Birmingham’s restaurant and bar scene serves up quality, finely crafted and award-winning cocktails. Can’t decide what to order? Start with one of these bestselling cocktails.
1. The Legendary Sex Panther, $9, the Atomic Lounge
The Legendary Sex Panther at the Atomic Lounge is a must-try. Owners Rachael Roberts and Feizal Valli were semifinalists for Outstanding Bar Program at the 2018 James Beard Awards.
- What’s in The Legendary Sex Panther? Old Grandad bourbon, cynar, Hoodoo chicory liqueur, demerara and bitters, PLUS! flame and a temporary panther tattoo.
- Where do I get it? The Atomic Lounge, 2113 1st Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203
2. Blackberry Winter, $12, Avo & Dram
The Blackberry Winter has been a mainstay on Avo & Dram‘s menu since the dual restaurant-whiskey bar opened almost 10 years ago.
Avo & Dram tells Bham Now, “It’s an excellent cocktail for the experienced bourbon drinker and someone just learning about all that bourbon has to offer.”
- What’s in a Blackberry Winter? Knob Creek bourbon, house-made sours, blackberry purée.
- Where do I get it? Avo & Dram, 2721 Cahaba Rd, Mountain Brook, Alabama 35223
3. Wayne Rogers and Lemon Russo, Bistro 218
- What’s in a Wayne Rogers? Maker’s Mark bourbon, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, Jerry Thomas bitters.
- What’s in a Lemon Russo? Vodka, limoncello, ginger beer, basil, cracked black pepper.
- Where do I get it? Bistro 218, 218 20st Street North, Birmingham, Alabama, 35203
The two bestselling cocktails at Bistro 218 cater to different tastes. The Wayne Rogers is for the mash fans and old-fashioned enthusiasts, while the Lemon Russo is a spicy, savory drink.
4. Jeckyll, $12, and Strangelove, $12, Cafe Dupont
- What’s in a Jeckyll? Havana Club Añejo Clásico rum, Plantation OFTD rum, Absolut vanilla vodka and Luxardo Sangue Morlaco cherry brandy. Topped with vanilla egg foam and Bordeaux cherry.
- What’s in a Strangelove (pictured above)? Sipsmith gin, Aperol, thyme-infused honey, lemon.
- Where do I get it? Cafe Dupont, downtown Birmingham on 20th Street between 1st & 2nd Avenue North
“You’ll always hear bartenders discussing the balance of a cocktail—how the flavors work to be cohesive, but that’s not what makes a good cocktail great. That kind of talk is simply sausage-making.”—Ronald Andrés Moore, Cafe Dupont
“What people want is something that lines up with what and where they want their night to take them. A good cocktail is a good story. We all want something that tastes good, so the bartender works on that, but more importantly, a good drink becomes part of the story of the drinker.”
5. Cucumber Cooler, $12, Fancy’s on 5th
“This drink is super refreshing! It is the perfect early summer cocktail, and like a lot of my drinks at Fancy’s, utilizes easy to find ingredients from your bar and kitchen.”—Megan Miller, manager and head of bar program, Fancy’s on 5th
- What’s in a Cucumber Cooler? Hendrick’s gin, fresh lime juice, cucumber purée, mint simple syrup.
- Where do I get it? Fancy’s on 5th, 430 41st Street South, Avondale, Alabama 35222
6. Buttercup Punch, $10, Fero at the Pizitz Food Hall
- What’s in a Buttercup Punch? Rose wine, Presidente brandy, fresh lime juice, fresh orange juice, house-made ginger lemongrass syrup. Garnished with orange and grapefruit wheels, strawberries and mint.
- Where do I get it? Fero, located at the Pizitz Food Hall, 1821 2nd Avenue North, Suite 176, Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Emily Williams, a former bar manager at Fero, is the creative brain behind the restaurants’ top-selling concoction, Buttercup Punch.
7. The Neverending Summer, $12, Habitat Feed & Social at the Grand Bohemian Hotel
- What’s in the Neverending Summer? Cathead vodka, fresh lemon juice, elderflower liqueur, tiki bitters and prosecco.
- Where do I get it? Habitat Feed & Social at the Grand Bohemian Hotel, 2655 Lane Park Road, Mountain Brook, Alabama 35223
“Our signature drink, the Neverending Summer, is by far our bestselling drink. It’s a refreshing drink in the summer and spring and a fond reminder of what we’re missing in the fall and winter.”—Raymond Reyes, restaurant manager, Habitat Feed & Social
8. Crooked Porch Swing, $11, Hot and Hot Fish Club
- What’s in a Crooked Porch Swing? Hennessy Black, blackberry, mint, B&B liqueur, orange, Cointreau, Fernet-Branca and lime, shaken and topped with ginger ale.
- Where do I get it? Hot and Hot Fish Club, 2180 11th Court South, Birmingham, AL 35205
“It’s an incredibly refreshing Cognac cocktail that brings a feeling of enjoying iced tea on the porch. Using Petals from the Past blackberries makes this drink shine.”—Leta Woller, office manager, Hot and Hot Fish Club
9. Tiki Drink, $10, John’s City Diner
- What’s in a Tiki Drink? Light rum, Myers dark rum, Falernum, apricot brandy, Bordeaux cherry juice, orange bitters, fresh squeezed lime, fresh orange juice and pineapple juice.
- Where do I get it? John’s City Diner, 112 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd North, Birmingham, Alabama, 35203
“Although craft cocktails are all the fascination,” John’s City Diner told Bham Now, “we find that classic cocktails are really the most popular. Taking inspiration from Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco, our classic Tiki Drink has had a place on our cocktail menu since 2013.”
10. The Paloma, The Marble Ring
- What’s in the Paloma? Tequila, Aperol, grapefruit, lime, soda.
- Where can I get it? The Marble Ring, 430 41st Street South, Suite B, Birmingham, Alabama 35222
The Marble Ring is co-owned by Paget Pizitz and Harriet Reis, who also own Fancy’s on 5th. Two great bars crafting a host of awesome cocktails. Thanks, ladies!
11. Rufus Horneros, $9, Ovenbird
Ovenbird told Bham Now that this cocktail’s unusual name is the scientific name for the ovenbird.
- What’s in a Rufus Horneros? Old Overholt rye whiskey, house-made pecan syrup, Scrappy’s chocolate bitters and Angostura bitters. It’s garnished with orange peel, a cherry and a feather (plucked from a bird Chef Chris Hastings himself hunted!).
- Where do I get it: Ovenbird, 2810 Third Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama 35233
“Old Overholt is one of the oldest rye whiskies in the country, dating back to 1801. To be considered a ‘rye whiskey,’ it must have at least 51% rye in the mashbill,” Ovenbird told Bham Now.
“Classically, rye whiskey has a pronounced spiced flavor profile compared to its cousin, bourbon, which has sweeter tones. Flavors on this whiskey include soft hints of vanilla, clove and white pepper. Those hints smoothen throughout, unlike bigger rye whiskeys, like Rittenhouse, where spice prevails.”
12. Basil Smash, $10, Tavern on 1st
“The Basil Smash’s distinctive flavor profile makes it extremely popular among our patrons. Our house-made cucumber syrup is the key, secret ingredient that makes it an unforgettable cocktail experience.”—Ri Greene, manager, Tavern on 1st
- What’s in a Basil Smash? Hendrick’s gin, lime juice, house-made cucumber syrup, green chartreuse, muddled basil.
- Where do I get it? Tavern on 1st, 2320 1st Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203