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Where to Find Houston's Best Classic Cocktails

Whether it's the Negroni that floats your boat or the classic margarita, here are our can't-miss picks
March 19, 2014
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by Amber Ambrose

For #BarBlitz Day, we've already gotten worked up over the hottest bars in town, but now we want to take a step further and remind you where to find some of Houston's best classic cocktails. If a properly proportioned drink, shaken or stirred with just the right amount of vigor and poured up or served on the rocks (with special cocktail ice), is something that gets you hot and bothered, this list is for you. If you just really enjoy drinking liquor, this list is also for you.

Bloody Mary

What's Inside: Traditionally, it's vodka, tomato juice and seasonings with garnishes of celery and olives.
Where to Try It: Brick & Spoon in Montrose, because any restaurant with a specialization in brunch is bound to have an amazing Bloody Mary. Also, because you can build your own from their specialized list of ingredients. ($10 for the basic version.)
While You're There: Try their deviled eggs with tasso ham, fried oysters and sriracha aïoli.

1312 W. Alabama St.; 832-530-4973

Pisco Sour

What's Inside: The Peruvian spirit pisco, lime juice, something to sweeten it up and shaken with an egg white to make it nice and frothy
Where to Try It: Leon's Lounge - sister establishment to the original cocktail haven Under the Volcano - knows how to make killer cocktails, and the pisco sour ($7.25) is just one of them. We also dig the quirky vibe and outdoor seating in the alleyway.
While You're There: Steak nights are Wednesdays if you'd like some meat to go with your expertly shaken cocktails.

1006 McGowen St.; 713-659-5366

Paloma

What's Inside: Sotol Plata, grapefruit beer, lime and salt
Where to Try It: The Pastry War is kicking butt in the Mexican spirits department, and their paloma ($9) is easily our favorite in the city. Their margaritas made with mezcal are equally special.
While You're There: Grab a cue stick and get in a game of pool with friends. There's a table in the back and it's free during happy hour.

310 Main St.; 713-226-7770

Negroni

What's Inside: Gin, Campari and sweet vermouth
Where to Try It: Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge is mixing up all manner of cocktails, and the love-it-or-hate-it Negroni ($8 regularly, $5 at happy hour) is treated with much respect here.
While You're There: Try out any of their house cocktails, because they're all incredibly good. Spring weather also means that a seat on their balcony overlooking Main Street is a must.

308 Main St.

Singapore Sling

What's Inside: Gin, cherry brandy, lime juice, Benedictine, soda water and Angostura bitters
Where to Try It: Anvil Bar & Refuge (you didn't think we'd leave them out of a cocktail list, did you?) still holds the title of our favorite bar for classic cocktails, including the Singapore Sling ($10). They've spoiled us with their precisely mixed drinks and extensive menu.
While You're There: Start working your way through their famous "100 List" and see how many months or years it takes you to get through it.

1424 Westheimer Rd.; 713-523-1622

Margarita

What's Inside: Tequila, freshly squeezed lemon and lime juices, agave nectar
Where to Try It: El Big Bad in Downtown is the master of margaritas ($8 for the house version, $5 at happy hour), especially those made with their various infusions. Strawberry, blueberry-jalapeño and churro-inspired are just a few of our picks.
While You're There: Don't forget an order of their tasty queso and chips.

419 Travis St.; 713-229-8181

Sazerac

What's Inside: Rye, Peychaud's bitters, Herbsaint and piloncillo for the sweetness
Where to Try It: It just so happens that Goro & Gun offers Sazeracs on their happy-hour menu for a mere $5. The New Orleans original is also available during non-happy hours for $9.
While You're There: The food is worth a trip alone (try the Brussels sprouts).

308 Main St.; 832-708-6195

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