10 essential winter-to-spring cocktails

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  • Victor's Secret at PDT
    Before blood oranges fade from the market, the wintry fruit star in this garnet drink. The combination of dark citrus and spicy Rittenhouse Rye produces surprising chocolaty notes. A pair of amari---the full-bodied, artichoke-based Cynar; and the sherrylike Cardamaro, made from cardoons---add weight and bitterness to the juicy ambrosia. 113 St. Marks Pl between First Ave and Ave A (212-614-0386). $15.

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    John Lee Hooker at The Summit Bar
    Co-owner/mixologist Greg Seider combines the elements of blues legend Hooker's famous ditty when mixing this drink: one bourbon (Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight), one Scotch (Peat Monster) and one beer (Hop Stoopid). Dashes of cinnamon, agave nectar and sarsaparilla bitters lend spice, and a squeeze of lemon juice gives a bright boost. 133 Ave C between 8th and 9th Sts (no phone). $12.

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    The Psychic Heart at Hotel Delmano
    Bartender Sam Anderson's balanced quaff gets its funky overripe fruit flavors from a blend of mescal, pear eau-de-vie and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth. Agave nectar adds sweetness, lime juice provides acid, and a hearty shake with egg white adds a layer of thick foam to the nip. 82 Berry St at North 9th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-387-1945). $11.

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Salt-N-Pepa at Vandaag
    Don't be fooled by this dainty alabaster sipper: The beauty has kick. Star-anise-flavored aquavit, spiked with fiery red Fresno chili pepper, is melded with blanco tequila, lime juice and agave nectar. The aromatic rim of salt, fennel pollen and dried orange peel gives the zippy drink a celery-like fragrance and crystalline sparkle. 103 Second Ave at 6th St (212-253-0470). $12.

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Aperitivo Cocktail at Ai Fiori
    Innovative mixologist Eben Freeman infuses Beefeater gin with potent Persian saffron for two days, and then mixes it with honeylike Dolin Blanc vermouth and absinthe. Flavorless Lactart milk acid, from chemist Darcy O'Neil's line of forgotten soda-shop elixirs, and Ligurian lemon soda add the fizz; a fennel frond adds color. 400 Fifth Ave between 36th and 37th Sts (212-613-8660). $14.

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    King Bee at Fort Defiance
    Proprietor St. John Frizell calls this brisk tea-and-lemon tipple a "boozy Arnold Palmer." He steeps In Pursuit of Tea Darjeeling in viscous, honey-distilled Comb vodka. The resulting tannic tincture is mixed with lemon juice, herbal Bndictine and Angostura bitters, and topped with a splash of prosecco. 365 Van Brunt St at Dikeman St, Red Hook, Brooklyn (347-453-6672). $9.

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Casa Verde at Locanda Verde
    Herbs, vegetables and flowers all get a fair shake in this refresher. Crisp cucumber puree plays on a base of pungent Banks 5 Island rum, aromatic elderflower liqueur and absinthe. Tarragon syrup enhances the drink's grassy notes, while bursts of lime and white balsamic vinegar balance it out with tartness. 377 Greenwich St between Franklin and North Moore Sts (212-925-3797). $14.

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Dr. Funk at Macao Trading Co.
    This tweak on the classic tiki cocktail swaps in the rice-based Thai rum Mekhong for the usual Caribbean variety. Cucumber, lime, strawberry and mint bring freshness, while pomegranate grenadine peps it up with cardamom and clove flavors. Ginger beer and absinthe finish it with verve. 311 Church St between Lispenard and Walker Sts (212-431-8750). $14.

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    French Affair at The Raines Law Room
    Head barkeep Meaghan Dorman mixes a stunning French twosome: Rich, velvety cognac and herbaceous Yellow Chartreuse are paired with muddled strawberries and lemon juice in this charmer. Poured over cracked ice and crowned with a crimson berry, the easy-sipping concoction is ideal for balmy spring tippling. 48 W 17th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (raineslawroom.com). $13.

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Tahitian 75 at 1534
    The classic French 75---gin and lemon juice topped with champagne---is the inspiration for this glittering crimson flute. In a Polynesian twist, organic hibiscus-flower syrup imbues the drink with fruity sweetness, tealike tannins and a deep-red hue. The finishing touch: a spiky candied hibiscus. 20 Prince St between Elizabeth and Mott Sts (212-966-5073). $12.

Victor's Secret at PDT
Before blood oranges fade from the market, the wintry fruit star in this garnet drink. The combination of dark citrus and spicy Rittenhouse Rye produces surprising chocolaty notes. A pair of amari---the full-bodied, artichoke-based Cynar; and the sherrylike Cardamaro, made from cardoons---add weight and bitterness to the juicy ambrosia. 113 St. Marks Pl between First Ave and Ave A (212-614-0386). $15.

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