskey, typically done by adding sweet vermouth.
Jolie Môme at La Buvette
French-style bar La Buvette Drinkery features grazing dishes, wine and an impressive selection of absinthe and calvados (apple brandy). Much of its French spirit selection finds its way into the cocktail list, which is short but rotated seasonally.
"We love classics and recommend a Ron Zacapa Old Fashioned to finish a late night or to start a cold one,” says bartender John Graham. “We also love to create our own. Try the Jolie Môme, a French favourite that features Ketel One Citroen and is perfect for spring."
Graham says the Jolie Môme is a balance of sour and refreshing citrus notes against the clean sweetness of vodka. Served chilled over ice and garnished with mint, it’s a perfect sunny-afternoon cocktail by the Gresham Street-facing window.
Negroni Julius at Maybe Mae
With Bread & Bone upstairs to fill hungry bellies, sister bar Maybe Mae focus solely on drinks. Entering the bar is like stepping in to a highbrow speakeasy in prohibition-era New York. The cocktail menu changes seasonally and currently features a balance of refreshing and bold flavours.
Maybe Mae’s Negroni Julius is a marriage of two classics, mixing Tanqueray No. TEN Gin, Margan off-dry vermouth and Campari. “The glass is filled with crushed ice and topped with whipped vanilla orange,” says co-owner Ollie Margan. The sweetness of the orange Julius soothes the herbaceous Negroni, making for a refreshing springtime sipper.
This article is presented in partnership with World Class.