Spring, it’s finally here. You can walk the streets in a denim jacket, see the flowers bloom and take your happy hour outside. What more could you want? But if you need some drinking direction for these warmer days—perhaps you’ve forgotten how to order gin, having spent the chilly winter sipping only whiskey—we’ve got you, from the stuff you can add to your bar cart at home, cans you should take on a picnic and cocktails worth shelling out for.
Forthave Spirits Aperitivo
You know that we’re into what this tiny local distillery is making (they’re featured in our latest issue), so be sure to pick up a bottle of the aperitivo—perfect for a spritz that’s less sweet and more refreshing than you’ll get with the classic Aperol.
Empire Spirits Project Noho Gin
Are you not big on juniper? Don’t worry, the Empire Spirits Project is here to help with gins that put different botanicals in the forefront. Here, it’s saffron, which imbues the flavorful gin with a gorgeous yellow tone—something to surprise guests with when you serve up their G&T.
Baileys Almande Almondmilk Liqueur
Vegans and the lactose intolerant now have their very own creamy liqueur. From the bright white and floral bottle to the suggested servings—coconut water, lemonade, straight-up over ice—this one is going for a lighter vibe all the way around. The flavor is pleasantly almond-forward, without any syrupy sweetness. Planning a wedding shower? You’ll want this one around.
Mezcales de Leyenda’s Puebla
Bartenders love this brand, for good reason. Not only does it have all its fair-trade certifications and come in a very good-looking bottle, but it tastes really good. The nicely balanced smokiness and substantial body make it a great introduction to the spirit. This is one of only two mezcals being produced in Puebla.
Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock & Rye
Here’s your picnic, beach or boating choice: a high-proof canned cocktail that features aged rye whiskey, orange, raw honey, and a bit of rock candy and bitters for something very strong but super drinkable. If you’re into the hard stuff, also try out their new cask-strength whiskey, Hochstadter’s Family Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey, aged for 16 years.
Shacksbury Arlo Cider
Is cider more your thing? Shacksbury makes craft hard ciders ranging from Basque bottles to dry cans. Their Arlo is a delicious blend of 2015 harvest Vermont and Basque apples. It’s lightly sparkling and dry—perfect for spring.
Notting Hill at Suffolk Arms
Here’s the minty gin and tonic of your dreams, made with Portobello Road Gin, lemon juice, Small Hands Foods tonic syrup and muddled mint with a cucumber juice float.
The Acerbic Mrs. Parker at The Shanty at New York Distilling Company
Dorothy Parker Gin, lemon juice, hibiscus syrup, Combier Orange Liqueur and club soda make this refreshing, fun and very pretty cocktail that’s perfect for following up a distillery tour.
Isle of Martinique at Glady’s Caribbean
If you’re into rum, follow Glady’s beverage director Shannon Mustipher on Instagram—she’s always got the skinny on the best new rum cocktails, including this special she dreamed up: Agricole Rhums, falernum, Schezuan honey and lime.