I'm not saying I went to Cuba. But if I had gone, I probably would have spent most of the time eating lots of grilled lobster (the stripey Caribbean kind, not the red Maine kind) in paladares (restaurants run out of magnificent family homes) and over-consuming exceptional rum-based cocktails. As the birthplace of the mojito and the spot where Ernest Hemingway popularized the Papa Doble (a double frozen daiquiri), Havana would inspire any non-heretics to drink copious amounts of each. Again, I'm not saying that I went there, but if I had, these would probably have been my most memorable brushes with alcohol. MORE >
© Christina Holmes
It’s an essential tenet of mixology: Great drinks start with quality spirits. But when the liquor on hand would be more appropriate at a frat party than a cocktail bar, don’t give up. “Throw some fruit in there and kick-start an infusion,” suggests Brandon Lockman, a bartender at the Red Star Tavern, in Portland, Oregon.
Here, Lockman shares ideas for fantastic infusions for every spirit, plus the perfect summer cocktails to make with them. MORE >
Lafayette's Ouest Daisy © Noah Fecks
Historically consumed in Europe as a shot before or after a round of golf, kümmel, a caraway- and cumin-infused spirit that originated in Holland, has found its place in America as a sweet-savory addition to cocktails. At chef Andrew Carmellini’s newest New York hot spot, Lafayette, beverage manager Megan Mina uses Combier kümmel in a refreshing tequila cocktail.»
House Fermented Shandy Courtesy of Son of a Gun
One of the simplest summer cocktails, the shandy is a refreshing blend of beer and lemonade—or citrus soda or ginger ale depending on where you're ordering one. But since "simple" isn't American bartenders' M.O., shandy upgrades are popping up around the country that use seasonal syrups, spices, hard liquor and, in the case of Son of a Gun in Los Angeles, re-fermentation. MORE »
Donna's Strawberry Sky © Craig Cavallo / Serious Eats
Bartenders who love in-season strawberries for their bright, floral flavor and gorgeous color, are now debuting complex spring cocktails with contrasting ingredients like chilies, egg whites and vinegar. At Donna in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, bar manager Jeremy Oertel pairs the springy fruit with tequila and serrano peppers in the Strawberry Sky. MORE >
Horchata Milk Shake © Con Poulos
Horchata, the delicious Mexican drink of cinnamon-flecked rice milk is getting an adult makeover from bartenders across the country, making it the ideal cocktail for this Cinco de Mayo. MORE >
The Torpedo © Emily Hsu
We use oils in just about every aspect of our lives: cooking, cleaning, car maintenance. Now bartenders are using oils—sparingly—in cocktails, for their intense aromas and flavors. MORE >
A cocktail created by a great mixologist can be as thrilling as a dish by a star chef. In this preview of the 2013 edition of F&W Cocktails, our annual compilation of the year’s best drink and bar-food recipes, we showcase some of the most inspiring combinations in America. With recipes!
Photo © Lucas Allen
Bacon is great with the smoky flavors in this mezcal cocktail.
Photo © Lucas Allen
Fried foods go well with boozy drinks. This nutty, tangy one is especially refreshing.
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To buy F&W Cocktails 2013, go to foodandwine.com/books
Related: Reinvented Classic Cocktails
Dixie Cocktail Courtesy of Hard Water
Mention crème de cacao or crème de menthe to anyone who drank through the 80s and they will cringe as if they had just been offered a pair of parachute pants. Though associated with saccharine, often artificially colored cordials, true crèmes can be elegant, velvety digestifs or superb cocktail modifiers. Today, artisan producers are restoring crèmes to their respectable form, much to the delight of bartenders who use the vibrantly flavored, sweet liqueurs in revivals of long-lost cocktails and terrific new drinks. MORE >