There are lots of good reasons to throw back a tasty bourbon-based cocktail every now and again, but here’s an obvious one: Monday, June 14, is National Bourbon Day. And only the most disrespectful anti-bourbonite would choose not to imbibe at some point this week in recognition of the holiday. So with that in mind, we bring you our picks for five great spots to enjoy a bourbon cocktail.
Chelsea Five Gastropub
Those who prefer stunning visuals to pair with their cocktail would be wise to head to Chelsea Five Gastropub in the Chelsea Tower at Tropicana Atlantic City, where the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean offer some of the best views in town. And they know their bourbon here, too, as they feature over 25 of them. For a cocktail, order up their Ginger Bourbon Smash, a mix of bourbon, ginger cane syrup, mint and ginger beer, and enjoy. The Chelsea Tower at Tropicana is located at 2831 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Go to Tropicana.net.
Steve & Cookie’s
Anyone who has spent any time at this foodie paradise in Margate knows that their bar is as legendary as their kitchen, with a cocktail menu that heavily features Manhattans. Most of them feature rye as the dominant spirit in the drink as per tradition, however, there is one tasty exception that uses bourbon in its place: Warner’s “Oasis” Manhattan swaps out the rye for their own date-infused Maker’s Mark bourbon, which is then stirred with Carpano Antica 1786 Sweet Vermouth for an elegant and unique twist on a classic. Steve & Cookie’s is located at 9700 Amherst Ave in Margate. Go to SteveAndCookies.com.
Rhythm & Spirits
Easily the best cocktail bar in Atlantic City’s Orange Loop area, the seasonally rotating menu at Rhythm & Spirits features a long list of craft cocktails featuring spirits of all kinds, from tequila to rum, vodka and beyond. But when it comes to bourbon, our favorite at R&S is easily the Intense Orange Old Fashioned. The drink starts with their own Russel’s Reserve #TennAveAC bourbon, which is mixed with a fresh orange reduction and finished with Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters before being strained over ice and served. You won’t be disappointed. Rhythm & Spirits is located at 129 S. Tennessee Ave. in Atlantic City. Go to RhythmAndSpirits.com.
Josie Kelly’s Public House
It’s hard not to find happiness in a perfect Irish pub such as Josie Kelly’s, as merely stepping into the perpetually jovial atmosphere here brings a smile to the face of most. But if you’re looking for happiness in bourbon form, check out their cocktail menu, which is home to the Happiness is a Warm Gun, a smoky take on an old fashioned that starts with Bulleit Bourbon and swaps a muddled brown sugar cube in for the standard white before adding both orange bitters and old fashioned bitters along with a bit of citrus peel – in this case from a fresh orange. But the big thing that separates this from any other old fashioned you may have had is that it is served in a cocktail glass with a stemmed glass on top, which has been filled with smoke via a smoking cloche. That not only adds an aromatic to the drink, but puts on a fun visual show when removed. Josie Kelly’s Public House is located at 908 Shore Road in Somers Point. Go to JosieKellys.com.
The Brown Room
It doesn’t get more sophisticated and cool than The Brown Room. This Cape May lounge at Congress Hall features a gorgeous circular bar, as well as dark-toned woods, leather chairs, a fireplace, custom wallpaper and an overall sense of style that is simply unmatched. It also serves as the perfect space to relax and enjoy a cocktail, and their Cherry Bourbon Sour is divine with its simple blend of Maker’s Mark Bourbon, lemon and the addition of a perfect Luxardo Cherry. The Brown Room is located at 200 Congress Place in Cape May. Go to CapeResorts.com.