Tap the Bottle

The new wave of bottled cocktails
The bottled cocktail spectrum--from NYC's Saxon + Parole and Wallflower, Chicago's Celeste, and Empellón, also in NYC
Bottled Cocktails New York Saxon & Parole Chicago Celeste Empellon East Village Bars

The next time you sidle up to a bar, don't be surprised if you're asked whether you'd like your cocktail by the glass or if you'd rather see the bottle menu.

Some bars go the bottled route for speed. Others are making them solely for the fun of it, with bartenders dipping into their bags of tricks to shake up what's inside the glass.

Sipping Empellón's bottled Paloma | Bottle caps, straws and tags
It's a wash:
Washing the bottle can give an extra jolt of flavor. At Celeste in Chicago, bar manager Fred Sarkis coats each bottle with lime before filling it with the Chelsea Cocktail. The drink, made with celery bitters and gin, is a nod to the Chelsea Football Club, whose fans (naturally) throw celery at their opponents.

The new bubbly: The Chelsea Cocktail is force carbonated too--a nice little gimmick that gives the drinks an old-fashioned soda-pop sense of fun. (Now with booze!) At NYC's Wallflower, Xavier Herit adds a hint of fizz in-bottle to the Adam & Eve, a Calvados- and sherry-based cocktail that gets its tart kick from a cranberry and apple shrub and Verjus.

Large-format fun: Why should single servings have all the fun? When James Syhabout overhauled the menu at Oakland's Hawker Fare to encompass more shared plates, he decided to make the drinking experience communal, too. The restaurant now serves its rum and brandy punch in 750 ml bottles, letting the flavors meld for a day or two before serving. You can order the punch by the glass, too. But why bother?

Wallflower 235 W. 12th St. New York NY 10011 Celeste 111 W. Hubbard St. Chicago IL 60654 312-828-9000 Hawker Fare 2300 Webster St. Oakland CA 94612 510-832-8896 Empellón Cocina 105 First Ave. New York NY 10065 212-780-0999 Empellón Taqueria 230 W. 4th St. New York NY 10014 212-367-0999 Saxon & Parole 316 Bowery New York NY 10012 212-254-0350


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