Thirsty Thursday: Spring Cocktails in the Hidden Bars of NYC

by  Anne Roderique-Jones | Apr 4, 2013
New York City skyline
New York City skyline / Sean Pavone/iStock

New York City is home to some of the finest speakeasies – secret haunts that serve up carefully crafted cocktails in a ultra-cool locales. I've rounded up a few of my favorites, along with their signature spring sips. Can't slip away to these stealthy sites? I'm also including their recipes so you can play mixologist and whip-up your own classic cocktail, DIY-style.

The mother of NYC speakeasies is PDT (Please Don't Tell). You'll enter through a divey hot dog joint's phone booth to be treated to an evening of innovative cocktail concoctions, superb service and a bevy of taxidermy. Jeff Bell, head bartender, mixes this new spring recipe that's a spin-off from the traditional Tom Collins.

Tomr's Collins
1.5 oz. Plymouth Gin
.75 oz. Tomr's Tonic Syrup
.5 oz. grapefruit juice
.25 oz. lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled Collins glass filled with ice
Top with 1.5 oz. Moët Imperial Champagne
Garnish with half a lemon wheel

Mulberry Project
Mulberry Project in Little Italy is a den for New York's pretty people and it can often be a feat to just get past the doorman (early weekday visits are the easiest). The cocktails here are some of the best in the city and a chalkboard listing daily fresh fruits (think: dragon fruit, clementines, and watermelon) are a testament to seasonality. You'll work hand-in-hand with a mixologist to concoct the perfect cocktail designed specifically for you. This breezy spirit from Scott Fitzgerald is the perfect sip to get you in the spirit of spring.

Spring Thyme
2 oz. Brugal Extra Dry Rum
1 oz. lemon juice
.75 oz. simple syrup
.5 oz. grapefruit juice
2 dashes grapefruit bitters
6 sprigs of thyme
Shake and fine strain over ice, garnish with thyme

Middle Branch
Sasha Petraske, NYC's speakeasy ambassador, and the brainchild behind Middle Branch (an offshoot of Little Branch), is a prohibition-era style cocktail bar that's housed in a former antique shop. It's a new and celebrated addition to the typically post-fratboy 'hood of Murray Hill, serving grown-up cocktails in a loungey, windowless, two-story building. Petraske's signature bartender's choice is always a good idea, but this minty libation by Lauren Schell is perfect for a spring eve.

2 oz. bourbon
1 fresh lime
3/4 oz. simple syrup
A few pieces of fresh mint
A few dashes of Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice and served up in a coupe with a mint leaf garnish

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