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Our Five Faves

Best Handcrafted Cocktails

Posted January 21, 2013

— In honor of fresh squeezed juice week (Yes, we are serious) I took on the very difficult task of venturing around Raleigh to find the best handcrafted cocktails. I know it sounds like a tough job, but someone has to do it! 

A lot of places opt to use canned juice or store bought mixes but others have gone above and beyond the call of duty to use fresh squeezed fruit, juices, and overall unique ingredients in their cocktails and it definitely pays off!

Blackberry Smash from The Pit - Normally when I think about The Pit I think BBQ, however now I will associate them with great cocktails (and of course BBQ). My favorite cocktail is the  "Blackberry Smash," which actually started as a seasonal drink that was only on the menu in the summer but became so popular it earned a permanent spot on the cocktail menu. The "Blackberry Smash" is made up of muddled blackberries, vodka, citrus and house-made sour mix. It is very light and refreshing but definitely dangerous. With a price tag of only $6 I can't wait to come back and have another! Blackberry Smash from The Pit

If you are in the mood for something a little stronger give their "Moonshine Delight" a try. They have different kinds of fruit-infused homemade moonshine that is then mixed with honey water and soda to make this one-of-a-kind cocktail. 

Creative summer cocktails at Jibarra Chipotle-Mango Margarita from Jibarra - When I am craving Mexican I usually end up wanting a margarita however, lots of the restaurants in Raleigh come up short when it comes to their margarita mix. Jibarra is an exception to this rule. If you are feeling adventurous, give their Chipotle-Mango Margarita a try. This margarita is made with Degollado Gold Tequila, triple sec, a hint of chipotle, fresh mango puree mixed with fresh citrus and then rimmed with raw sugar and chile piquin. Margaritas not your thing? Give their mojitos a try! 

Champagne Cocktail from Bida Manda- Bida Manda is a relatively new restaurant that opened in downtown Raleigh. I had been for lunch with the Out and About crew and we loved it, but I knew I had to go back and give their cocktails a try. All of their cocktails use fresh juices and their modifiers are made every day from scratch. One of their unique featured cocktails is the Champagne Cocktail. You have your choice of any of their housemade flavored sugar cubes in sparkling wine. I am excited to go back and try out some of their cocktails that are served hot such as the "Lao Bull" and "Milo's Goose Punch." They even have a cocktail called the "Kentucky Breakfast Flip" that has a whole egg in the ingredients. 

Marie Antoinette from Fox Liquor Bar - Their cocktails seem to lean a little more to the expensive side so this place has been on my Raleigh-to-do list for quite sometime. Tucked away below ground, Fox's has a atmosphere unlike any other in Raleigh and though it may not be a place to spend the entire night, it is a great place to come grab a fun cocktail that you cannot get anywhere else. My favorite is the "Marie Antoinette." Imagine a snow cone... for adults! It has white rum, lemon juice, sugar, Creme de Cacao and raspberries. This is all muddled together and served with crushed ice in a double rocks glass.  

The HiveThe Sting from The Hive - The Sting was recommended to me by a fellow member from the Out & About team, Lisa Jeffries. However, this drink is not for the faint of heart. Lisa, has mentioned that on a few occasions she has wound up with two Stings in hand, courtesy of friends who order without paying caution to the bite the jalapenos have. This cocktail is made with passion fruit vodka, muddled jalapenos, honey and cilantro. Though the drink is spicy going down, there is a sweet after taste that helps relieve the heat. The is a fun cocktail that is sure to shock your taste buds but in a good way. 

I would also like to give C. Grace on Glenwood South an honorable mention. Unfortunately, I did not have time to check it out but readers, friends and colleagues said this is definitely one that could not be left off the list. I am looking forward to giving it a try. 

I know there are lots of places in the Triangle to enjoy a good cocktail with friends. What other places should i add to my to-do list? This is one to-do list I won't mind doing! 

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