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Three Cocktails to Try

New cocktails from Starlite, Sycamore Den, and Panama 66


Sycamore Den's Behind Blue Eyes | Photo by Lori Sokolowski

Cocktail spots are rolling out their spring menus, turning to lighter spirits and seasonal flavors. Here are three new drinks that are worth a try:


Behind Blue Eyes

Where: Sycamore Den
What’s in it: Absolut Elyx vodka, gin, Lillet Blanc, Bénédictine, and Angostura orange bitters
Creator: Jesse Ross

Fans of a well-made martini will appreciate this take on two classics: The Vesper (gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc) and the Poet’s Dream (gin, dry vermouth, Bénédictine, and orange bitters). The Lillet Blanc, a light, fragrant French aperitif wine, gives the drink a lift while the Bénédictine’s herbal notes add a nice roundness. "We were going for a drink that would be strong yet delicate, a boozy and still refreshing spring/summer cocktail,” Ross says.

Also try: Direct Sunlight (blanco tequila, dry vermouth, fresh lemon juice, house-made hibiscus syrup)



Starlite's Belarus

Where: Starlite
What’s in it: Zubrowka, lemon juice, Angostura bitters, Herbsaint rinse, lemon verbena syrup
Creators: Jack Reynolds and Dmitri Dziensuwski

Zubrowka, a Polish vodka—banned in the U.S. until a few years ago—is distilled with an herbal-flavored grass from an ancient forest where bison graze. The vodka’s smooth, woodsy sweetness is the base for one of the more interesting cocktails I’ve had in a while. The Herbsaint rinse adds a nice hint of anise and the syrup, made from lemon verbena grown in Reynolds’ wife’s garden, is lovely.

Also try: The Addison (Kinahan’s Irish Whiskey, Amaro Nonino, and orange bitters, with a mezcal rinse)


The Botanical Garden

Where: Panama 66
What’s in it: Amaro Montenegro, gin, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice, honey syrup, cardamom bitters
Creator: Brandon Cardwell

One sip of this cocktail and I was already planning to order a second one. “I'm a huge fan of Italian amaro,” Cardwell says, “which gives it that rich, earthy flavor profile accompanied by the bright citrus and honey notes.” Indeed, the choice of honey syrup, as opposed to another sweetener, is what puts The Botanical Garden over the top.

Also try: Summer in Oaxaca (reposado tequila, chili de arbol-infused Aperol, tangerine juice, lime juice, simple syrup, dried-fruit bitters)

Got suggestions for a future column? Write to 2kellydavis@gmail.com.

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