Crafted cocktails aren’t cheap, but sometimes they’re worth the big bucks if mixed expertly with a creative touch you can’t find at home with your liquor cabinet and mixing tools. But with a cocktail lounge (or ten) on just about every street in NYC, how do you know which ones are worth the money and which ones are overcharging for a cocktail that’s, well, not that special?
- It makes sense that a quality cocktail should be made by someone with knowledge of their art. Test out your bartender’s expertise by asking for recommendations or asking for a cocktail customized to your tastes. If your bartender can work on the fly and make something delicious while verbally demonstrating their knowledge, that’s a good sign.
- Multiple outlets including GQ point out that it says a lot when a bartender greets you immediately upon arrival. This demonstrates friendliness and a level of attention that will likely be indicative of your experience throughout the evening.
- Check out the garnishes and juices. If they look dried out or aren’t fresh, that’s a problem. Fresh fruits and zests are always going to result in a delicious smell when you bring the drink to your lips and a well-rounded flavor.
- Watch carefully when your drinks are being made. Does your bartender strain the drink onto the new ice? A cocktail should never be poured over the ice it was shaken with—not only will the appearance be lackluster, but your beverage will dilute too quickly.
So, the next time you’re enjoying a night out at a cocktail lounge in NYC, take notice of these details. Your new favorite hangout could be one of the best cocktail bars in the Big Apple.