New York City’s best superfood cocktails
Gone are the days of Pomegranate Martinis on menus at every cocktail lounge. Now whiskey, bourbon, and gin drinks dominate at hot spots like PDT and Employees Only.
But for the antioxidant-minded sippers who miss them, we have great news: We've spied a new generation of cocktails now being stirred and shaken at the city's trendy watering holes that are made with (drumroll please) scrumptious superfoods.
We don't recommend replacing your daily green juice with a Kale margarita, but everyone deserves a bar-stool break once in a while. Here are the city's seven best superfood cocktails. —Lisa Elaine Held
Pictured: Grey's Passion at Candle Cafe West
The Wayland, East Village
The Wayland is a farm-to-bar establishment, and for the Garden Variety Margarita, blue agave blanco tequila is shaken with fresh kale, ginger, and lime juice. That's right—a kale cocktail. Our bartender told us the amount of kale juice, however, is minimal, and in terms of taste, the ginger dominates. Agave nectar adds a hint of sweetness, and the smoked sea-salt rim is delish. $11, www.thewaylandnyc.com
Candle Cafe West, Upper West Side
Candle Cafe West is the epicenter of city's superfood-cocktail innovation. The super-fresh Candle Sangria is made with Fair's Quinoa Vodka (it's literally fermented from quinoa), which they infuse with blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries. It's topped off with fresh lime juice, a bit of agave, and a splash of Rose Cava—and tastes like summer in your mouth.
We also tried the Grey's Passion, made with fresh passionfruit juice, Earl Grey-tea infused vodka, and Veev's Acai Spirit (amazing!), and the bar stocks more superfood spirits, like Fair's Goji Berry Liquer. $14, www.candlecafe.com/west
Candle 79, Upper East Side
Candle's high-brow headquarters also stocks a bar menu of "eco-cocktails."
The Reforestation is full of superfood spirits—Veev Acai spirit and wheatgrass vodka, which are mixed with muddled mint, ginger-agave, and lime. Their clean alkalinity comes through even with the alcohol.
And for every one sold, a tree is planted. Have you ever heard of a better reason to order a drink?
Pure Food and Wine, Union Square
Sake is a mild spirit that takes on the taste of whatever you mix it with, so Pure Food and Wine's sake-based cocktails tend to come with barely any added sugar—they don't need to compensate for the bite of hard liquor.
For the Himalayan Paradise, mixologist Joey Repice infuses the sake with antioxidant-packed goji berries, ginger, and lemon. A splash of lemonade later, you're sipping happy.
And it doesn't hurt that he makes (and serves) the drinks with love. "They're like my children," we heard him tell one customer. $14, www.purefoodandwine.com
Essex, Lower East Side
This cocktail comes with anti-inflammatory quercetin—and it's base is a green tea vodka. It's mixed with a small dose of Pimm's, plus fresh lime and mint, giving it a mojito-esque flavor.
Bonus: Essex also has the aforementioned Pomegranate Martini on the menu, and you can sip both for half-price during happy hour—Sunday through Friday from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. $12, www.essexnyc.com
Signature Theatre Cafe and Bar, Hell's Kitchen
This small spot, run by Great Performances (the famed 100-mile menu creators), features several cocktails that source the trendiest superfoods. The Superfruit Margarita adds Veev's Acai Spirit and acai syrup to the traditional margarita recipe, and the Goji Berry Therapy is made from in-house created goji berry-infused vodka and goji berry-liqueur. $13, www.signaturetheatre.org
Rouge Tomate, Midtown East/Upper East Side
Vitamin-packed rhubarb plays a starring role in this martini with a twist. In Rouge Tomate's signature seasonal style, Shinn Estate's Eau-de-Vie is shaken with rhubarb water, and topped with a pickled version of the plant. Their cocktail menu also includes drinks made with lavender-infused rum and fennel. $14, www.rougetomatenyc.com