We at Stock & Barrel remember a time in this city when asking for a “cocktail menu” would have resulted in a surly bartender just pointing to bottles on the wall behind them.
Just like Columbus is no longer a cowtown, its drink scene is no longer “and-Coke” territory.
It’s not just cocktail bars and distilleries involved anymore, either; today, opening a bar without a cocktail program and a capable captain to continually reinvent the list would be a grave misstep.
And you know reaps the benefits?
This summer, we urge the city to celebrate in its newfound spirit with this curated list, trying a unique cocktail each from 50 (yes, 50!) different stills around Columbus.
Just not all at once. And remember to have some water, too.
M at Miranova
When you’re feelin’ real fancy, try this mix from M: Bulleit Rye, fresh lemon, house made grenadine, and absinthe.
Blind Lady Tavern
With a clever, law-themed cocktail list, Blind Lady will bring some boozy justice to your weekend, primarily with the Jail Break—shaking up bitters, gin, manzanilla sherry, and Velvet Falernum.
La Reina del Sur
The Bottle Shop
Translating to “The Queen of the South,” this one is all we could ask for from south of the border: Ancho Reyes, Plata tequila, mezcal, and the usual suspects of orange liqueur, lime, and sugar.
When you’re at a joint called Giuseppe’s, go for the bona fide. House limoncello, Aperol, OJ, citrate angostura, and prosecco round out this Mediterranean delight.
The Dude Abides
Perfect for a city where The Dude-a-Thon sells out every year in about five minutes. With house horchata, coffee rum cordial, Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, and cream. Put on your bowling shoes to throw one back autenticamente.
Smoke Dat Tree!
Using the close-to-home alongside the out-of-this world, Denmark pairs Watershed Bourbon with a touch of smoke to achieve a new blend of flavors.
Since most bartenders know all the ins and outs of alcohol, we think it’s only natural to trust their mixology knowledge. The Sweet Deal! allows the barman or women to combine any beer with their choice of shot to create this mystery cocktail.
The Guild House
Thanks to blue curacao, this cocktail is not only beautiful but sure to add some spirit to your summertime. Mixed with the sugarcane-based Avuá Cachaça prata, Suze, fresh pineapple, lime, and passionfruit, this drink can only be tropical-licious.
Frozen Irish Coffee
It’s late. You don’t need coffee. It’s not even that hot out. Doesn’t matter. This is what you want. Good luck not ordering two—and going to sleep at a reasonable time.
Bourbon. Bacon. Beautiful
They said it best with the name of this mix. Fat-washed Larceny Bourbon, grapefruit shrub, maple syrup, and candied bacon. We love cocktails that come with a snack.
PINS Mechanical Company
Beer or cocktail? Why not both? A base of Two Brothers Pale Ale kicked up a notch with bourbon, Koval’s Jasmine, honey, and lemon. You’ve got all your booze bases covered.
It’s always fun to take colorful juices we drank as children and douse them in alcohol. The high-end Short North restaurant Eleven is doing just that—mixing Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka and St. Germain’s with classic grapefruit and cranberry juices.
Tried a pour from each of the color-coded tap handles at Seventh Son? We’ve got the perfect recipe to keep the summer fun going all-day: ¾ of a Strong Ale, topped with a scoop of Paloma slushie. No substitute, no regrets.
Brothers Drake Meadery
Get twice the local bang for your buck with this mead cocktail, featuring Wild Ohio Mead, and OYO Vodka. With whiskey, two more types of vodka, and a splash of cola, this one will get the Summer party started.
Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen
Now you can join Juicy J in a little Purple Drank drankin. Hoof Hearted forgoes the cough syrup for Watershed Four Peel gin, St. Germain, blackberry cordial, lemon juice, and soda water.
Hush & Wonder
It’s no wonder that the cocktails served inside the bar in The Leveque Tower match the sophistication of the gargantuan building. While their list of craft drinks all sound delectable, we thought The Hush & Wonder—a white rum, coconut milk, and mango puree based beverage—was worth mentioning for its summer-y aptitude. Did we mention they brulee a mango on top?
Not into the sweet stuff? Named after a former owner of the Grandview Cafe, the Dicky Dick has Don Julio Blanco tequila, cilantro, lemon, and smoked paprika. A little bit fresh, a little bit smoky. Just like we like ‘em.
We are going to go out on a limb here and say that adding Absolut Vanilla vodka to an Oreo milkshake is not only goddamn delightful, but also 100 percent constitutes a cocktail. Fight us.
Salted Caramel Old Fashioned
When alcohol meets dessert, it’s always a victory. Adding smooth vanilla, caramel, and a pinch of salt to Monkey Shoulder whiskey and Henry McKenna single barrel has created this sweet spirit.
This magical summer fairy of a drink has Middle West’s Vim and Petal gin, along with artisanal extras like vegan egg whites, honey, and juniper dust.
Select Barrel Sour
Buckeye Bourbon House
With BBH Knob Creek Single Barrel, Amaretto, lemon, sugar, and egg white for that frothy body we all love, this one could be your select summer sour.
The combination of vanilla ice cream, North High Brewing’s Thunderkiss Nitro, cold brew coffee, and Belvedere Unfiltered makes it so that our biggest three vices are simultaneously satisfied—caffeine, sugar, and vodka. Add in a splash of Coco Lopez coconut creme for balance and you have a cocktail worth splurging for.
Olde Towne Tavern
Let us take you down, ’cause we’re going to Strawberry Fields at the Olde Towne Tavern. Mixing together whipped cream and Smirnoff Strawberry with crisp lemon and simple syrup, this is one psychedelic cocktail.
Black Walnut Old Fashioned
Sometimes taking a conventional cocktail to the next level just means replacing the regular ol’ ingredients with something with a little bolder. In this case, the Black Walnut Bitters and demerara brightens the taste of the bourbon in this elegant spin on the original classic cocktail.
Lushies: A series of frozen concoctions that will take you back— but not too far back. The Negroni has Nolet’s Gin, Noilly Prat, Campari, Aperol, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Drink it until your brain—and every worry—is frozen in time.
The Tijuana Knife Fight
With a name like this, we’re sure this cocktail is killer. And it is—Vida Mezcal with hibiscus, creme de mure, lime, chipotle, and smoked sea salt rim.
Oaxacan Old Fashioned
Kraft House No. 5
Tequila and brunch are two things we can really support. This Sunday brunch-only cocktail features Mezcal, agave, mole bitters, and, of course, Añejo tequila.
Up and Up
Spiked coffee gets an automatic hell yes from us. This cocktail uses cold brew from Brioso Coffee, Rumchata, and Middle West Spirits OYO Honey Vanilla Bean vodka.
The Market Italian Village
We all loved the classic supernatural horror film, so of course a cocktail with the same name is going to rock. Plus it has a shit-ton of flavor. Gosling’s Black Seal, Plantation Pineapple rum, house Falernum, lime, mango, Angostura Bitters, and ginger beer. Talk about deadly.
Black Brick Honey Bourbon
OYO Michelone Reserve Bourbon, house infused honey syrup, and fresh rosemary. This one’ll cure what ails ya.
Exit Through the Blue Light
Light of Seven Matchsticks
Leave it to a speciality cocktail speakeasy to create the finest over-the-top concoctions Columbus has to offer. It may be a bit of a word salad, but Exit Through the Blue Light’s two types of aged gin, Green Chartreuse liqueur, and Batavia Arrack makes for a bold, flavorful, and contemporary take on the use of its timeless ingredients.
Ode to Red Rocks
It almost seems unreasonable to expect a pizza parlor to skimp on quality cocktails, especially one that is famous for (actually serving) quality ingredients. Ode to Redrocks makes for a refreshing summer beverage, combing OYO Stone Fruit Vodka, pomegranate, basil syrup, and a twist of lime.
If you think adding maple syrup to your cocktail is weird, you’re wrong. Drink up the rich flavors of breakfast with the mixture of Ohio maple syrup, egg white, lemon, blueberry green tea gin and a sprinkle of classic pepper.
The Whitney Mimosa
The Whitney House
Who said mimosa can only be a brunch speciality? The Whitney House is branching out from the classic mimosa and ignoring the clock by mixing together sparkling wine with refreshing passion fruit nectar.
It’s not unexpected to mix vodka and lemonade, but there is something especially whimsical about plopping a goddamn bomb pop in the center of a cocktail, making for an iconic drink that hits us right in the childhood. “Hulkamania is running wild, Brother!”
101 Beer Kitchen
Compari, Dolin Rouge, and Green Chartreuse round out one of three Negronis on the menu. This comes with the crown jewel of cocktails.: The Large Cube, with a cherry and a twist.
Ohio Old Fashioned
We all know and love the classic Old Fashioned, but what about an Ohio-specific Old Fashioned? Tucci’s is kickin’ it local and adding Watershed bourbon to maple syrup and orange bitters for an elegant cocktail.
Raspberry French 75
Matt the Miller’s
No, basil isn’t just for your Italian food. Matt the Miller’s version of a French 75 has Watershed gin, Chambord, lime juice, champagne, and basil, which make for a refreshing summer drink.
Whitney’s Death in the Afternoon
Ernest Hemingway claims to have invented Death in the Afternoon, a calm mix of absinthe and champagne, but Three Sheets adds simple syrup to their version. Just a simple, pleasant cocktail that will knock you on your ass.
With a cocktail named the Stinkin’ Olentangy, Tip Top has local on lock. They put some stank on a long island by swapping the gin for Old Crow Whiskey.
Made with Cazadores Tequila and with the added twist of a Grand Marnier float, who wouldn’t want to hop on?
Old North Arcade
Don’t let your inherent muggle-ness stop you from indulging in the sugary spin on J.K. Rowling’s iconic butterbeer—butterscotch schnapps, spiced rum, cream soda, topped with whipped cream and a cookie.
They started bottling their mules. They’re that good. When Rambling House launched their soda about four years ago, ginger beer quickly became a favorite. They pair it with vodka, sugar, spices, and lemon for a killer mule.
A quirky take on the traditional Moscow Mule, Hubbard Grille is shaking in some lavender simple syrup with the customary bases for an herbal delight.
If you think that blackberry preserves is an ingredient exclusively reserved for toast, we say shame on you. Paired with with ginger, lemon, Jameson Caskmates, and Grand Marnier, the Wally Smash will surely lead to a summer of being properly smashed.
A cocktail served with a sugar cube is the kind of fancy we can get behind. The Sazerac features Sazerac Rye, Absinthe rinse, and Peychaud’s Bitters.
The Spicy Redhead
Mirroring the visual aesthetic of Julianne Moore or Ginger from Gilligan’s Island, this spicy redhead starts with chili pepper infused OYO Vodka, muddled strawberry, mint, lemon, Creme de Framboise, and a splash of St. Germaine and soda for balance.
We are not sure if this is a My Little Pony reference but regardless, the drink sounds like a blast of fruit flavor—watermelon, lemon, basil and spiking it off with OYO Vodka and St. Germain’s.
Grass Skirt Tiki Room
You know when you’re in an authentic tiki bar when the cocktail menu is organized by “rum” and “not rum” options. Out of the Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands circa 1971 comes the Painkiller, a numbing island cocktail consisting of Pusser’s Navy Rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, cream of coconut, and a dash of fresh nutmeg.
The Manhattan Project
Much like the real Manhattan Project, this spin on a classic cocktail offers up an explosion of flavor by adding in vanilla bean simple syrup and chocolate bitters to the ingredient list. Cherry infused Woodford Reserve and Cocci vermouth you say? We will drink enough to “fallout” of our chairs.
SPECIAL THANKS TO: Bartenders/models Annie Williams Pierce, Lindsey Waldron, and Rebecca Monday; stylist Devan Aledia (@devan.aledia.hair), “splash” photo location help from Eric, Angie, and Katie Tabor, and photo assistance from Josh Martin.