Drink Like It Matters

What cocktails to drink, and where

By Adrien Glover, Laurie Kuntz, David LaHuta, and Erik Torkells, Tuesday, May 23, 2006, 12:13 PM

(Bjorn Wallander)

At New York's Pegu Club, bartenders create infusions, squeeze their own juices, and insist on large ice cubes

(Bjorn Wallander)

This sounds crude and heretical, but we find cocktails to be kind of like cheeseburgers and doughnuts--if we're going to have one, we want it to be outstanding.

Lucky for us, cocktail culture is in its second golden age: Ambitious bartenders are searching out fresh and/or exotic ingredients, then mixing them with care. Here's what to drink, and where.

Budapest Gresham Puszta: apricot palinka and Tokai wine. Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Roosevelt Tér 5-6, 011-361/268-6000.

Buenos Aires Vanilla Margarita: vanilla tequila, Cointreau, orange juice, sugar. Gran Bar Danzon, Libertad 1161, 011-54/11-4811-1108.

Hong Kong Lychee Caprioska: lemongrass vodka, fresh lychees, lime, brown sugar. 1/5, 9 Star St., Wanchai, 011-852/2520-2515.

Istanbul Bomb Baby: vodka, watermelon, mint, cardamom. 360 Istanbul, 32/309 Istiklal Cad., Misir Apt. K8, BeyoØglu, 011-90/212-251-1042.

London Vanderbilt: cognac, cherry Heering, bitters. Milk & Honey, Poland St., Soho, 011-44/20-7292-9940.

Los Angeles Shikomi Martini: sake, Midori, lemon juice, Japanese cucumber. Geisha House, 6633 Hollywood Blvd., 323/460-6300.

Madrid Letania: cinnamon vodka, cranberry and raspberry juices, fruit. Glass Bar, Hotel Urban, Carrera de San Jerónimo 34, 011-34/91-787-7770.

Miami Mojito: light rum, mint, sugar, lime juice, club soda. Skybar, The Shore Club, 1901 Collins Ave., 305/695-3100.

Moscow Moscow Mojito: rum and wild berries. Pavilion, 7 Bolshoi Patriarshy Per., 011-7/495-203-5110.

New York City Jamaican Firefly: dark rum, ginger beer, lime juice, candied ginger. Pegu Club, 77 W. Houston St., 2nd Fl., 212/473-7348.

Tel Aviv Passion: Vodka, lemon, sugar, pineapple, passion fruit syrup. Rocca, 8 Ramat Yam, Herzliya Pituach, 011-972/9-951-5122.

Tokyo Kir Royal: champagne and crème de cassis. Carmenere, Omotesando Jingumae 4-4-7 BFI, 011-81/3-3401-6779.

Zürich Sidecar: brandy, triple sec, lemon juice. Widder Hotel, Rennweg 7, 011-41/44-224-2526.