New York City bartenders have been leading the country when it comes to going beyond both tequila and mezcal. Most notable is the rise of sotol, a spirit distilled from the Dasylirion wheeleri succulent (which isn’t technically an agave, but is a close relative). Other agave spirits taking root in New York bars include bacanora and raicilla.
Below are suggestions for some of the most interesting margarita alternatives worth seeking out in New York.
A glance at my scotch or mezcal collections should tip you off to my love of smoky flavors. Though those liquors are typically my go-to building blocks for a smoky glass at home, I’ve long marveled at the actual smoke employed to create some of my most memorable cocktails when dining out.
Crown Royal Cask 16, housemade cherry vanilla bitters, hickory-smoked syrup, vanilla cognac (also housemade, I believe), set in an antique cloche to pull in the flavors of smoking hickory chips and vanilla pods.
Once removed from the smoking bell jar the Manhattan and its hand-chipped ice sphere provided me with the longest, smokiest finish I’d yet experienced (at the time, I was not yet a scotch fan). By fully smoking the drink in its glass, the ice, glassware, and your very hand become part of the immersive experience.