5 New York Bartenders Share Their Favorite Easy Cocktails

updated Jun 6, 2019
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When the weather gets warmer, the cocktails get simpler. We crave the fresh bitterness of a three-ingredient Negroni or an invigorating (and not-so-boozy) punch — drinks you can linger over while at a sidewalk table or hanging out on a rooftop. If the sun is out, you want to be able to drink all day without complicated recipes or highly alcoholic beverages. Whether you like something spritzy or tropical, we have suggestions from some of New York’s best bartenders.

Aperol Spritz (Image credit: Sara Kate Gillingham)

1. Logan Ronkainen, Owner and Bartender, Punch & Pie

Aperol spritz. You can’t mess this one up. Whether at a dive bar, wedding bar, cocktail bar: If the bartender makes a mistake, it usually makes this cocktail better.

Ways the bartender can mess it up that actually improve the cocktail: They use Champagne instead of cheap sparkling, they add more sparkling wine instead of a splash of club soda, and they accidentally add an extra couple of ounces of Aperol to your drink (just ask for another splash of soda and sparkling wine halfway through your drink!)

I always like to add a splash of lemon juice to my Aperol spritz to make it taste more like Kool-Aid.”

2. Olivia Hu, Bartender, Sunrise/Sunset

The Painkiller. It’s similar to a piña colada, but this drink only requires a couple of fruity-fresh components to create a delicious product.”

3. Jim Kearns, Beverage Director and Partner for Slowly Shirley

“The F.A.F. Manhattan: two ounces Whistlepig Rye, one ounce Carpano Antica, three dashes Angostura bitters. Stir. Rest. Strain.”

4. Roberto Rosa, Bartender, Duende

“The bourbon-based Gold Rush or the agave-sweetened Tommy’s Margarita — they’re easy, have three ingredients, and everyone loves them. Those are two of my go-to cocktails I recommend when we’re in the weeds, because they are quick and delicious. They’re good for novice bartenders, because they’re hard to mess up.”

5. Dan Q. Dao, Bartender, Middle Branch

“Any of the ‘maid’ cocktails” — just plug in your choice of spirit to this recipe — are perfect for a spring refresher that is also balanced.”

What’s your favorite easy cocktail to make? Let us know in the comments!