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Austin's Best Cocktail Bars

10.11.2013 by: Beth Stockwell Vanderkolk
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Sometimes after a long workday, a beer or glass of wine just won't cut it; you need a cocktail. And we're not talking about a vodka soda or Cosmopolitan - we're talking craft cocktails that are creative, inspired, and perfectly balanced. Here are our favorite restaurants and bars for craft cocktails in Austin:
1.  Weather Up 
This hidden gem serves over 100 different cocktails, each one more interesting than the last. Weather Up also has a great variety of ice: from giant balls of ice to tiny pebbles of ice. Some cocktail favorites from Weather Up include the St. Charles Punch made of cognac and port, brown sugar, lemon, and nutmeg, and the Suffering Bastard made of gin, lime, bitters, and ginger. 
Weather Up's Bramble, pretty simple but absolutely delicious mix of muddled blackberries and gin over ice
FINO has been bringing upscale food and cocktails to the campus area for years now, and they've really got their drinks down pat. We love the Brief Introduction, made with Nicaraguan rum, Velvet Falernum, allspice liqueur, grenadine, and lemon. We also recommend the Pennsylvania Railroad Sour made with bourbon, sweet vermouth, rum, peach liqueur, and lemon.
FINO's Tapatio Two-Step made of pink peppercorn Tequila Tapatio, lime juice, cane syrup, and beer
{Photo via FINO's Facebook}
3.    Peche   
Peche's bartenders have really mastered mixology. It's one of the only places in town to get real absinthe, and they also make adult milkshake cocktails. We really like Peche's NY Sour made of Makers Mark, lemon, simple syrup, and a red wine floater. Their Fig Manhattan is also a hit, made with rye, sweet vermouth, and house cherry vanilla. 
Peche's Grasshopper adult milkshake, made with house-made vanilla ice cream, creme de cacao, and green creme de menthe
{Photo via Peche's Facebook}
4.   East Side Show Room  
ESSR's master mixologist Justin Mork knows a thing or two about classic American cocktails. He uses fresh squeezed juices and artisanal liquors, along with hand-made infusions, tinctures and syrups. Try his Prescription Julep made with cognac, rye whiskey, raw sugar, and mint. We also love The Gilmore, made with vodka, pear, elderflower, pineapple, and lime. 
East Side Show Room's By The Books made with Campari, lime, and mescal
{Photo via ESSR's Facebook}
Paggi House makes the list not only for its cocktails, but also because the restaurant provides such a beautiful place to drink them. Whether you're tucked away inside, on the deck, or at the bar, Paggi House has killer ambiance. We love the Peruvian Pilot, made with Picso, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, Creme De Violette, lemon, and prosecco. Another favorite is Paggi's Chai'car made with Courvoisier VS, Amaretto, chai tea, lemon, and cane sugar syrup. 
Paggi House's Mr. Bill Compton made with vanilla-infused rum, beet juice and brandy reduction, lime, and agave {Photo via Paggi House's Facebook}

TAGS : South Lamar/South First , Downtown , UT Campus , East Austin , Peche , East Side Showroom , Weather Up