Bartenders Tell Us The One Spirit That Gives Them That Spring Feeling


When it seems to rain every day (depending on where you live), it’s hard to muster up a real spring-has-sprung feeling. Sure, all that rainy, foggy, cloudy weather will soon give way to the sunny, everything-is-in-bloom days of late spring and early summer, but it’s natural to be a little restless this time of year. Everything seems to be building toward barbecues and swimming holes and the days can’t tick by fast enough.

The best way to get excited for spring is to sip on spirits and cocktails that will whisper to you about the sunshine-fueled months to come. With May in sight, we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us what spirits they pour to kick start that spring feeling and prepare themselves for the dog days.

Check their answers below and let us know which spirits remind you of spring in the comments.

Novo Fogo Cachaça

Maggie Dandrea, bartender at Hot Tin in Nashville

“Cachaça reminds me most of spring. With its clean, grassy and herbaceous flavor profile, a Cachaça cocktail can invigorate your senses much like the season can bring forth new ideas and experiences. I use Novo Fogo because I like to support companies that honor an organic and holistic approach to practices and methods of production.”

Writer’s Tears Irish Whiskey

Andrew Erickson, bartender at L27 in Nashville

“When I think of spring, I think Irish Whiskey. The first one that comes to mind is Writers’ Tears. With Irish whiskey using un-malted barley it gives this whiskey a beautiful nutty note that blends so well with its honey and citrus flavors. The alcohol content isn’t too crazy — you could sip this one all day and not feel the need to leave the golf course after only 9 holes.”

Cocchi Americano

Alex Schmaling, head bartender of Beacon Tavern in Chicago

“I love playing with aperitif wines in cocktails when things start to bloom — Cocchi Americano is a great way to bring some low-ABV freshness, bitterness, and structure to cocktails using citrus and herbs.”

Aberfeldy 12 Scotch Whisky

Rael Petit, beverage director at The Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn

“Oddly enough I like to mix cocktails with different scotches during the spring. I associate scotch with honey, and it’s the perfect time to make honey, scotch-based drinks. I make one at The Williamsburg Hotel called the Summer In The Sun — made with Aberfeldy 12, honey made in upstate New York, apricot liqueur, and fresh lemon juice.”

Ford’s Gin

Erica Williams, bartender at Catalina Kitchen in Rancho Palos Verdes, California

“The spirit that makes me think most of spring is Ford’s gin. I have a personal connection with Ford’s gin. I had a bartending dream once of making the perfect cocktail with it and I woke up and immediately wrote the recipe down. It features a wonderful mix of herbs and botanicals that compliment specialty cocktails well. It is amazing in a Lemondrop martini, Last Word cocktail, or even with lemon lime soda or sparkling water. Gin’s ingredients remind me of spring flowers and walking under the sun through a garden.”

Aviation Gin

Cody Goldstein, cocktail consultant of muddling memories at The Flying Cock in New York City

“The spirit that makes me feel like it’s springtime would be an American-style gin, such as Aviation. This gin focuses on citrus notes with two types of orange peels. While the juniper notes are subtle, you also get a lot of lavender and coriander flavor, which are perfect botanicals for the spring weather.”

Macchu Pisco

Kellie Thorn, bar manager at Empire State South in Atlanta

“This is tough because loads of spirits make me think of spring, but I will commit to Pisco for this answer. I always find myself reaching for it around this time of the year. We are big fans of Macchu Pisco — it blends so well with fruit and floral flavors making it ideal for spring cocktails.”

Soho Lychee Liqueur

Rage Day, lead bartender at bashi in Rancho Palos Verdes, California

“Soho Lychee liqueur reminds me most of springtime. Although it’s produced in France, it reminds me of the time of year that the Japanese cherry blossom trees bloom. The symbolism of the Cherry Blossom represents how delicate and fragile life is. A rebirth, a spring. On a lazy Sunday afternoon there are few things better than a refreshing Soho lychee fizz.”

Espolòn Tequila

Ivy Mix, bartender at Leyenda Brooklyn Cocteleria in New York City

“The spirit that most makes me think of spring? When I think of a spring spirit I think tequila! I gravitate towards using, Espolòn Tequila for cocktails once it’s time to get into the nice weather.”

Tanqueray No.10 Gin

Jason O’Bryan, spirits director at The Florence in San Diego

“Tanqueray No.10 Gin. It’s got this juniper core you expect from Tanqueray but then this other thing — chamomile and fresh citrus and all this big beautiful brightness. It tastes like the first truly warm day of spring.”


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Josh Cameron, head bartender at Boulton & Watt in New York City

“Aperol. Yes, the spritz is a summertime classic, but, in the want-it-now-world, most people can’t wait for June. With just a hint of warm weather, it is Spritz and yes, Frozé time. I never thought I would say it, but I have made hefty, life-changing decisions while 7 Aperol Spritzes deep, lost in Brooklyn.”

Suze Liqueur

Sean Stangle, bartender at Estiatorio Milos in Las Vegas

“The most generic answer to this question is Aperol, and it’s only considered this because of how perfect it is for warmer weather cocktails. It has reinvented its uses over and over, establishing itself as one of the standards. However, if you like something a little more unique, “Suze” is a little known French aperitif made most from gentian root (commonly known as a gin botanical and bitters component) grown in the Swiss and French Alps. Suze pairs beautifully with gin or some citrus and sparkling water on its own.”