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Mixology Masterpieces: Signature Drinks to Try at the Best Speakeasies Worldwide

The world of mixology has experienced a renaissance in recent years, with bartenders around the globe experimenting with creative flavor combinations, innovative techniques, and stunning presentations. Speakeasies, those hidden gems tucked away behind secret doors and hidden entrances, are the perfect setting for these mixology masterpieces. In this post, we'll take you on a journey through some of the best speakeasies worldwide and introduce you to their signature drinks that you must try.

A Brief History of Speakeasies

Before we dive into the world of mixology, let's take a brief look at the history of speakeasies. These clandestine establishments first emerged during Prohibition in the United States (1920-1933), when the sale and consumption of alcohol were illegal. People would gather in secret locations, known as speakeasies, to enjoy their favorite libations away from the prying eyes of the law. Today, modern speakeasies are inspired by this era and often feature hidden entrances, dim lighting, and a strong focus on craft cocktails.

The Best Speakeasies and Their Signature Drinks

The Laundry Room, Las Vegas

Located within the Commonwealth bar, the Laundry Room is a cozy speakeasy that requires a secret text message to gain entry. This intimate venue is known for its handcrafted cocktails and bespoke creations. One of their signature drinks is the Velvet Smoking Jacket, a smooth concoction made with scotch, velvet falernum, and Angostura bitters, garnished with a flamed orange peel.

PDT (Please Don't Tell), New York City

Hidden behind a phone booth in a hot dog joint, PDT is one of the most famous speakeasies in the world. The bar is known for its inventive cocktails and has even published a book detailing their creations. One must-try drink is the Benton's Old Fashioned, a twist on the classic Old Fashioned, made with bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, and Angostura bitters.

The Gibson, London

The Gibson is a stylish speakeasy in London's Shoreditch neighborhood, known for its innovative cocktails and vintage-inspired décor. Their signature drink is The Gibson Martini, which features pickled onion-infused gin, dry vermouth, and a garnish of house-made pickled onions.

El Paradiso, Barcelona

Hidden behind a secret door in a pastrami shop, El Paradiso is a chic speakeasy that transports visitors to a world of refined mixology. One of their standout creations is the Mediterranean Treasure, a vibrant drink made with gin, limoncello, basil, and a splash of tonic water, garnished with a sprig of rosemary.

The Varnish, Los Angeles

Tucked away in the back of Cole's French Dip in downtown Los Angeles, The Varnish is a hidden gem that has won multiple awards for its exceptional cocktails. The Remember the Maine is a must-try, featuring rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, cherry liqueur, and absinthe.

Honorable Mentions

  • Little Red Door, Paris: Known for its artistic approach to mixology, Little Red Door's signature drink is the L'Artichaut, a mix of Cognac, artichoke liqueur, and bitters.

  • Bitter & Twisted, Phoenix: Housed in a historic building that once served as Arizona's Prohibition headquarters, Bitter & Twisted is known for its playful and innovative cocktails. Be sure to try the Duck Bath Punch, a quirky drink featuring duck fat-washed bourbon, peach liqueur, lemon, and ginger beer.

  • 28 HongKong Street, Singapore: This award-winning speakeasy is known for its exceptional service and creative cocktails. One standout drink is the Whore's Bath, a unique combination of gin, yuzu marmalade, lemon, and a hint of absinthe, topped with sparkling wine.

  • The Library, Berlin: Hidden behind a bookshelf in a whiskey bar, The Library is a cozy speakeasy with a literary twist. Their signature drink, the Hemingway Daiquiri, pays tribute to the famous author and features white rum, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit, and lime.

The Art of Mixology and Why It Matters

Now that we've introduced you to some of the best speakeasies and their signature drinks, let's explore the art of mixology and why it's essential to the speakeasy experience. Mixology is the art and science of creating cocktails, combining flavors, techniques, and presentation to create a memorable and enjoyable experience. Speakeasies place a strong emphasis on mixology, as it allows them to differentiate themselves from traditional bars and create a unique atmosphere.

The resurgence of speakeasies and the focus on mixology have led to a greater appreciation for craft cocktails and the skills of talented bartenders. Mixologists are constantly pushing the boundaries of what's possible in a cocktail, experimenting with new ingredients, techniques, and presentations. As a result, visiting a speakeasy is more than just an opportunity to enjoy a delicious drink; it's an immersive experience that engages all the senses.