Each of the Best New Bars of 2023 has a clear mission, whether it’s to make nonalcoholic cocktails more thoughtful and accessible, to practice sustainability through hyperlocal ingredients or simply to have a good time. These ideas, naturally, are reflected in their drinks. So if you can’t make it to every single spot—though they all deserve a place on your must-visit list—the next best thing is to taste what they’re all about, one cocktail at a time. Here are five recipes from the best new bars of 2023.
Unlike some of the other nonalcoholic offerings from Shawnee, Kansas’ Wild Child, the Sound & Fury does not require home-distilling equipment to make. Carrot, mango and tomatillo juices come together to form the base, while lime and habanero vinegar (“a shrub that doesn’t taste like a vinaigrette,” according to owner Jay Sanders) bring an acidic kick.
One of three featured drinks on Room for Improvement’s dedicated Daiquiri menu, this spin on the modern classic subs in génépy for the expected Chartreuse. The small but considered change is typical of the bar’s approach, which sticks to the classics, often incorporating subtle tweaks, like using “cranpari” cordial in their house Cosmo.
In this playful highball, Nine Bar owners Lily Wang and Joe Briglio channel the flavors of one of their favorite summertime treats: Italian ice, albeit with some unexpected additions. Wang and Briglio describe Nine Bar as an “Asian-ish cocktail bar,” and the Neon City exemplifies their approach with its shochu base, complemented by measures of sake, Calpico and baijiu. It all comes together to form a layered foundation to which aperitivo liqueur and fresh lemon juice bring the expected tangy citrus notes of the drink’s inspiration. Wang describes it as “refreshing, a little funky and pleasantly tart.”
Though not explicitly an Espresso Martini riff, Fred Beebe’s Sippin’ the Tea answers the call for anyone at his hyperlocal Philadelphia bar, which sources ingredients exclusively from east of the Mississippi. In this recipe, black tea–infused vodka is shaken with two types of amari and condensed oat milk flavored with pandan leaves grown right on the bar’s front window.
At the New York bar Superbueno, drinks are grounded in Mexican American tradition, many of them designed to honor specific ingredients and dishes. The Green Mango Martini, one of the bar’s bestsellers, highlights mango through both an infusion of the unripe fruit in tequila and a mango eau de vie. Tying everything together is a drop of costeño chile oil, which evokes the spice of Tajín sprinkled on a fruit.
Though San Francisco's Trick Dog is a decade into service, it's still not out of tricks. A smash hit from the bar’s first menu, the frothy tequila-based sour remains one of the few early drinks for which the bar keeps all of the ingredients on hand to make at customers’ request—and those requests still roll in, 10 years in.