New York

NYC's Best Novelty Cocktails That Taste as Good as They Look

Courtesy of The Woodstock
Courtesy of The Woodstock
Courtesy of The Woodstock

New Yorkers spend years cultivating home bars to proudly share with guests and occasionally (or regularly) dive into at the end of a long work day. Even supposed spirits novices know how to whip up a cocktail in a pinch, whether it’s a basic G&T, or a superb sazerac replete with a proprietary absinthe mist. But there will always be some extraordinary creations that exist beyond the grasp of even the most ambitious stay-at-home barkeeps.

Elaborate libations can get you tipsy and provide a little social media content, for sure. And at their very best, they can also inform your palate, spark your creativity, and broaden your boozy horizons. Maybe leave the open flames to the pros, but sampling peculiarly prepared unusual ingredients may inspire you to toy with tinctures, embrace infusions, or at least add a dash of bitters now and then. Get started with NYC’s most novel tipples that taste as good as they look.

Courtesy of ROKC
Courtesy of ROKC
Courtesy of ROKC

Thai Tea

ROKC
Hamilton Heights
ROKC is an unassuming restaurant that packs a wallop. Despite a nondescript entrance and simple, straightforward menu, its cocktail selection is consistently named among the most unusual and show-stopping in the city (and the ramen is some of the best in town). The Thai Tea blends its eponymous base with cachaça, absinthe, sweetened condensed milk, and egg white to create a cinnamon- and anise-forward take on the familiar sweet and creamy takeout staple. Like a few other ROKC creations, the Thai Tea sidecar arrives in an unusual vessel: an open eggshell nestled in a cozy little bird’s nest ($13).

Courtesy of Clover Club
Courtesy of Clover Club
Courtesy of Clover Club

Sage Ya Later

Clover Club
Cobble Hill
On a menu that is so stacked with enticing options that it’s nearly impossible to choose just one, Sage Ya Later stands out for its taste as much as it does for its presentation. SYL blends two kinds of sherry with mezcal and plum-sage syrup to create a drink that plays on the opposing boundaries of sweetness and tartness, smokiness and earthiness. The pièce de résistance of this cocktail is the burning sage that both garnishes the glass and is said to stave off negative energy, creating a one-of-a-kind visual-spiritual spectacle ($14).

Photo by Eric Medsker/Cocktail by Lauren Corriveau
Photo by Eric Medsker/Cocktail by Lauren Corriveau
Photo by Eric Medsker/Cocktail by Lauren Corriveau

Skywalker

Nitecap
Lower East Side
Despite its name, Skywalker won’t get you high. You may, however, feel like you’ve gone on a trip through space and time as you sip (through a metal straw; Nitecap is sustainability-forward) on this Jamaican rum and Absentroux (absinthe’s long-lost, lower ABV sibling) cocktail, which combines the Caribbean flavors of citrus and falernum with a burning cinnamon stick garnish to evoke a distinct cigars-and-daiquiris-on-the-beach vibe, in a space that feels like a sleek and sexy 1980s throwback lounge ($15).

Mr. Fluffleupagus (+ Stoli Vanil)

Mom’s Astoria
Astoria
This boozy mega-milkshake will slake your sweet tooth your and proclivity for spirits in one sip. The Mr. Fluffleupagus — no relation to the neighborhood’s similarly named second most famous puppet — boldly combines chocolate ice cream, marshmallow fluff, Reese’s Cups, peanut butter chips, Cracker Jack, caramel and chocolate syrups, and affords you the option to request an adultifying addition (we suggest Stoli Vanil). Enjoy alongside one of Mom’s equally decadent all day (every day) brunch menu items, if your stomach is as big as your eyes ($19 with Stoli Vanil).

Courtesy of Ophelia
Courtesy of Ophelia
Courtesy of Ophelia

Ophelia’s Ascension

Ophelia
Midtown East
Enjoy skyline views while you sip this cinematic cocktail on the top floor of the art deco Beekman Tower, originally a fancy ladies-only club and hotel for national sororities (it was later purportedly one of Frank Sinatra’s favorite lounges). Ophelia’s Ascension marries pepper-infused mezcal and bourbon with sugar and bitters for a spicy-smoky take on an old-fashioned. It’s finished with a plume of cedar smoke, which slowly rises from a gorgeous 1920s-inspired glass canteen when uncorked ($17).

Courtesy of Maison Premiere
Courtesy of Maison Premiere
Courtesy of Maison Premiere

Old King Cole Martini

Maison Premiere
Williamsburg
This ultimate take on the classic martini — made with gin, naturally — isn’t the city’s most outlandish cocktail, but Maison Premiere’s stunning interior, outstanding presentation, and impeccable attention to detail makes it worth the price tag. Enjoy it with someone who will really appreciate its creation and potency: the Old King Cole is stirred tableside, with a two drink per order limit ($24/$36 with caviar supplement).

Light My Fire

The Woodstock
Meatpacking District
If it weren’t for its spectacular flavor and photogenic presentation, this cocktail might be a little too on the nose to ‘gram. The Woodstock is a 1960s-themed bar, the Light My Fire is named for a song that defined the decade, and it’s served in a light bulb. The premium tequila beverage expertly balances sweet, spicy and tart flavors, the result of a Curaçao, blueberry and habañero blend that produces a rich and sultry deep fuschia color — which glows semi-realistically when positioned near a tea light ($14).

Courtesy of Patent Pending
Courtesy of Patent Pending
Courtesy of Patent Pending

Impossible Idea

Patent Pending
Flatiron
If you can crack the password — hint: it’s hidden in plain (web)site — make your way into the speakeasy-themed bar behind Patent Coffee, the and try this brand new offering off the exquisitely designed menu, which is inspired by the famous experiments Nikola Tesla conducted when he lived and worked in the historic Radio Wave Building nearly 125 years ago. Described by the Patent team as “rich, smooth and opulent,” Harrison Ginsburg‘s Impossible Idea features a single-origin, hand-foraged aged rum mixed with maraschino liqueur, sherry and amaro, served alongside caramelized bananas that are torched barside ($28).

Steph Goralnick
Steph Goralnick
Steph Goralnick

In the Rocks

The Aviary
Columbus Circle
While The Aviary has long been known for its wild cocktail displays, most of the attention has landed on cheekily-named Wake and Bake, a drink served in a sealed plastic bag that, when opened, unveils the aroma of an everything bagel. But the best (and most unique) drink on the menu is the In the Rocks, an occasionally changing but typically amber-spirit forward sipper that’s served inside a sphere of ice in a glass custom fitted with a slingshot that you use to break open the sphere and release the cocktail ($29).

Break the Piñata

Toro Loco
Financial District
This large format, group drinking experience is also interactive: It’s delivered to your table in an actual piñata, you and your squad are tasked with breaking open the Mexican celebration staple to reveal four freshly prepared and bottled Perfect Puree fruit margaritas (ice and glasses with salted rims and limes are brought to the table separately), along with Mexican candies. One piñata yields enough fun for 4-6 people ($70).Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.

Victoria Marin is a contributor to Thrillist.

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

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