Craft cocktails are on the rise in a big way. Post modern versions of the cocktail bar have taken over Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and are spilling over onto Long Island, (pun intended.) In this new golden era of craft cocktails, it all came together at the NY Cocktail Expo...where the very best in mixology showcase their amazing cocktails, exhibiting the top spirits.
Here are the Best Cocktail Bars on Long Island, NY.
Cork and Kerry: Floral Park/Rockville Centre
Finding a speakeasy on Long Island is no easy feat but, lo and behold, the dimly lit hideaway playing prohibition era music is hidden behind a coffee shop called, "The Roast." Don't be fooled, behind the telephone booth is a magical world of creative mixology headed up by bartender, Doug Brickel. This will quickly become a favorite stop on your list and will be hard to stay away from for too long, even any night of the week. The "Breakfast Old Fashioned" will leave you with the taste of espresso on your palate through layers of classic and post modern flavor with bourbon and maple syrup. Taking 1st place for their now famous cocktail, the "Lucky #9", it gives its sensory pleasing effect through acid adjusted citrus and special milk washed Hendrick's Gin. At Cork and Kerry, the delectable bites make for a full cocktail and foodie experience in an authentic environment that's hard to keep to yourself. The second location in Rockville Centre is set in an old Victorian style home without any sign in front at all. Yet behind the creaky front door is a prohibition cocktail lounge of whimsical wonders.
Hush Bistro: Farmingdale
Home to three-time CHOPPED Champion, Celebrity Chef Marc Anthony Bynum, Hush American Bistro relishes in the richness of its bountiful menu of delicious selections, like the 28-day dry aged beef HB Burger and Berkshire Pork Tenderloin and its cocktail program is absolutely glorious. Seeing the same care go into the drinks as the entree shows true care for the experience. I was lucky to find Hush Bistro on a whim, walking in Farmingdale when the weather was sweet. Now the Long Island foodie gem is an award-winning cocktail haven, from the smokey "Oaxacan Kick" with Mezcal, Bourbon and lime to the bubbly "Blugrass Mix Mule", fizzing with ginger beer, lemon and strawberry. Cheers to many more visits to the great Hush Bistro.
Crafting Seasonal Cocktails at Hush Bistro!
Roots Bistro Gourmand: West Islip
Draped in lush greenery and contemporary yet timeless and forestial decor, Roots Bistro Gourmand is the perfect environment to accompany its one-of-a-kind food and cocktail experience. They have a chef tasting I can only describe as a flavor adventure, plated like a fantasy set from an 80s film with flavors and amazing textures that open doors in your palate that you may not have tapped into ever before. It is just so tremendously delicious and so well put together. The plate literally looks like a Jim Henson set meets geometric crop circles. During my experience, I thought I was in Manhattan and had left Long Island. However, "Roots" has a thumbprint all their own and it shows in their top-notch and unique take on truly crafted cocktails curated by Bartender Mark Seamen. There is no lack of creativity here when it comes to their spin on everything they serve. Also winning awards for their brilliant take on cocktails, Roots Bistro is on a whole other level you just have to go and fall in love with them like the rest of us.
"Beet the Heat": House pepper aged 123 organic silver tequila, brovo amaro no. 4, beer water, orange/ coriander simple syrup,bittermens habanero bitters, rimmed with toasted pecans, sugar and black pepper
Pentimento Restaurant: Stonybrook
Staying true to the rural flavors of the richest Italian cultures with standout cuisine, the spirit of rustic Italy lives on in their tremendous cocktails put together by Bartender David Marzano. The libations are mindful of the meals and pair extremely well. The "Garden Cocktail" with Hendricks Gin, arugula, lime, honey and soda is so delightfully simple, letting the flavor of the herb shine through in a refreshing manor. "Tea Time" with Dubliner Irish Whiskey, Earl Grey syrup and lemon is a tea lovers dream cocktail, keeping the spirit in the background while the tea flavor stands forward. On an Island filled with Italian restaurants, Pentimento is a gem.
Left Coast Kitchen and Cocktails: Merrick
With bold and full flavors, leaving nothing left to the imagination, the cocktails are a flavor bomb sensation. They taste how the pictures look, larger than life. Its convenient location off the Meadowbrook Parkway makes for an easy trip to grab some great drinks and awesome food. On the "Mezz Cali" cocktail, the smokey note rings through the tingly sweetness. Garnished with rosemary and pomegranate, this drink is colorful and very presentable, let alone amazing to taste. The "Large Calibur's" tropical look will fool you a bit, for it is a nice, cool and perfectly bitter drink. The wide rimmed glass will allow you to appreciate the citrus rimmed edge for the full experience. Mint and orange zest cushion this mysterious and seriously, freaking good cocktail. Nestled behind floral binders, this one is a cocktail for the ages.
Inspired by New Orleans old world charm with a live soulful music setting and upscale bar, new arrival, Treme, is already a favorite in the area. With gumbo and Jumbalaya a flowin' deliciousness into your belly. The Muffaletta Sandwich with layers of provolone, pepperoni, salami, spicy coppa, mortadella with muffaletta salad served on semolina bread is just stupid good. Now throw in some of well traveled and studied Cocktail Program Manager Josh Thompson's passion for great drinks and you've got magic. The signature cocktail menu will have you on a tasting adventure to the south and beyond.
Tocolo Cantina: Garden City
When you find great outside the box Mexican food and cold cocktails pouring good mezcal and top shelf tequila mixing magic, you have to tell people about it. It is such a treasure to have Tocolo Cantina on Long Island. This fantastic catch lights up the day and night with the spirit of its uplifting cocktails shaken with fruit and peppers blended with the rhythm and passion of the one and only Tocolo Cantina.
"Alitas de Pollo", chicken wings, cascabel chile, cilantro, creamy dipping sauce
Tullulah's: Bay Shore
For something truly unique, Tullulah's encapsulates the heart of the cocktail adventurer. Their crafted drinks will get the wheels in your head turning with simplicity and complexity blended together seamlessly. From bacon-wrapped dates to brown sugar glazed chorizo, the tapas menu will have your head spinning and wondering just when you get to come back for more boozie foodie adventures!
Serving their delicious street corn at the NY Cocktail Expo was Mesita, known for over 93 Tequilas and outstanding above par cocktails at their Rockville Centre location. Enjoy them with their amazing Mexican food. Newly opened, Nawlins Seafood Company, also came to the NY Cocktail Expo to bring what they had to the table. The Expo was filled with libation lovers and the lovely models of Veronica Pin Up, setting the scene with their prohibition style looks and sipping on the top drinks made with expo official spirits like Tullamore D.E.W., Reyka Vodka, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino of Haus Alpenz and the rich flavor of Smooth Ambler Bourbon from Martin Scott Wines. Just as the cocktail menus change with the season, I'll be looking forward to the next NY Cocktail Expo. In the meantime...let the cocktail and foodie tours commence, in these glory days of the craft cocktail. Cheers!
Good Times at the NY Cocktail Expo!