When commercial drink mixers just won’t cut it, try these distinctive spirits individually crafted by top bartenders.
Mancino Vermouth Secco *NEW
In response to the lack of good vermouths on the market, Hong Kong- and Europe-based bar and beverage consultant Giancarlo Mancino set about making his own fortified wines the way people back in the 1900s(!) did it—steeping herbs and spices in water in what he describes as a “giant teapot” for up to 30 days, then flavoring a wine base with the resulting botanical concentrate. This small batch vermouth is crisp, aromatic and mouth-watering, and works well as an aperitif or in martinis. It also comes in Bianco and Rosso versions.
Available at The Library, $12
Olive Oil Washed Vodka *NEW
For this creation, the Library's bar crew gently shake up a combo of extra virgin olive oil and Russian vodka, let the mixture sit overnight, freeze it, and then strain it through a coffee filter. The result is a clean, flavored spirit with no fat particles remaining. Adventurous drinkers can try it in the Kino-Pravda, where it's added to mango pickled in Mancino Vermouth. Tea, botanical spirit, lemon and an unexpected touch of pine round off this complex cocktail.
$24 in the Kino-Pravda! at The Library
Cinnamon-infused Gin *NEW
Spiffy Dapper head bartender George Abhishek Cherian is a bit of a DIY guy when it comes to cocktail ingredients, so this joint is chock full of infused spirits like the house spiced rum, coffee rum and French rosebud vodka. They even dehydrate their own orange slices for drinks like the old fashioned. We like the cinnamon-infused gin, which has a spicy kick perfectly accented by cherry heering, angostura bitters and lemon juice in the rather unusual Drugstore Cowboy.
$20 in the Drugstore Cowboy at The Spiffy Dapper
Grain spirit, spices, herbs and morello cherries are prepared using the sous vide method to create the intense bitters which go into Tippling Club classic the Juniper Sling. Inspired by its namesake scent (by perfume house Penhaligon’s), this cocktail is served in a fragrance bottle. The aromatic drink recipe also includes Grand Marnier, gin, cassis, juniper and cinnamon syrup.
$23 in the Juniper Sling at The Tippling Club
To make a batch of this smooth concoction, barkeeps combine 30g of chrysanthemums, 15g of goji berries and two bottles of MAD’s house pour spirit, Grey Goose Famous Grouse blended Scotch whisky. They leave the whole shebang to infuse for just 20-25 minutes and the result is a sweet aromatic mixer with well-balanced flavor. A jigger of the blend is matched with lemon juice for the bar’s whisky sour.
$17 in the Whisky Sour at MAD
Mango Black Tea-infused Vodka
For this fresh tangy brew, Alphonso mango black tea is left to steep for two to three hours in vodka till it develops a complex tropical fruit flavor. The dark amber spirit is then shaken with lemon juice and sugar syrup, and finished with a lemon-mint garnish for The Garden of Eden cocktail.
$26 in The Garden of Eden at CUT