Truth Prevails at Amor y Amargo
Boozy and intense, this toasty drink seems tailor-made for combating the season’s lingering chill. Barkeeps here temper Redbreast Irish whiskey with baking-spice flavors, derived from pours of Jäger-like Becherovka and Bittermens Peppercake Gingerbread bitters. Boosting the whiskey’s caramel notes is a rich and fragrant measure of Bittermens amber vermouth. 443 E 6th St at Ave A (amoryamargo.com). $12.
The Ice Melter at Michael’s New York
Michael Flannery relies on Louis Royer VSOP (Force 53), a smooth and aromatic cognac, to give this bold number its dried-fruit-and-vanilla spine. The addition of ruby-hued Hum liqueur—a peppery blend of kafir lime, cardamom, ginger and other botanicals—provides the warming qualities, while a bright blast of lime juice and prosecco reminds you that spring has finally arrived. 24 W 55th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-767-0555, michaelsnewyork.com). $12.
El Embarcadero at the Bar Downstairs at Andaz 5th Ave
Walking the line between a Negroni and a margarita, this sipper balances the lightness of Herradura blanco tequila with the deep raisiny notes of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth. Fresh lemon and pineapple juices, along with a grapefruit peel garnish, take advantage of wintry citrus, and a Tobala mescal float gives the drink its roasty nose. 485 Fifth Ave at 41st St (212-601-1234). $16.
Imperial Opal at Maison Premiere
Even better than watching head bartender Maxwell Britten deftly twirl two bar spoons at the same time is savoring the finely balanced results of his handiwork. To wit: this drink, which stars fennel-laced Tenneyson absinthe. Britten deploys Chinchón, a Spanish anise-flavored liqueur, to infuse a sweet licorice essence, and a dose of earthy yellow Chartreuse. A rosewater float is the final aromatic flourish. 298 Bedford Ave between Grand and South 1st Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-335-0446, maisonpremiere.com). $12.
Sicilian Choke at King Restaurant
PDT and Momofuku vet Don Lee elevates vodka—a much-maligned spirit among cocktail connoisseurs—with this refreshing, season-straddling drink. Lee smartly uses the booze as a neutral base, layering complex flavors on top of it: juice from the last wintertime haul of tart Sicilian blood oranges and Cynar, an Italian amaro derived from artichokes. 5 King St at Sixth Ave (212-255-0700). $12.
Ostend Fizz at Vandaag
Head bartender Martim Smith-Mattsson (Madam Geneva) uses citrus and honey to nudge wintry kumquats and pine-infused aquavit into vernal territory. Combier orange liqueur, fresh lemon juice and soda brighten the resulting mixture, which is capped off with a float of Peychaud’s bitters and a candied-kumquat garnish. 103 Second Ave at 6th St (212-253-0470, vandaagnyc.com). $12.
Floradora at Lantern’s Keep
Inspired by a popular 1900s stage musical of the same name, this gin-based tipple relies on lime juice and fresh muddled berries to achieve its dazzling ripe flavor. The addition of house-made ginger syrup and club soda brings spice and fizz. Iroquois Hotel, 49 W 44th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-453-4287, thelanternskeep.com). $14.
Speak Low at Angel’s Share
Bartender Shingo Gokan mixes two forms of aged Bacardi rum with Osborne Pedro Ximenez sherry to create this surprisingly complex quaff. Funky and herbaceous Japanese matcha tea—suffused with the buttery rums—teases out their earthy flavors, while tart yuzu undercuts their richness. 8 Stuyvesant St at Third Ave (212-777-5415). $15.
Konik Tonic at the Richardson
This zippy and unfussy drink is made with a haul of fresh ingredients. Muddled cucumbers, vegetal Bak’s Zubrowka Bison Grass vodka and bittersweet, rhubarb-based Zucca amaro bring the pastoral aromatics, while lemon juice and Cocchi Americano (a Lillet-like aperitif wine) give the tipple its citrusy brightness. 451 Graham Ave at Richardson St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-389-0839, therichardsonnyc.com). $10.
Sullivan County Democrat at Press Lounge
Ramps, or garlicky wild leeks, are the ultimate springtime score at Greenmarkets around the city. Restaurants eagerly await their brief window of availability each year, deploying them in seasonal specials and even in cocktails. Among the latter is this savory drink: House-made “harvest” vermouth—flavored with Bosc pears, Honeycrisp apples, cassis bark and more—is combined with a dose of small-batch Peace vodka from Catskill Distilling Company and a garnish of pickled ramps. 653 Eleventh Ave at 48th St (212-757-2224, thepresslounge.com). $16.
You won’t find a Stella or Budweiser at The Wilky. The name of the game here is craft beer, and at any given time, the bar keeps as many as 18 different brews on tap, plus a few more in cans or bottles. The selection changes seasonally, but on a recent visit, the suds list included Evil Twin Modern IPA ($8 for 16 ounces), Clown Shoes Clementine ($7 for 16 ounces) and Founders Backwoods Bastard ($9 for 9 ounces). If you’re not sure what to order, one of the bartenders will be happy to help you narrow it down—most of them are also Certified Cicerone beer experts. The Wilky also offers a few seasonal cocktails for non-beer drinkers, like the Smoke After with mezcal, Amaro Averna, lemon and Thai chili bitters ($11). All that drinking is sure to work up an appetite, so why not order something off the menu of snacks and sandwiches? The jumbo soft pretzel ($8) or cuban sandwich ($11) ought to hit the spot.
Venue says: “Check Out This Craft Beer Bar in Brooklyn-18 beers on tap, wine, cocktails, & food. ➜ Get YourFirst Beer Free: http://thewilky.com/timeout”