While boozy, stirred cocktails are a winter go-to, long, bubbly drinks are the domain of spring—ideal refreshers on cool evenings and harbingers of warmer weather. For that in-between season, though, a combination of the two can offer a pleasing break in the routine, especially when those bright bubbles are offset by richer ingredients like chamomile-infused rye, nutty oloroso sherry and smoky Scotch. When you’re not sure what to crave, a full-bodied, effervescent drink satisfies that unpredictable temporal sliver that we wander through on our way to spring.
Consider the Treasure Chest, Natasha David’s low-proof drink that combines red wine (David’s beloved gamay, specifically), chai-spiced sherry, cinnamon syrup and Lillet Rouge. “Drinking low-ABV cocktails enables you to be more social, and in the winter time when it’s dark and cold, engaging with others is super important,” says David, who swears by this lightly fizzy riff on mulled wine during the holidays and into the warmer seasons.
Warm, woodsy flavors also make up the base of Ryan Maybee’s In The Pines, which combines the smoke of chamomile-laced rye with génépy, all brightened with vanilla syrup, lemon juice and Champagne. Ancho Reyes chili liqueur offers similar warmth in Brooklyn bartender Shannon Ponche’s The Edsel; named for a short-lived Ford model from the ’50s, this mix of oloroso sherry, Campari and sweet vermouth—plus a topper of sparkling wine, natch—drinks like a rich riff on the Negroni Sbagliato.
The Dove Dispatch from Meaghan Dorman also leans on a kick of pepper, combining grapefruit and Campari as a bitter base for tequila and an unconventional red bell pepper syrup. Between the sweetness of the pepper, the chili salt rim and the spirituous kick, the cocktail drinks like a transitional riff on the Paloma.
Lastly, in the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, Giuseppe Gonzalez of New York’s brand-new Suffolk Arms contrasts Scotch—a quintessential winter spirit—with spring-ready vegetable juices and that staple of warm weather and lawn parties: Pimm’s. The result is boozy, earthy and warming, yet refreshing—the cocktail equivalent of the perfect trench coat.