8 Places to Drink Bottled & Draft Cocktails in Boston

By Scott Kearnan  |  August 5, 2014

The proliferation of bottled and draft cocktails is a bar trend that continues to pop up in cities across the country — and Boston, always competitive when it comes to matters of imbibing, is no exception. Why are we so drunk in love with the concept? Depends who you ask. Bartenders might tell you that premade, batched cocktails make it much easier to pour and serve guests faster, without necessarily sacrificing the quality and creativity of a recipe. Meanwhile, some cocktail lovers vouch that certain drinks taste even better when their spirits commingle under pressure for a few days. What can everyone agree on? That pouring out bubbly potions from your own bottle is simply novel and fun. And isn't that reason enough? 

With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite places to take a taste of the trend right now: 

Alden & Harlow. We've been so busy celebrating the food at chef Michael Scelfo's latest (which includes one of the Best Things We Ate This Year) that we fear we haven't give enough credit to its also-impressive cocktail program. And it always includes two spirits on draft. We're currently swooning over the Lady In Red, a sexy blend of strawberry tequila, Campari and two vermouths. 40 Brattle St., Cambridge; 617-864-2100

Brass Union. The taps are flowing at Brass Union, a brand-new Somerville triple-threat: restaurant, bar, tricked-out game lounge. And one of them is dedicated to a draft cocktail. Right now that's the tiki tipple the Jumpman Julep: Espolón tequila, fresh orange, pineapple and pomegranate juices and agave with a coconut foam. Beverage program "curator" Paulo Pereira, an alum of Lansdowne Pub and The Thirsty Scholar, promises that additional draft concoctions are on the way. 70 Union Sq., Somerville; 617-623-9211

Catalyst. If Snoop Dogg met Mr. Wizard, they might come up with a cocktail like the the Bottled Gin and Juice at Catalyst by Kendall Square, a stone's throw from MIT. The elixir is made through a pretty elaborate method: using a few drops of a special enzyme, clarified, carbonated grapefruit juice begins to separate; agar is used to set the separated juice into a soft gel that holds on to any impurities, while the remaining clear liquid is strained out through a cheesecloth, fortified, mixed with gin and carbonated to a champagnelike effervescence. Then the easiest step: drink. 300 Technology Sq., Cambridge; 617-576-3000

Fairsted KitchenThe Brookline spot regularly rotates its bottled and draft cocktails. Right now the bottled selection is the FK Pimm's Cup, while the Rosita (tequila, vermouth and Campari) and the New Slang, an apéritif of vermouth and strawberry-rhubarb, flow from the keg. While you're sampling them all at the bar, give your phone a buzz. It's one of several restaurants we've noticed that are Smartphone Friendly, which means charging stations and USB ports. 1704 Beacon St., Brookline; 617-396-8752

Highball Lounge. As one of Boston's bartenders to watch, Shaher Misif has been getting creative ever since this funky hideaway in the Nine Zero Hotel opened. And he's embraced the bottled cocktail trend, with three selections on his current menu: the Tea-Ball of vodka and Early Grey soda, the Rhub-a-DuB made with top-shelf tequila and rhubarb soda and the Plum Bum with Slivovitz (a "plum brandy") and carbonated lemonade. 90 Tremont St.; 617-772-0202

La Brasa. We've been pretty bowled over by chef Daniel Bojorquez's rustic, Latin-inspired restaurant in Somerville. And his fire-kissed eats wash down well with the trio of draft cocktails, particularly the Seductive Barry: pineapple-infused averna with rosso vermouth, lemon and a pinch of salt. 124 Broadway, Somerville; 617-764-1412

Saloon. In keeping with its name, Saloon isn't content to serve its House Punch in just any vessel. You'll sip it from a corked glass flask made for two. Inside: a potent blend of white and dark rum, apricot, orange, lime and white wine with bitters. 255 Elm St., Somerville; 617-628-4444

Wink & Nod. There's change in the air at this South End "speakeasy"-inspired spot. On September 1, pop-up duo Whisk, which had led the kitchen since Wink & Nod opened, will move on; taking over the food program is a different pop-up, Bread & Salt Hospitality. But on the cocktail side of things, one consistent crowd-pleaser has been the Jynnan Tonnyx, a bottled cocktail that combines cold-distilled Oxley Gin, water and housemade tonic syrup. Warm the bear seat often enough, and you might even find yourself inducted into a coin-toting secret society that is among Boston's biggest secrets3 Appleton St.; 617-482-0117