Robert Simonson

Robert Simonson writes about cocktails, spirits and bars for the New York Times. He is the author of The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World's First Classic Cocktail (2014) and A Proper Drink (September 2016).

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Let Me Tell You the Rules: Lessons from Harry’s Bar

Famed for being the birthplace of the Bellini, Harry’s Bar in Venice has developed an ethos all its own.

When Did Cocktail Menu Debuts Become News?

At some of today’s most highly regarded bars, a new menu is no longer just a list of drinks.

In Search of the Ultimate Martini

We asked 27 of today’s top bartenders to submit their finest recipe for the Martini—then blind-tasted them all to find the best of the best. Robert Simonson on the search for the perfect take on the classic, and what we learned about the drink along the way.

In Search of the Ultimate Manhattan

We asked 17 of America’s best bartenders to submit their finest recipe for the Manhattan—then blind-tasted them all to find the best of the best. Robert Simonson on the search for the ideal Manhattan, and what we learned about the drink along the way.

Inside the Bars That Kicked Off San Francisco’s Cocktail Renaissance

Most of the bars that sparked San Francisco’s cocktail renaissance still remain as relevant as ever. Here, Robert Simonson and Kelly Puleio go on a tour of the places—and drinks—that started it all.

How Do Bartenders Select Their Spirits?

Amidst today’s ever-expanding spirits landscape, how do bartenders go about selecting that one perfect brand for each drink?

A Bar Crawl Through the Craft Cocktail Revival

Most of the bars that kicked off the NYC cocktail revival are still as relevant as ever. Robert Simonson and Daniel Krieger go on a tour of the bars (and drinks) that started it all.

What Should a Sidecar Really Taste Like?

A bona fide Prohibition-era classic, the Sidecar has struggled to successfully re-emerge in an era bent on retooling old recipes. Robert Simonson on why a good version of the drink is so elusive, and whether there’s a modern archetype to be found.

Vodka’s Unsung Role in the Cocktail Renaissance

As the preferred spirit of the masses, vodka has become the victim of mixology dogma—with some bartenders going so far as to blacklist it from their menus. But the spirit has played a significant, albeit overlooked, role in the cocktail revolution.

On the Enduring Influence of Sasha Petraske

In early January, a collection of bartenders who all worked with the late Sasha Petraske gathered to remember this man of outsized influence on the craft cocktail movement. Below is an edited transcript of that conversation, moderated by Robert Simonson.