Bloody Mary at Top Flr
The breakfast cocktail brought to new heights: a standard tomato base is infused with pickled garlic, fresh fennel and copious amounts of horseradish, then topped with pickled purplette onions, French green beans and a smoky cube of beef bacon. 674 Myrtle St. 404-685-3110. www.topflr.com.
Dirty Martini at Kevin Rathbun Steak
Ice cold and acutely classy, this is the martini made right. The clear, piercing liquid comes in a large martini glass with three fat, quality olives. 154 Krog St. 404-524-5600. www.kevinrathbunsteak.com.
Ella Jay at Empire State South
This drink harkens back to the fall cocktail menu, and super fall-licious it was: Menorval Calvados, Carpano Formula Antica and baked apple bitters made for an apple drink that had no hit of 'tini. Instead it tasted round and crisp, and the bitter finish mimicked the skin of an apple straight from the orchard. Luckily for us fall-lovers, you can still order it on request. 999 Peachtree St. 404-541-1105. www.empirestatesouth.com.
Great Enigma at 4th & Swift
Get this: Plantain-infused pisco, lime juice, citrus star anise gastrique, Stone IPA reduction and fennel pollen served up in a martini glass. Which, amazingly, translates to a bracingly tart citrus-forward drink with liquorish undertones. Harmony where there should be discordance. Enigma indeed. 621 North Ave. 678-904-0160. www.4thandswift.com.
Hotel Arizona at H. Harper Station
Showing tequila's more genteel side, this mellow drink mixes Don Diego Anejo tequila with, Vya sweet vermouth, and Angostura and Regan's bitters. Sweet with a bitter edge, slightly smoky, imminently quaffable. 904 Memorial Drive. 678-732-0415. www.hharperstation.com.
Negroni at Sotto Sotto
This refreshing Italian drink is as classic as Sotto Sotto itself. Done here with the traditional gin and Campari, the restaurant uses Antico Formula as the sweet vermouth component, making it a tad richer, deeper and more bitter than others you might have had. Served on the rocks with a orange twist. 313 North Highland Ave. 404-523-6678. www.sottosottorestaurant.com.
Rose Thorn at Leon's Full Service
This drink featuring Cazadores reposado tequila and Danzantes reposado mezcal packs a smoky punch followed by fresh, citrusy savor. 131 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur. 404-687-0500. www.leonsfullservice.com.
Rye Manhattan at Bones
The Manhattan, or versions of it, is everywhere these days. But go to Bones for the most classic, most perfectly executed version around. Dry, balanced, crisp, cold - drinking like an old man never tasted so good. 3130 Piedmont Road. 404-237-2663. www.bonesrestaurant.com.
Southern Cola at Holeman & Finch
Already an Atlanta classic, this drink takes Mexican coke, ramps it up with Amaro for tangy eucalyptus depth, and brings it all together with a lime-juice ice cube. 2277 Peachtree Road, Suite B. 404-948-1175. www.holeman-finch.com.
Toronto at the Sound Table
It's the simplicity that makes it so good: 110-proof rye for richness, Fernet Branca for herbal depth, sugar to help it go down, bitters, and flamed orange for a whisper of citrus. Instant classic. 483 Edgewood Ave. 404-835-2534. www.thesoundtable.com.
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