Cocktail Variety at Sweetwater Social

Cocktail Variety at Sweetwater Social

Ivan Drago (Courtesy Sweetwater Social)

Last week I stopped by below-street-level bar Sweetwater Social and spoke to one of its owners Shaun Rose about their upcoming fall cocktail menu. The bar, which has been open since March of this year, is a counterpart to Bleecker Kitchen & Co., a sit-down restaurant located upstairs. There is a little overlap with food items, but Sweetwater is predominantly a cocktail lounge.

Rose explained that mixologists Tim Cooper and Justin Noel developed the cocktail menu. “Mostly [they] take classic [drinks] and put spins on them,” he said. Though this will only be their second iteration of the menu since opening, Rose plans to change things up four times a year going forward. This season, Sweetwater will be featuring a lot of brown spirits for keeping warm during the cooler months. Also in the works for the new cocktail list are more detailed descriptions of each drink. Rose has noticed drinkers have grown more interested in why and how a cocktail is created.

Call of Duty (Courtesy Sweetwater Social)

My friend and I tried a variety of drinks during our visit, both from the current and upcoming menus. Everything was expertly and quickly prepared. Even if there’s a crowd, you won’t be waiting 20 minutes for your drink here, Rose promised. Plus, there’s a wide selection—from sweet and fruity beverages to more liquor-heavy drinks—so Sweetwater is truly a crowd pleaser.

New cocktail varieties included the lemonade-esque French Colony Fix, made with rum, Grand Marnier, lemon juice and simple syrup. Another option, the Call of Duty, was much stronger and featured a large ice cube, Ancho Reyes liqueur and sweet vermouth. Autumn Leaves lived up to its name. With rum, apricot, lemon juice and bitters, it’s a great choice for fall.

Sho’Gun (Courtesy Sweetwater Social)

From the current menu, we tried the three most popular drinks. I was told Bouquet #2 “tastes like Christmas” and knew it would be a favorite. With a mix of scotch, sherry, maple and cinnamon that tasted cozy and festive, it didn’t disappoint. Sho’Gun featured an interesting trio of flavors: smoky mezcal, a slightly spicy aftertaste of jalapeno and a fruity hint of pineapple and lime juices. Ivan Drago—with a mix of vodka, ginger syrup, lime juice and assorted spices—has been the bar’s most popular cocktail and comes in a cool copper mug.

Unlike more traditional cocktail bars, Sweetwater offers a laid-back atmosphere and friendly bartenders who won’t scoff at you for ordering a basic two-ingredient drink. They will, however, suggest something a little more interesting based on your choice of liquor, Rose explained. They even offer a few bottled and draft beers, a handful of wines and a selection of comfort food. From the upcoming menu, my friend and I tried a PB&J quesadilla and a more savory flatbread. Our bartender explained that the quesadilla is perfect for tipsy patrons looking for a sweet snack to accompany their cocktail.

For more information, visit Sweetwater Social online at

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