With even the tiniest hint of warmer weather, restaurants in and around Boston debut their spring cocktail lists, bursting with the best in-season ingredients. You may still need a sweater (and maybe a jacket…and probably a scarf, too) but you can get ready for warmer temps (and, eventually, patio season) with these crafty concoctions full of fresh juices, egg-whites, and colorful liqueurs from some of the city’s top bartenders.
Five Horses Tavern Davis Square: Spicy Guava Margarita & Rosé Sangria
Davis Square’s Five Horses Tavern is putting a spicy twist on a warm-weather favorite with their Spicy Guava Margarita. Agave nectar and pureed guava balance out the punch from the ghost pepper-infused tequila, and a chili salt rim (not complete without a fresh lime wheel!) packs every sip with flavor. If you can’t handle the heat, you can cool down with a glass (or a pitcher, if you prefer) of Rosé Sangria with grapefruit vodka, elder-flower and helpings of fruit.
Island Creek Oyster Bar: The Black Pearl
You can practically feel the springtime sea breeze while you’re downing Duxbury oysters and craft cocktails at Island Creek Oyster Bar. Belly up to the bar at this Kenmore Square mainstay for seasonal sips like the Black Pearl, made with rum, lime, demerara syrup, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao, two dashes of Bitterman’s Elemakule Tiki Bitters and Donn’s Mix – a cinnamon and grapefruit syrup that takes many a tiki drink up a notch.
Mooo: The Butterfly Effect, The Man in the Yellow Hat, & the Berry Bourbon Smash
Leave it to Mooo‘s drink-making maven, Deborah Lawson, to craft some of the most eye-catching drinks to ring in springtime. Embrace the floral notes of lavender in the gin based cocktail, The Butterfly Effect with deliciously-foamy egg white, dry curacao, and lemon. The Man in the Yellow Hat will have you on cloud nine with their whipped illy-infused Averna “cloud”, benedictine, and silver rum, while the Berry Bourbon Smash, puts a fruit-forward twist on a favorite.
Ostra: Salado y Rosa, Solera Sazerac & Sévérine
Ostra (sibling to city favorites Mistral, Sorellina, Teatro) boasts not only some of the best Mediterranean seafood around, but the most dazzling cocktails as harbingers of warm weather. You’ll love the lime-salted ice cube in their Salado y Rosa, which’ll slowly dilute into the mixture of Lunazul tequila and rhubarb syrup, while their Solera Sazerac gives the traditional cocktail an overhaul with rum in lieu of rye, alongside maple, absinthe, and a dry amontillado sherry. If, for whatever reason, you’re skipping dinner, grab a seat in their lounge to enjoy live piano music, and order up a Sévérine – their refreshing take on the classic vesper martini with cucumber vodka and bitters.
Grassona’s Italian: Grassona’s Garden
Spend a warm Spring evening at Grassona’s, where you can dig into Italian comfort fare, heapings of red-sauced eats, and new seasonal cocktails like the vodka based Grassona’s Garden, a refreshing pick-me-up shaken with lime juice, fresh basil and pink grapefruit liqueur.
Mistral: Lemon-Thyme Collins & Yola’s Cup
Whether you’re polishing off sumptuous French-Mediterranean fare in the dining room, or lounging in the bar for a nightcap, you’re sure to feel pampered at Mistral. The critically acclaimed restaurant, nestled between Back Bay and the South End, sets out to do so with new cocktails for Spring imbibers, like the Lemon Thyme Collins, which uses artisanal vodka instead of gin, and Yola’s Cup, which is a fun play on the overseas favorite, throwing tequila into the mix alongside Pimm’s- of course- fresh lime, and cucumber bitters.
Tico: Summer Hayden & The Peep Show
The bar at Back Bay’s Tico is inviting, energetic and fun and the same can only be said about the cocktails they’re rolling out this Spring. Look to the Summer Hayden for a bourbon drink with seasonal lychee and fresh lemon, or cultivate your love for egg whites with the rose and citrus vodka in The Peep Show.
Uni: Fog Over Osaka
Tiki libations are slowly taking over the Boston cocktail scene, and the team at Uni is paving the way with their new tropical-tinged menu. One of their specials, Fog Over Osaka pays tribute to one of Japan’s oldest and most esteemed distilleries, Suntory, with their Toki Whiskey, alongside gin, pineapple juice, orgeat, and finished off with sherry over crushed ice.
Meritage: Cheshire & Sparrow
Come sunny days, you’ll want to take a stroll along the harbor after feasting on local seafood and imbibing on a craft cocktail (or two), at Meritage. Although this spot inside the Boston Harbor Hotel is a destination for wine enthusiasts, you’ll find cocktails that are cultivated with equal precision, skill and care. This Spring, the bar team is rolling out drinks like the Cheshire, with vodka, cassis, lemon, and Lillet Rose- a perfect and refreshing, wine-based aperitif. For those who stick to their darker spirits, the Sparrow is shaken up with mango-infused spiced rum, alongside fresh mint and lime, then topped off with some bubbly.
Waypoint: Blood Moon
The name of the game at Michael Scelfo’s Waypoint, is coastal forward, whether it be fare such as crudo and caviar, or spirits like mezcal, gin, and rum. The bar team’s newest creation, the Blood Moon, utilizes the latter with white rum, blood orange, lemon, green chartreuse, their special absinthe cordial – and a little bit of smoke – for a cocktail that’s as complex as it is good looking.