Mixing It Up: Manhattan’s Coolest Cocktails
New York City’s cocktail scene has never been more thrilling, thanks to cutting-edge visionaries and mixologists who are making elaborate concoctions that will wow you with their sheer creativity. You’ll find some of the most exciting drinks in the city, if not the whole country, at The Restaurant and Bar Collection at The Shops at Columbus Circle. Here’s where you need to go — and what you need to be sipping this spring.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
The latest location of Momofuku Noodle Bar features a full-length cocktail bar, and it is grabbing headlines with its innovative highball program. A highball is an alcoholic soda that is like no soda you’ve ever tasted. Momofuku is carbonating the highballs themselves and pouring most of them on draft. Several are created using the Spinzall (a centrifuge used for clarification).
The Experts: Momofuku’s Bar Director Lucas Swallows collaborated with beverage manager Haera Shin to develop Momofuku’s trailblazing highball program.
Don’t Miss: They change up their highballs often, so always be sure to ask what's new for the season.
Bluebird London has landed in New York City with a sleek British vibe. Each cocktail is a spectacle, crafted to incorporate smoke and garnishes in dramatic ways. This is a British spot, after all, so expect a number of gin-based offerings like The Botanist, with The Botanist Gin, Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic, lemon, thyme, and rosemary.
The Expert: Bluebird London’s beverage program showcases local and U.K.-based brewers and distillers, including an impressive selection of gins, plus an approachable global wine program that includes lesser-known English sparkling varietals.
Don’t Miss: James Bond would love the Bluebird Martini — shaken not stirred — which steals the show with a simple yet powerful mix of Grey Goose Vodka, lemon, and cane sugar.
Ascent Lounge New York
The sexy, one-of-a-kind Ascent Lounge New York features breathtaking views of Central Park and Columbus Circle, as well as an incredible cocktail list. One of the signatures is the Ascent Reserve Martini, a money’s-no-object drink that’s presented in a gold-rimmed crystal glass and paired with Petrossian Caviar.
The Experts: The dazzling list was developed by Co-Owner Carrie Packin and Beverage Director and Operations Manager Matija Rajak, who is passionate about working with spirits and crafting new cocktails in attention-grabbing forms and combinations.
Don’t Miss: The Smoked Old Fashioned is more of an event than a drink. It arrives covered in a glass dome containing smoke that is memorably released when served.
Center Bar, a classic cocktail lounge with an Art Deco flair, channels old-school glamour while keeping an eye on the future. The ever-changing list includes variations on a theme with traditional drinks done several different ways.
The Expert: Adam Petronzio recently joined the team at Center Bar and its sister restaurant, Porter House Bar & Grill, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge on all things cocktails and wine. Among his creations, look for a spin on the popular Moscow Mule — the Columbus’s Circle, with Greenhook Ginsmith Gin, sloe gin, and ginger beer.
Don’t Miss: A favorite among regulars is the King’s Old Fashioned, which combines Elijah Craig Bourbon with the perfect amount of bitters. It’s garnished with a cured walnut.
The Aviary NYC
An East Coast outpost of one of the world’s most trend-defining cocktail bars, The Aviary NYC has been making a splash on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental, New York. More of a restaurant for drinks, it is known for wizardry that takes smoking cocktails to another level entirely. There's also a hidden speakeasy-style space called The Office NYC, stocked with rare spirits and a Prohibition-style cocktail menu.
The Experts: Chef Grant Achatz and his business partner Nick Kokonas have paired up with Drinks Director Micah Melton and Bar Director at The Aviary NYC, Aidan Bowie, to produce memorable creations like the Wake and Bake, served inside a bag filled with the aroma of an everything bagel.
Don’t Miss: Groups will love the Wizard’s Staff, which has multiple levels and varies in size based on the number of guests. With a smoke-filled arrival, it’s pure theatrics.
Momofuku, both: L Palmberg
Bluebird, both: Ber Murphy
Center Bar, both: Lauren Elle
Ascent Lounge, both : Steven Menendez
The Aviary, both: Daniel Krieger