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.
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 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.
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
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