Many restaurants update their specialty drinks at the change of every season, offering pleasing blends of seasonal fruits and liquors.
For a taste of the good life, one needn't travel to Manhattan for delicious elixirs. Below you'll find a list of some of our picks for the most unusual and tempting drinks around. (Please see the sidebar for more information.)
Hands down the oddest presentation award goes to Bahama Mama's, who serves up Fishbowls of fun. (Yes, that really is a fishbowl people are sipping from!) The bowl is meant to be shared by a group of friends and comes with several straws. The original Fishbowl is a fruity blend of Malibu Rum and pineapple juice that is an electric blue color. Having recently expanded their drink menu, the "Fishbowl" comes in a variety of flavors and colors.
Although Baja is probably better know for their specialty margaritas, they also serve fancy Martinis. Two such favorites are the Posmo (Pomegranate Martini) and the Tropical Tini. We loved the Posmo, which is a smoother version of the Cosmopolitan. For a taste that will send you to the beach, the Tropical Tini was a sweet blend of rum and juice.
Those craving a berry-luscious drink will want to sip on the Razz, which is served at the Brass Rail. This raspberry Martini gets its unique flavor from the hint of raspberry beer. The beer is blended with cranberry juice and raspberry vodka for a smooth and slightly tart taste. Another juicy option is the Pomegranate flavored Martini. Guests can sample Martinis for $5 every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to close.
Feeling nostalgic for childhood treats? Then sample City Bistro's Orange Creamsickle, which tastes exactly like the ice cream bar. Also new is the Martini Just Peachy that tastes like a light refreshing peach juice. These two are part of the new drink list that was rolled out last week. According to Carlos Cunha, assistant bar manager, they try to create new flavors to keep up with the changing tastes of guests. City Bistro offers happy hour all night on Monday and their Martini Night is on Thursday night.
Even traditional pubs like Court Street in Hoboken offer signature cocktails. They offer a twist on the classic French Martini with their Sunrise Sorbet, which has a dash of peach liquor. According to Jeff Wysocki, bar manager, they are currently revamping their list to reflect current drink trends. Jeff said that while Martinis are popular with men and women, men almost always order the classic Martini.
The Gaslight has a wide selection of specialty cocktails and Martinis. Their signature drink, The Gaslight, is a chocolate lover's dream. It is a creamy blend of chocolate liquor and features a chocolate-rimmed glass. The Flirtini is popular with the ladies. This Martini has a hint of raspberry and is topped off with champagne. The Gaslight offers Martini specials every Wednesday night.
LITM in Jersey City has a few hot drinks created by head bartender Andrea Morin that will warm you right up. The Spiked Spiced Cider is a blend of apple cider, spiced rum, and cinnamon. Chocolate lovers will want to indulge in the Mocha Cocoa, which is a warm blend of cocoa, Bailey's, and coffee liquor. LITM offers different specialty drinks for each season and daily happy hour specials.
Lua located on the beautiful Hudson River waterfront offers many seasonal cocktails. The Caipirinha or the Caiparosca is a refreshing blend of liquor and citrus. The Caipirinha is a slightly sweeter with a blend of sugar cane rum and muddled lemon and limes. The Caiparosca is blended with vodka. Each sip of this citrus beverage evokes memories of lemonade. According to head bartender Chris Drescher, the drinks are of New York City quality. "You get a little slice of that life without having to cross the river," said Drescher. All of their specialty drinks can be sampled at half-price during happy hour Monday to Friday from 6 to 8 p.m.
For a taste of the tropics, sip on the provocative Lychee Tini served at the elegant Madison Bar & Grill in Hoboken. This drink has a slightly sweet finish with the blend of Lychee fruit puree and vanilla vodka. Another new flavor is the Honey Mojito, which is a new twist on the classic Mojito. It is a delightful blend of honey grappa, fresh mint, and lime. This is lip-smacking good! Tuesday night is half-price Martinis.
Mercy Grill offers the Oatmeal Cookie, which is sure to satisfy those with a sweet tooth. It tastes just like a liquid cookie. In addition, Mercy Grill offers two house specials, the signature Red or Blue. If that doesn't sound special enough, the menu describes both as a "house secret recipe."
The downtown lounge Nine has several unique blends including the Starburst or Love Potion Number 9. The Starburst is a high octane blend of cherry flavored vodka and energy drink Red Bull. Love Potion Number Nine blends orange, pineapple and banana. Nine offers discounts on their signature drinks Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Oddfellows has a fun and festive Mardi Gras atmosphere. If you can't make it to the Bayou this year, you can still celebrate New Orleans style with a classic Hurricane or Blue Bayou specialty drink. The bright red Hurricane is a tempting blend of rum and juice. Yet this fruity drink packs a punch. There is a three-drink limit at Oddfellows. The Blue Bayou is even sweeter with a blend of Malibu, pineapple and sugar rimmed glass. Oddfellows offers Hurricanes for $5 all night long on Monday and Wednesday and from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Just in time for St. Patrick's Day is Willie McBride's Dirty Leprechaun. The Leprechaun is a smooth creamy concoction of Jameson and Bailey's with a hint of mint. This drink probably won't outsell Guinness any time soon, but it is a surprising good mix. According to head bartender Julie, the drink is "like a car bomb without the car." "If you are looking for something sweet and tasty with a kick - this drink is for you," Julie said.
Bahama Mama's, 215 Washington St., Hoboken (217-1642)
Baja, 104 14th St., Hoboken (653-0610)
Baja, 117 Montgomery St., Jersey City (915-0062)
Brass Rail, 135 Washington St., Hoboken (659-7074)
City Bistro, 56 14th St., Hoboken (963-8200)
Court Street, 61 Sixth St., Hoboken (795-4515)
Gaslight, 400 Adams St., Hoboken (217-1400)
LITM, 140 Newark Ave., Jersey City (536-5557)
Lua, 1300 Sinatra Drive, Hoboken (876-1900)
Madison, 1316 Washington St., Hoboken (386-0300)
Mercy Grill, 230 Washington St., Hoboken (239-1400)
Nine, 333 Washington St., Hoboken (795-9899)
Oddfellows, 80 River St., Hoboken (656-9009)
Willie McBride's, 616 Grand St., Hoboken (610-1522)