Tavel+Leisure announces America’s Best Bars

From May 2011
By Wayne Curtis
Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

Guy walks into a bar. Asks the bartender for a Manhattan with extra bitters. The bartender says, “You want orange bitters, lavender honey bitters, 19th-century Boker’s bitters, Mexican chocolate bitters, or plain old Angostura bitters?”

Well, okay, maybe it’s not much of a joke. But it points up two things: we’re in a golden age of cocktails. And to order a drink is to navigate a minefield.

This is both good and bad, of course. The good: bartenders are making some amazing drinks these days. A whole new crop of handcrafted spirits are expanding the palette they paint with, and many craft bartenders are making their own syrups, infusions, and bitters, all of which add an unexpected depth and complexity to familiar drinks. To order a Repeal cocktail made...click to continue reading

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