your ultimate guide to spring cocktails

drink up!

After a sadistic winter, it just started getting geniunely nice in New York. Yesterday was t-shirt weather for the first time in 2015. That means, despite an official March 21 start date, it's finally spring. And with that warm weather comes the unflinching desire to consume refreshing beverages, hopefully one with a little booze in them. In that spirit, we asked some of our favorite spots in New York and Los Angeles to hit us with some cocktails they stirred up especially for spring. As you'll see in the following gallery, they did not disappoint.

The Black Fleet @ The Drink, New York

Description: "April and May are peak season for Hawaiian pineapples, and smokey, spicy punch The Black Fleet really shows them off. Plus, it's named after badass lady pirate Jeanne de Clisson, who painted her ships black, dyed their sails red and raided French ships to get revenge for the death of her husband at the hands of King Phillip VI. She would slaughter entire crews, leaving only 1 or 2 men alive to pass the message that the Lioness of Brittany and her Black Fleet had struck again."—Allie Zempel, Manager

Ingredients: 7 oz mezcal, 3 oz tequila, 7 oz basil syrup*, 6 oz lime, 5 oz pineapple, 2 teaspoons srirarcha bitters

Storm's Brewin' @ Porchlight, New York

Description: "Jamaican rum, lemon, passion fruit and grenadine over crushed ice is the absolute perfect drink to sip on a warm spring day. Its tart and fruity flavors provided by house made grenadine and passion fruit perfectly compliment the grassy quality of Jamaican rum."—Mike Shain, Manager

Ingredients: .75 oz Smith and Cross, .75 oz Appleton VX, .5 oz Lemon Juice, .5 oz Passion Fruit Syrup, .25 Grenadine, 1 dash Allspice Dram, 1 dash Angostura

Red House Cobbler @ The Up & Up, New York

Description: "Named after William Morris’ Kent estate, the Red House Cobbler is a boozier take on the classic Sherry Cobbler, a perfect springtime drink, and one of the most popular drinks of the 19th century. It is crisp, light, and fruity, balanced with a brooding undertone and that classic Sherry nuttiness on the finish.  It’s a perfect warm weather sipper full of old-world style."—Matt Piacentini, Owner

Ingredients: Gin, Fino Sherry, Lime Juice, and Muddle Raspberries

Two Term @ The Dead Rabbit, New York

Description: "The Two Term is a lovely drink for spring because of the combination of b​right green grapes, the fragrant moscatel Pisco, dry Beefeater gin, and fresh citrus. Because the apple syrup is made with fresh crisp apples and finished with a hint of tarragon, it makes a bright syrup to balance out the citrus and spirits. The dolin blanc and orange bitters round everything out and bind the ingredients together."—Jillian Vose, Head Bartender

Ingredients: 1 oz Beefeater Gin, 1 oz Encanto Moscatel Pisco, 0.75 oz Lemon Juice, 0.75 oz Apple-Tarragon Syrup, 0.5 oz Dolin Blanc, 1 Dash Orange Bitters, 6 Muddled Green Grapes

Park Slope Swizzle @ Clover Club, New York

Description: "I wasn't convinced kale would work in a cocktail until I tried this one. The great thing about this drink is that the bright, crisp, and slightly sweet flavor of kale is very present but without any of the bitterness. Julie was inspired to create it by a kale smoothie she had. That key is the kale syrup she made, out of equal parts fresh kale juice and honey, which plays great with kale's earthiness and texture. The botanicals from the gin and fruit from the apple brandy give the cocktail its backbone while the pineapple and orgeat (almond syrup) help to round out the flavors. The result is a delicious cocktail that is refreshing, unique and a gorgeous shade of deep rich green. The perfect libation to toast the return of spring!"—Tom Macy, Head Bartender

Ingredients: 1.5 oz London Dry Gin, .5 oz Laird's Apple Brandy 7.5 yr, .5 oz kale syrup, .5 oz pineapple juice, .5 oz lemon juice, .25 oz Orgeat Works T'Orgeat

Photo courtesy of Time Out New York/ Liz Clayman

Honeychile Rider @ Butter & Scotch, New York

Description: "This cocktail is wonderful for spring. It's a great orange-y color and it has such bright, refreshing flavors that really pop on the first sip. And there's a spicy kick from the hot honey that carries through to the finish."—Jen Marshall, Beverage Director

Ingredients: 1.5 oz. Dorothy Parker Gin, .5 oz. Hot Honey Syrup, .5 oz. Passionfruit Puree, .5 oz. Lemon Juice, .25 oz. Simple Syrup, 3 drops Tiki Bitters

Mr. Blue Sky @ Sotto, Los Angeles

Description: "Light frothy egg white sour—if a Ramos Gin Fizz and an Aviation cocktail had a baby. The coolest ingredient is the Iris liquor. Influenced by the beautiful Iris flower that is prominent in Firenze and made in Oregon. It has the color of a Robin's egg. This is spring in a glass. It pretty much is drinking a beautiful spring day!”

Ingredients: Lemon juice, Iris, Bitter Truth Violet, egg white, cream, St. George Botanviore, Luxardo Sambuca rinse

Fernet Cocktail @ Ink., Los Angeles

Description: “This cocktail screams spring! It’s a refreshing and seasonal twist on a classic cocktail."

Ingredients: Fernet, passionfruit, aperol, St. Germain, vodka, lemon juice, agave

Dublin Jam @ Pour Vous, Los Angeles

Description: "I created this cocktail specifically for spring, since that's the season for apricots and it's got flowery notes as well as an edible orchid as part of the garnish. It has sweet and sour notes, which feels very refreshing, but it's also slightly warming, which is a perfect balance for spring evenings at Pour Vous."

Ingredients: Jameson black barrel, fresh lemon juice, Cointreau, apricot jam, orange bitters, angostura bitters, orange flower mist

The China Doll @ No Vacancy, Los Angeles

Description: "Light, floral, perfect for spring. Jasmine blooms in the spring and is a comforting, fragrant compliment to the cool evening air.”

Ingredients: Fresh lemon juice, coconut jasmine cream, jasmine water, egg white, Caprock gin

The Sun Also Rises @ Harvard & Stone, Los Angeles

Description: "This is a variation of a cocktail I make called Sun Also Rises, a play on a Hemingway daiquiri with the addition of a drying element, like sherry. I then garnish it with a grapefruit peel and luxardo cherry. Any daiquiri variation to me is spring and Summer appropriate, but this pushes more toward tiki while balancing the richness of aged Agricole with the bone dry grape qualities of bitter or sherry. It's absolutely delicious and is ideal I think by the beach or pool or at an outdoor bar at night."

Ingredients: Avua Amburana Cachaca, CapRock bitter (or a dry amontillado if unavailable), grapefruit syrup, maraschino liqueur, simple syrup, lime juice

Barracho Gazpacho @ BS Taqueria, Los Angeles

Description: "It’s a garden in a glass—the strawberries are perfectly in season right now. That, with the celery, tomato, and beet, it’s really refreshing and the essence of spring and Summer. Not to mention, the color is beautiful, too!”

Ingredients: Single Village Mezcal, Cherry Tomatoes, Celery, Micro Cilantro, Beet Escabeche, Strawberry

Iron Eyes @ Butchers & Barbers, Los Angeles

Description: "Spring is an obvious time for light, floral, and fruit-inspired cocktails to introduce the warmer weather. I went with a different approach and chose to make a bitter and strong cocktail to celebrate the harvest of artichokes. The drink has an initial sweet nutty-ness from the amaretto and carries on to bitter and spicy notes. The drink finishes with a big punch of bark and cola flavors. The flamed artichoke releases a pleasing aroma and heats up to be enjoyed as warmed garnish. The drink is made up of mostly Italian and American spirits so I chose the name Iron Eyes in reference to the actor "Iron Eyes Cody," who was of Italian decent but portrayed Native Americans in over 100 films."

Ingredients: Rittenhouse Rye, Cynar, Lazzaroni Amaretto, Fee Brothers Black Walnut bitters, stirred and served over a big Rock with a Green Chartreuse-flamed artichoke leaf

Barrel-aged White Negroni @ Scarpetta, Los Angeles

Description: "An introductory version to the classic Negroni. Although a regular Negroni is not a very “high proof” drink, in our version the aging process (4 weeks in small 3L wood barrels) helps soften the sharp edge of the gin even further, making it very palatable. And perfect for the hot days of spring/summer. We also garnish it with a beautiful grapefruit peel, which adds fresh bitter/citrus-y oils on top of the ice, and adds a beautiful refreshing smell to the rim of the glass.”

Ingredients: Bombay original dry gin, cocchi americano, dolin blanc, grapefruit peel

Ecto Cooler @ Break Room 86, Los Angeles

Description: "With the cucumber, lime, and sage, the Ecto Cooler is like a spring garden party in your mouth."

Ingredients: Altos Plata Tequila, Noilly Prat dry vermouth, cucumber syrup, sage, lime juice, Bitter Truth celery bitters, Maldon smoked salt

Distant Shores @ La Descarga, Los Angeles

Description: "An elegant update to the Mojito. The addition of Dry Vermouth and absinthe add herby, green tones to the perfect springtime sipper."


Mexican Martini @ Javelina, New York

Description: "The Mexican Martini is a drink far more than the sum of its parts. The unofficial drink of Austin and the Texas Hill Country, especially in the spring when people are drinking outside”—Chris Skillern, Manager

Ingredients: 2 oz Tequila, 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice, 1 oz Cointreau liqueur, ½ oz Olive Juice, splash orange juice

Chāng Pāo @ Fung Tu, New York

Description: “The Chang Pao is a great drink for a warm spring day because it’s light in alcohol and floral thanks to the Osmantus infused Cocchi Americano. It is called "Chāng Pāo" after the golden robes that Buddhist monks wear. The color of the drink is similar.”—Jason Wagner, Beverage Director

Ingredients: 2 oz Osmantus infused Cocchi Americano, sparkling wine, Peychauds Bitters

Dragon Eye Margarita @ Mira Sushi & Izakaya, New York

Description: “Paying homage to the national cocktail of Mexico, we created the perfect margarita using Dragon Fruit. This mildly sweet fruit (aka Pitaya) originated from Mexico and was then transplanted to Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Okinawa through trade routes. The low-calorie Dragon Fruit paired with Japanese yuzu citrus is a perfect refreshingly, light drink to start your spring.”—Andy Lee, Owner

Ingredients: 2 oz. Jose Cuervo, 2 oz. yuzu, 1 lime wedge, 1 lemon wedge, 1 slice Dragon Fruit

Strawberry Rhubarb Shandy @ Café Clover, New York

Description: "Refreshing for spring, this cocktail combines fresh citrus and ripe strawberries with gin. Topped off with Daura gluten free beer, Sprite, and Rhubarb Bitters, the drink combines the perfect amount of tartness for warm weather sipping.”—Johnny Swet

Ingredients: Plymouth, strawberry, rhubarb, estrella, lemon

Green Machine @ The Wren, New York

Description: "Spring is all about fresh green plants and gin. Why not make an herbaceous gin gimlet to match the outdoors?”—Krissy Harris

Ingredients: Fords Gin, dandelion greens, basil syrup, parsley, lime

House of Windsor @ Maison Premiere, New York

Description: "The nectary, ethereal aromatics of Riesling rhyme with grapefruit oil, and Ransom Old Tom adds a woody, more Collins-inspired base. This is a cocktail that will treat nearly any palate to all that a fine Collins can offer."—Will Elliott

Ingredients: Celery bitters, lemon, lemon cordial, Pineau de Charentes, grapefruit Riesling, Ransom

Knob Creek® Smoke & Char

Description: “The Knob Creek Smoke & Char is the ultimate spring cocktail—it combines grilled peaches, fresh basil, citrus and simple syrup with one of my favorites, Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon. The result is a fresh and smoky cocktail that pairs perfectly with the other big, bold flavors that you’ll be grilling up this spring.”—Michael Symon, Celebrity Chef

Ingredients: 2 parts Knob Creek® Smoked Maple Bourbon, 1/2 part fresh Lemon Juice, 1/4 part Demerara Syrup, 2 slices of Charred Peaches, 4 large Basil Leaves

Suitable Indulgence @ Park Hyatt's The Back Room, New York

Description: “The inspiration for this drink comes from the trend of increased use of dairy products in cocktails and fresh springtime ingredients. I really wanted to play around with an ingredient that I have never seen in a cocktail and decided to incorporate Labneh, a strained yoghurt that comes from the Mediterranean. Due to its thick consistency, I balance it out for springtime with fresh lemon juice, honey syrup, blackberries and orange bitters. This cocktail definitely transports you to a spring picnic by the orange trees.”—Fernando Sousa

Ingredients: Fair Vodka, Honey Syrup, Lemon Juice, Blackberries, Barspoon Labneh, Orange Bitters, Peychaud Bitters

Beets by Dre @ Lazy Point, New York

Description: "We love Beets by Dre as a spring cocktail because it's colorful, tasty, and combines some of our favorite things to enjoy during the spring season: fresh juices, herbs, and a complex spirit with lots of botanicals. A perfect pairing with a nice spring afternoon."—Jason LaGarenne

Ingredients: 2 oz Fords Gin, 1 oz Fresh Beet Juice, 1 oz Rosemary Infused syrup, .75oz Fresh Lime Juice

French 75 @ Holiday Cocktail Lounge, New York

Description: "When the weather shifts in Spring, I look for simple, clean flavors. The French 75 is a classic and very refreshing cocktail made with Cognac, which many people think of as a cold weather spirit, but which is actually versatile enough to take you from winter right through spring and into summer."—Michael Neff, Master Mixologist and Beverage Director

Ingredients: 1 1/2 ounces Louis Royer "Force 53" VSOP Cognac, 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice, 1/2 oz simple syrup, 1/4 oz Cointreau

The Link Ray @ The Happiest Hour, New York

Description: "The Link Ray is a great, long, refreshing drink, incorporating flavors that are savory, crisp, and herbaceous, yet more adventurous than the usual lime, mint, and cucumber commonly found in warm weather drinks."—Jim Kearns, Head Bartender

Ingredients: 1 1/2 oz Jalapeño Tequila, Rum or Gin, 3/4 oz lime juice, 2 oz celery juice, 1/2 oz cane syrup, 1/2 oz Suze

Striptease @ Cosme, New York

Description: "Cosme used to be a strip club called Tens. I decided to name this drink Striptease because its a bit sneaky being a combination of Mezcal and tropical flavors."--Yana Volfson, Beverage Director

Ingredients: Vida Mezcal, Dolin Bianco, guanabana juice, lime juice, Absinthe salted rim

The Maserati @ Employees Only, New York

Description: "This cocktail incorporates Fords Gin with fresh lemon juice, basil, Schonhauer Apple Liqueur and a house-made Chamomile Cordial. What's really great about this cocktail is how well the basil compliments the botanicals of the gin as well as the rich flavor profile of the apple liqueur and chamomile cordial. The lemon juice keeps the cocktail snappy and fresh. It's an easy drink to make and even easier to drink; there's no shortage of people who can kick back 4-5 of these drinks and feel refreshed. The house-made chamomile cordial is a unique element. It was conceived by Principal Bartender Milos Zica and uses dried chamomile flowers that are cooked in water and sugar to make a syrup. We add fresh cinnamon sticks, white peppercorns, orange peel and lemon peel. After the cordial has cooled off, we strain the syrup and add Laird's 100 Proof, Bonded Apple Brandy."—Ulysses Vidal, Assistant Bar Manager