Cocktails in Columbus

December 11th, 2010    •  by Bethia    •   10 Comments »

‘Tis the season of good cheer, and parties and sparkles, so what better time to indulge in a cocktail or two? Columbus has seen a resurgence of interest in classic cocktails this year and that combined with some creative and talented mixologists means that there is no shortage of interesting places to imbibe. This list is by no means exhaustive but includes some of my favorite places to sip on a mixed drink.

Heirloom Tomato Water Cocktail at M, best cocktails in Columbus, Cameron Mitchell

Mixologist Cris Dehlavi is the brand mixologist for Middle West Spirits as well as being Head Bartender at Cameron Mitchell’s flagship restaurant. M is the final stop on our dessert tour and each week Cris conjures up another fabulous creation, be it hot chocolate with chartruese, pears in red wine sorbet with champagne or a play on milk punch, you can see why she wins so many competitions. The cocktail menu changes seasonally and I still hear people talking about this summer’s heirloom tomato water.

Tapatio Margarita at Knead on high Columbus , best cocktails Columbus

Knead held a cocktail rave last week in honor of the repeal of prohibition. Their cocktail menu features the Tapatio margarita, a bloody Mary with enough garnishes for it to be lunch and a selection of $5 cocktails (not limited to happy  hour). Classics include Sazeracs and Sidecars.

I love Mouton as much for their wonderful selections of charcuterie and cheese as for their classic cocktails. So many tempting tipples to choose from, but I’m a sucker for the Moscow Mule made with OYO and Fevertree ginger beer.

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Alana’s cocktail menu is as seasonal and inspired as the dinner menu. Cocktails are always creative and often revelatory. My favorite is the spring tonic (ciroq vodka, rhubarb bitters, lime, elderflower liqueur and a bubbly float). Pictured is the Guavarita with guava nectar, tequila, cointreau and sour. Forget the coffee, at this time of year Alana’s hot buttered rum is a wonderful after dinner drink.

Basi Italia
Basi’s cocktail menu is small but seductive, especially in the summer when you can sit out on the patio and enjoy a few drinks after dinner. It’s not just all summer fun though. This fall Basi stole my heart with an apple cider and whisky cocktail called Sidro Italiano.

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Nida’s has a lengthy and unusual cocktail menu full of Asian flavors to play off their menu. My enduring favorite is the Jade City martini (fine, basil and pineapple. I like to sit at the bar especially when mixologist Viv is presiding.

Deepwood has an impressive cocktail selection including seasonal selections created by beverage Coordinator Catherine Morel. They have a great happy hour with one of the best bar food menus in town (I cannot resist pastrami gravy poutine).

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The Rossi
The Rossi was the winner of our Manhattan project, but as well as having mastered the classics, they have an interesting menu of more innovative options. Their apple pie cocktail made with Brothers Drake Mead has been popular this fall.

The Sage bar menu bears the mark of former bar tender Chris Dillman (also formerly of the much-missed Details). There are some great cocktails on that list including the Rye smile, Aviation and the Last Word.

It’s far from a comprehensive list of places paying attention to cocktail craft and serving up notable mixed drinks, so feel free to add suggestions of your favorite cocktails in Columbus.

10 Comments to “Cocktails in Columbus”

  1. YES!! I’m so glad you highlighted Cris’ tomato water. It was the perfect mix of light and refreshing!

  2. OhioFoodLovers
    December 11, 2010

    Alana’s also does a nice job with fun names and descriptions for drinks.

  3. Another great highlight of the fun places to check out in Columbus. I have just started exploring cocktails in this city and this list is a great starting point for a variety of great drinks and great Columbus experiences!

  4. Anne & I were just out last night at Mouton and Bar L’étranger, both of which have some great classics and updates on their menus. 😀

  5. Had the eponymous basil martini at Basil. It was pretty durn wonderful.

  6. I have to believe our cocktail list at Taj Bar is as fun as any in Columbus. 🙂

  7. For unique libation concoctions with creative names, I enjoy Liz Lessner’s collection of restaurants. Although I have to say that I usually go for the standard salty wench at Surly Girl, some of their infused vodkas are interesting, to say the least (bacon vodka, anyone?).

  8. Hey everyone, any suggestion on best craft cocktail bars for bourbon and mixologists. Thanks, and cheers!

    • For Bourbon in particular- Barrel 44, Wing’s
      Mixologists/craft cocktails: Curio, Mouton, Deepwood, M, Rigsby’s, Guiseppe’s.
      Keep an eye out for the cocktails dinners at Latitude 41 (seem to be monthly at the moment).

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