My Top 10 Cocktails in Charleston Right Now

I’ve been asked (very regularly) what are my fav spots to eat at, whats new and whats exciting around town.  So, I put out a blog article devoted to just that called, “My Top Ten Places To Eat Right Now.” It got such a great response that I decided to make it a quarterly installment on the blog.  A friend loved this idea so much that she suggested that I follow it up with a article devoted to my favorite cocktails around town too (thanks Beth-great idea).  I thought it was brilliant and set out to the task.  (I love homework assignments like this!)

For me there are a few things that make a great summer cocktail; the use of fresh summer ingredients, perhaps a slight sweetness (however personally-Im not a huge fan of, super sweet drinks) be refreshing or just offer something that makes me feel like summer when I drink it.  Of my top cocktails right now, some of them may have all these features or none of them…but regardless, this is my current top list.  Cheers!

1. 492: The Maximillian Affair.  The best part of this tequila drink which is AMAZING-is the salt foam…I LOVE THAT SALT FOAM!  Her lovely ingredients include: tequila, pamplemousse, elderflower, orange bitters, salt foam.  This is my #1 FAVORITE COCKTAIL IN CHARLESTON RIGHT NOW!!!  I actually went there twice in one week to just to have this drink because I love it that much!!!

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2.  Circa 1886: The Matilda.  I love the honeysuckle vodka, grapefruit juice and prosecco!  John Martindale the beverage cordinator at Circa 1886 (has become one of my favorite bartenders-because he makes the most outstanding drinks-ever and is super knowledgable) he designed this drink for a cocktail dinner at the restaurant held last spring.  I knew the first time I had it, that this was going to be my go-to-summer-drink.  It is super refreshing and tasty!

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3.  Zero George St: The Besboke Manhattan.  (This is the most amazing manhattan in town…and I love it all year round!) Especially because I can drink it sitting outside on a peaceful balcony and enjoy being in a beautiful, historic setting.  Every square inch of this boutique hotel and cafe+bar is gorgeous and the cocktails are perfectly crafted…every visit I have had here has been terrific!

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4.  Indaco: Current Mood, Sybarite Swag. This is a super special drink…it was beautiful to look at and tasted even better (which is hard to believe…but true). Whats not to love about Chattanooga Whiskey- 1816 Cask Whiskey, sherry, peychauds bitters, and the lovely addition of white peach?!?!?!

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5.  Ordinary: Molto Benne.  I really enjoy this cocktail because it is different than anything I’ve had in awhile (in a great way) and so refreshing and summery that I could barely put it down…because every sip had me more curious and intrigued.  The mixture of benne infused zaya rum, fino sherry, cherry herring, fresh cherry and lemon juices made me pucker…in a great and unusual way.  

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6.  The Park Cafe: French Bulldog.  The first time I had this lovely bourbon and lemon cocktail was at brunch and its had me going back for more, ever since.  It is ultra smooth, delicious and perfect for anytime of the day (great with Sunday brunch-because thats how we do it in Charleston) or for an afternoon break of sips and bites with friends.  I love this drink (and everything about The Park Cafe) so much!

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7.  492: Saint Basil.  This cocktail is GORGEOUS and smells amazing with every sip!  It was suggested by the server and I can not thank him enough-awesome recommendation.  It is comprised of; Jonge Genever, blanc vermouth, African Blue Basil, honey and lemon.  WoW!!!  You just need to go there and order it for yourself, I don’t think there is anything you could possibly be disappointed with.

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8.  Leon’s Oyster Shop: Little Bird.  I’ve tried multiple cocktails when on my visits to Leons and yet this one has me reordering it, just about every time.  This cocktail (tequila, grapefruit, lime and rose water) when paired with spicier food orders (like their lettuce wraps) is just the right combo!

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9.  The Gin Joint-The Chartreuse Swizzle. I haven’t been there in years, however now that I’ve returned…I see many more visits in my future (near future). I loved the menu option of ‘Bartender’s Choice’ which allows you to choose any two words and then the bartender creates a mystery order. Out of the 16 words to choose from, I decided on: refreshing and unusual. What came out was a drink that absolutely was BOTH. It is a terrific summer beverage. I loved the green chartreuse, pineapple and lime juices but probably one of my favorite parts of this cocktail was the nutmeg and mint garnishes. So yummy!!!

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10.  Thoroughbred Club: I Will Reflect.  This spin on a cosmo had to be included in my top cocktails list because it is named for the, I Will Reflect campaign that I am a ambassador for and help to represent.  This is a program designed by The Belmond at Charleston Place Spa to create awareness for preventing melanoma.  Photographed next to the the cocktail is one of the bracelets (that can be purchased at the spa, all precedes go to research associated with the cause and to help educate about sun safety) it changes color when exposed to sun light to help remind you to wear sunscreen-I wear this bracelet every single day.  I think it is a great cause and though I’m not normally a super sweet cocktail drinker, it was a nice addition to the list and helps spread the word about a great cause!

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