Winter Caipirinha from The Bristol
Debbi Peek, the bar director at The Bristol in Chicago, added piney rosemary and tart kumquats to cachaça and lime create a cool-weather caipirinha. It's fresh, tangy and a little herbal, and it's fun to eat the booze-soaked kumquats as you go.
Todd Maul's Polaris
I'm generally wary of St Germain, but this drink from Todd Maul of Clio in Boston is a great example of how to use the ingredient well. The elderflower liqueur adds a subtle floral character to already-floral gin, lemon, and fresh grapefruit juice. It's only softly sweet, with a ton of citrusy tang to balance.
Jackson Cannon's Adriatique
Jackson Cannon created this aperitif cocktail for Boston's Island Creek Oyster Bar. It's one of the most delicious things we've shaken up lately, and unlike most cocktails, it doesn't have a standard spirit as its base. Amaro Montenegro and Aperol provide a bittersweet core that extends the flavors of fresh orange juice. Since this isn't too high in alcohol, you might want to mix up a pitcherful.
Blood Orange Negroni from Bottega
Think of this as the freshest Negroni you've ever had—blood orange juice steps in to bridge the gap between sweet vermouth, Campari, and gin. The juice cuts the sometimes syrupy side of Campari and adds an essential acidity.
The John Dory's Brooklynite Cocktail
Honey complements the smooth, toasty flavor of rum in this cocktail from the John Dory Oyster Bar in NYC, while lime juice brightens it up. Be sure to use a good rum here, since it plays a starring role.
Kumquat and Fennel Smash from Craft
This non-alcoholic option from Sean McClure of Craft in New York packs a lot of flavor. Smashed fennel adds a delicate anise note, while kumquats and lemon juice make it tart. Fever Tree tonic water adds a light bitterness, and the resulting drink is quite complex and sophisticated.
Dutch Courage from Highlands Bar and Grill
This genever cocktail may look like Tang, but it's boozy stuff, with a wonderfully fragrant Satsuma juice base. If orange hard candies were filled with tart juice and booze, they'd taste like this.
The John Dory's Lawrence Welk
We'd order this one based on vivid color alone, but we really fell for it on first sip. Tequila adds peppery spice without dominating the flavor, and Aperol and Dolin rouge contribute richness without pushing it toward sticky sweetness. (A hefty squeeze of lime helps, too.) This wonderfully balanced cocktail conjures up fresh grapefruit in the depth of winter.
Whitehall's No. 8
The King's Ginger helps emphasize the delicately earthy flavor of unsmoked Fidencio mezcal in this refreshing spin on the Paloma from John McCarthy of Whitehall and Mary Queen of Scots in NYC. It's tart and fragrant from a triple punch of grapefruit, lime, and orange. If you don't have Fidencio on hand, you can use tequila instead.
This fragrant margarita from our Drinking in Season columnist Kelly Carámbula requires a little muddling, but it's worth it in the end. Use quality tequila and Cointreau for best results.
Jackson Cannon's Cold Spring Cocktail
We love the floral fragrance of Meyer lemons, and look for every excuse we can find to buy them (or have someone send some from their backyard tree.) This winter sour from Jackson Cannon balances a boozy cognac edge with smooth maple syrup and Meyer lemon. "I think of this drink as a harbinger for spring," says Cannon. Though there's as much maple as lemon, it's not at all sweet, just warming and aromatic.
The Mickey Rourke
According to the 2009 issue of Gourmet in which this drink appeared, this super-easy recipe calls for tequila in honor of the Mexican heritage of Mickey Rourke's dog, a Chihuahua-terrier mix. Blood orange gives it a vivid rosy hue, and we added a little lime for balance.