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The Munchies: Intriguing Cocktails

In case you havent heard, The Munchies Awards are happening now! These five bars made the cut on the nominees list due to their ingenious cocktail creations.
By NY Barfly

Got foodie faves? Voting closes soon for the Munchies: People’s Choice Food Awards, so click your vote now for the foods, personalities and restaurants that make your mouth water! And remember, you can vote once a day until April 30. VOTE NOW.

Today, Tablespoon blogger nybarfly salutes the Most Intriguing Cocktail Bar category of the Munchies Awards with his take on the five nominees.

In case you haven’t heard, The Munchies: People’s Choice Food Awards are happening now! The whole thing is making me pretty thirsty.

Well, why not reach for an out-of-the-ordinary cocktail? Five intriguing cocktail bars made the cut on the nominees list, and whether you’re looking for a rum drink to remember in Chicago or a classic Manhattan in the Big Apple, these haunts will hook you up with some drinks that you’ll never forget (unless you have one too many…then your memory might be a tad hazy). Here are the drinks to try if you’re going to stop by for a sip.

The Violet Hour

This swanky cocktail bar in Chicago lays down the law. A set of rules is posted in the bar—don’t even think of wearing a baseball hat or using your cell phone while seated in the dimly lit lounge. And if you’re going to order a Jager Bomb (or a “bomb of any kind”), prepare to be kicked out. One libation you’re sure to love is the Never Surrender—a mix of rum, Green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and lime. One sip and you’ll decide to make your last stand at this bar. Can't make it to Chicago? Try this Juliet and Romeo Cocktail recipe, courtesy of The Violet Hour.

The Monkey Bar

Famed bartender Julie Reiner recently redid the cocktail list at this old-time favorite, which seems designed to appeal to Don Draper and company circa the late ’50s. The room is bedecked with old school touches, from red leather banquettes to murals on the wall featuring famous writers and musicians like Ella Fitzgerald. Reiner’s cocktail list pays homage to the classics while showcasing drinks you’re unlikely to find elsewhere. Unless you’re able to find a drink called the Monkey Gland (gin, orange juice, sugar, molasses, and absinthe) at your neighborhood bar.

The Aviary

Chicago chef Grant Achatz reached the highest levels of fine dining with his restaurant Alinea, but he didn’t stop there. For his next project, he decided to move away from grub and focus on what’s in your glass. Even though the medium is different, the techniques are the same—Achatz is renowned for his modernist techniques, utilizing things like liquid nitrogen and flavorful, homemade foams to elevate his offerings to something that a mad-scientist might pour (if he really liked well-crafted drinks). All of the beverages are served in custom made glasses, including one dubbed, “the porthole” which essentially looks like a giant fishbowl. Instead of guppies, it’s filled with rye, vermouth, bitters, citrus, and vanilla.

Prime Meats

This Brooklyn chop house is all about old New York—the eatery is based on the inns and restaurants found in the area way back in the early 1900s. Even though the vibe may be the same as those haunts, they sure didn’t have such an interesting mix of drinks in the old days as they do now. There are a lot of classics on the menu here, but all of them have a twist. Check out drinks like the Applejack Sazerac, which spikes the classic New Orleans beverage with some bonded apple brandy.

La Belle Vie

This restaurant in Minneapolis doesn’t just have a stellar reputation because of chef Tim McKee’s take on French Mediterranean cuisine. Foodies come here for the drink as well as the cuisine. The classy lounge reaches beyond the ordinary when it comes to ingredients. You might have had a vodka martini before, but have you ever tried one with a hint of salty caramel? Well, if that’s not enough to intrigue you, the Night Of the Hunter also includes olives stuffed with almonds. Bet you’re not seeing that many other places…

So what’s your poison? Don’t forget to vote for your fave intriguing cocktail bar as well as your other favorite faces, places, and bites in the food world.

And do a little good while you're voting. While celebrating all that great food and drink, $15,000 will be donated to Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity.