Cocktails and dreams of a perfect vacation go hand in hand. Sipping on a swanky convocation while in a new city offers a double escape for travelers—and a fun way to literally get a taste of your destination. If you’re a drink lover, here are several top cities to visit for both creative and classic cocktails. You’ll be sure to get a buzz both from the actual booze and the swag of these watering holes.
1. New Orleans
Any city as associated with partying as New Orleans is bound to have stellar cocktails. Sazerac is a staple of Louisiana’s top travel destination; it was one of the nation’s earliest cocktails and is the region’s own special whiskey drink. Head to The Sazerac Bar at The Roosevelt Hotel, Loa, or The Carousel Club and watch the bartenders mix absinthe, bitters, sugar and rye whiskey into an unforgettable, sippable treat.
With any city as large as London, you’re going to get a mixing pot of culinary and cocktail inspiration. That’s perfect if you’re on the hunt for spiffy mixed drinks. Nightjar, located in Shoreditch, has one of the hippest and most extensive cocktail menus in the city. Keep it simple with a London Mule (Tanqueray base), try a Green Dragon (Woodford Reserve base), or get crazy with the Lei Lani Volcano (Havana 7-Year Base mixed with banana bread beer and more).
The Bar With No Name—yes that’s its actual name—is another great option. Described as a “speakeasy-style bar for experimental cocktails,” two standout drinks are the White Almond Bellini, a white almond purée topped with prosecco, and the Pagan, made of golden beetroot vodka, puerh tea syrup and smoked with pagan incense.
The only thing better than a perfect cocktail? A perfect cocktail served somewhere with a perfect view. That’s where Madrid comes in. On The Principal Madrid Hotel’s tereza, has stunning views of the city and a cocktail menu that covers the classics (Cosmopolitan, Tom Collins, etc.) before moving onto creative options like the Disaronno-centric Divoca and Chambord-centric Cham Cup. If you’re looking for a place with stunning views and a bit more of a laid back atmosphere, check out The Hat—a rooftop bar hidden atop a hostel.
Part of what makes a bar great is all the booze and how it’s mixed together. The other part? Who’s doing the mixing. That’s why Miami is another top-shelf destination for cocktails and dreams. The Regent Cocktail Club is where you’ll find Julio Cabrera, who graced the cover of GQ with the tagline “America’s Most Innovative Bartender” and who Eater “King of the Miami Cocktail Scene.”
The Havana-inspired menu isn’t as rum-heavy as one might expect; there’s something special for everyone on the list. And the club doesn’t just boast about the booze, but what it’s mixed it. “All of our barware is carefully selected by our master bartenders to suit all of their hand crafted cocktail creations. They search high and low for the perfect crystal tumbler, a unique punch bowl, or classic copper Moscow Mule mug,” the website reads.