The Best Happy Hour Cocktails

Simple enough to explain to a bartender, complex enough to stand out from the crowd — that’s what we like in a cocktail. Created by some of bartending’s biggest names, these are a combination of old friends and new favorites that we’d recommend for any occasion.

Dark & Stormy Created by Maura McGuigan, Bar Pleiades at The Surrey Hotel

● 2 oz Brugal Añejo Rum ● .75 oz fresh lime ● .75 oz ginger syrup ● Splash of soda water Shake, strain over ice in a Collins glass. Float 1 oz. of Cruzan Black Strap Rum. Garnish with lime.

Perfect Gin Martini Created by Jason Littrell (formerly of Death & Co and Dram) JBird Lounge ● 1 oz. Nolet’s Silver Gin Pour the gin into your mixing glass and add large ice cubes. Keep the ice just above the gin line so there is a good ratio of surface to liquid so as not to water down your drinks. Hold your barspoon like you would hold chopsticks and gently twist it with your fingers through the spirit. Technique is key here — it’s all in the circular stirring motion of the fingers along the ridges of the spoon handle. Keep your arm and wrist steady and be gentle so as not to bruise the botanicals in the gin. If done correctly, you can stir without hearing a sound from the ice or spoon. Stir for 30 to 60 seconds. Use a Hawthorne strainer to strain into a chilled martini glass. Slice the rind of a lemon and squeeze about 15 centimeters away from the glass at a 45-degree angle to perfume the glass and drink. Twist the lemon.

Fedora Honey Badger Created by Brian Bartels, Fedora’s Restaurant ‘ ● 1.5 oz Rittenhouse Rue ● .5 oz Combier liqueur ● .5 oz fresh lime juice ● .75 oz honey water ● Beef Jerky Bitters Combine and shake, and strain into champagne coupe. Top with 4 dashes of bitters.

Highlander Created by Eben Freeman, Marea

● 1 oz. blended scotch whisky ● .5 oz Drambuie liqueur ● 1 oz Pama liqueur ● 5 oz ginger beer ● Dash of lemon juice Combine, shake, and pour.

Siesta Created by Katie Stipe, Vandaag

● Ice ● 2 ounces silver tequila (100% agave) ● .5 ounce Campari ● .5 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice ● .5 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice ● .5 ounce simple syrup ● Grapefruit twist Combine tequila, Campari, juices, and simple syrup over ice in a cocktail shaker, then shake and strain into a cold glass; garnish with a twist.

[Image via Judy Kennamer/Shutterstock]

New York Opening: JBird

Should you have imagined the hysteria for “secret” imbibing experiences to have hit its plateau, let yourself be disabused of that perfectly reasonable assumption. The latest, New York’s exceedingly debonair JBird, has now introduced such exclusivity to the city’s greatest expanse of populism, the area around Times Square.

But this is no preening faux-speakeasy. Rather, it’s a supremely dignified experience tucked (and we mean tucked) far below the buzzy rooftop party that is the XVI Lounge. Chocolate banquettes and Churchill-worthy high-backed leather chairs give it a gentlemanly hauteur, while a spectacular atrium ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows looking west all the way to the Hudson provide unmatchable aesthetic drama. Drinks wizards Marshall Altier and Jason Littrell (Crosby Bar, Randolph) have conjured a cocktail menu that is as dizzying and dazzling as the views (from “Bold and Boozy” all the way to “Effervescent and Bubbly”), with elegant updates of the classics like the Prescription Julep, and more contemporary tipples like the elderflower-and-gin-based Thornybush.

A reservations-only affair, it recalls our old fave Angel’s Share, in that when the seats are all taken, the doors are locked. A class act.