Crafting a great cocktail might sound like a simple undertaking, but any true connoisseur knows it’s a dauntingly complex endeavor. Taste is not merely enough. Master mixologists stir in a bit of history and geography at these unmissable hotel cocktail bars in Singapore, London, New Orleans, and beyond—and of course, a healthy sprinkling of the unexpected. If you’re not thirsty yet, read on—we promise you will be.
HÔTEL LES ROCHES ROUGES
Saint- Raphaël, France
Of course the view—endless Mediterranean blue—is the first thing you notice at Hôtel Les Roches Rouges, a sanctuary of barefoot Riviera luxury housed in a renovated late-1950s structure within a natural coastal reserve between Saint-Tropez and Cannes. But soon enough, you may find yourself at one of the three bars—La Cabane, Beach Bar, and La Terrace—where mixologist Dean Shury has delved into local Provençal delicacies to create his own range of cocktails. Rinquinquin, pastis, barley syrup, orange, and peach wine: just like the dishes in the restaurant, the cocktails are made using ingredients from local producers.
The Lobby Bar at the Warehouse, named for the building’s historical function on the banks of Robertson Quay, offers a cocktail program reflecting the three distinct eras of the building’s past. Representing its incarnation as an 1895 warehouse, known in Asia as a godown, are rustic infusions that transport you to the heart of the old spice trade, such as the Singapore Sazerec, made from raisin bourbon, pandan bitters, rye, cognac, and absinthe. Referencing Havelock Road’s time as Chiu Long Lo in Hokkien—or ‘Spirits Distillery Street’—are heavier concoctions such as the Madame Butterfly, made of roselle tequila, watermelon shrub, rosé, kaffir lime salt, and soda. Flirty concoctions like the Barbarella—hibiscus gin, elderflower, rhubarb, Earl Grey tea—are inspired by the venue’s transformation in the 1980s into an iconic disco.
Hotel Proverbs’ East End Bar, undoubtedly one of the city’s top drinking establishments, is a joint venture of drink entrepreneur Nick Wu and Japanese cocktail master Hidetsugu Uen. Their unique partnership blends Japanese precision and Taiwanese flair in drinks like the Dong Gua Mojito—oolong-infused rum with winter melon—or in duck-fat-washed bourbon cocktails, which draw many a drinker to this postmodern hub in Taipei’s cosmopolitan Eastern District.
New Orleans, United States
Housed in what was once a 1950s-era motel in New Orleans’ storied Mid-City neighborhood, The Drifter has been a colorful focal point of the historic neighborhood’s remarkable post-Katrina renewal. The hotel’s popular poolside bar has become a next-generation social hub for the area, while The Drifter’s mid-century Americana aesthetic extends to the gorgeous, delectable 1950s-inspired cocktails that vividly complement its Googie-style, streamline-modernist architecture.
The bar at Huus Gstaad, a modern-day chalet set some 1,111 meters above sea level in a spectacular Swiss Alp setting, is a local après-ski favorite. Beyond tremendous views of the Bernese Oberland, the bar features an impressive cocktail list with all the classics, not to mention unusual additions like the Bramble, made with gin, Chambord, lime juice, and raspberries. And at this altitude, you don’t need many.
Munich’s 16-room The Flushing Meadows Hotel & Bar takes its name from the glorious fields that surround it. Its 11 loft studios were individually designed by local luminaries, including Austrian actress and singer Birgit Minichmayr, musician Michi Beck, pro-surfer Quirin Rohleder, Helmut Geier aka DJ Hell, and industrial furniture designer Norbert Wangen. But the highlight just might be the rooftop Flushing Meadows Bar, helmed by prodigious barman Robin Bruderhofer and featuring perfectly crafted concoctions that, together with the sunny terrace and views over the southern roofs of Munich (and even, on a good day, the Alps), make the bar a mecca for guests and locals alike.