Six Extraordinary Cocktails To Celebrate Spring

From a breezy iichiko shochu beverage to an elegant interpretation of a key lime pie and other seasonal favorites

As seasons turn and stimulate our senses in exciting new ways, opportunities often arise to pair cocktails with everything from changing moods to more optimistic weather. When coupled with the imagination of bartenders, seasonal change allows us to reconsider the flavors of beloved spirits and explore those of new brands. The following six mixed drinks step outside of the ordinary to celebrate spring with a voluptuous bouquet of notes.

Courtesy of Harridan

The Royal

From The Carlyle Hotel’s beloved haunt, Bemelmans Bar, comes The Royal—a sweetly layered and citric martini variation crafted from CH favorite Harridan Vodka. It’s one of the most technical cocktails produced at Bemelmans, with two immersions and foam derived from a siphon, according to Dimitrios Michalopoulos, the historic hot spot’s food and beverage manager. “The lemon and orange flavors that Bemelmans uses in The Royal highlight the natural citrus notes in Harridan, while the white chocolate and coconut foam accentuates the subtle sweetness Harridan carries from its New York corn base,” says Bridgette Taylor, the slightly macabre spirit’s founder and CEO.

The Royal
2 oz Harridan Vodka infused with butterfly pea flower
.25 oz orange syrup,
2 drops saline solution,
.50 oz lemon juice
Shake over ice. Strain into a coupe. Top with white chocolate foam infused with coconut.

Chamomile Sazerac

One of many highlights from the spring cocktail menu of NYC’s legendary Dante, the Chamomile Sazerac is a lightly herbaceous play on the classic. The pairing of Suntory Toki Japanese whisky and Seven Tails Brandy lends structure, while absinthe and several different types of chamomile essence act as punctuation.

Chamomile Sazerac
1 oz Seven Tails Brandy
1 oz Suntory Toki
.5 oz Poli Camomilla liqueur
.125 oz Pernod Absinthe
.25 oz chamomile syrup
4 dashes of chamomile tincture
4 dashes of Peychaud’s
Stir over ice. Serve in a frozen rocks glass. Garnish with lemon oils.

by David Graver


Bar Goto Niban‘s nuanced, refreshing Koji-San cocktail is reason enough to stock iichiko shochu at home. A rich and flavorful premium expression of the distilled Japanese spirit, iichiko is the first shochu to be embraced by top bar owners and bartenders in the US. “Shochu is a really casual drink in Japan, served at an izakaya,” explains Tetsuro Miyazaki, the GM of US Operations at the brand. “No one thought it would be a fit for a cocktail bar in the US.” Kenta Goto, the acclaimed founder of Park Slope’s Bar Goto Niban (and the Lower East Side’s Bar Goto), says that is changing. Goto reinforces iichiko Saiten (a bold 43% ABV shochu developed to hold its own in mixed drinks) with mezcal but uses simple syrup and celery juice for levity. It’s luscious, layered and vegetal.

2 oz iichiko Saiten
.5 tsp mezcal
4.5 tsp lime juice
5 tsp simple syrup
2 tsp celery juice
Combine all ingredients except for celery juice in a shaker tin. Shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass. Rim with Dashi Sal. Float celery juice on top.

by Emmanuel Rosario

Key Lime Pie

This May, NYC’s Double Chicken Please was bestowed with the honor of top bar in North America at North America’s 50 Best Bars Awards. Founded by GN Chan and Faye Chen, the conceptual destination continues to impress with otherworldly cocktails, some of which reimagine the essence of classic dishes—like Key Lime Pie. Anyone who has taken a bite of the distinct dessert will recognize all of the flavors represented in this delicious drink. The key to success, aside from pure imagination, is Empirical‘s “The Plum, I  Suppose” spirit.

Key Lime Pie
30ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
15ml Empirical “The Plum, I Suppose”
25ml lime juice
15ml winter melon syrup
20ml heavy cream
20ml egg white
15ml rich syrup
45ml club soda
Mix components together. Shake and top with club soda and lime bitters spray.

by David Graver

Causeway Cup

Developed by Jac’s on Bond head bartender, Trevor Langer, the Causeway Cup defies all expectation. Its centerpiece, the complex, ultra-premium tequila Volcan X.A, contributes notes of vanilla, cooked agave and a bit of spice. Pineapple, lime, Suze and Midori together support the resounding celebratory palate. It’s a pleasure to sip at the thoughtfully designed subterranean venue—but now that Volcan X.A is headed to retail shelves in more states, it’s also a delight to shake up at home.

Causeway Cup
1.5 oz Volcan X.A
.75 oz Midori
.25 oz Suze
1.5 oz Pineapple Juice
.5 oz Lime Juice
.5 Simple Syrup
Shake. Strain into wine glass with ice. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with an orange wheel.

Courtesy of Hendrick’s

Strawberry Sundance

One year ago, we chronicled the cocktails from Formula 1’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix. This year, Hendrick’s returned to dazzle attendees with an array of cocktails to savor in the sunshine. Of the trio, our favorite remains the Strawberry Sundance, which employs a mint-infused strawberry syrup that elevates the gin’s abundance of botanicals.

Strawberry Sundance
2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
1 oz mint-infused strawberry syrup
1 oz lemon juice
2 oz club soda
Combine all ingredients with ice. Lightly stir and serve. Garnish with a strawberry and mint.

Hero image courtesy of Harridan Vodka