> 28 Degrees

28 Degrees gets its name from the ideal temperature at which to serve a martini-and serve martinis 28 Degrees does well-from the perfect gin-and-kiss-of-vermouth to martini take-offs like its lime drop (a few shakes of Hangar kaffir vodka, fresh lime and cilantro). The prosciutto-and-melon martini quickly makes its way past silliness with a thoughtful blend of melon vodka, cantaloupe purée and the requisite melon wrapped in thinly sliced Italian ham. And a visit to the much-talked-about restrooms are a must.
—Annie B. Copps

1 Appleton St., Boston, 617-728-0728,

> Alibi

Alibi, the new lobby bar at The Liberty Hotel, takes full tongue-in-cheek advantage of this building's former status as the Charles Street Jail, as do the hotel's restaurants, Clink and Scampo ("escape" in Italian). The walls are lined with mug shots of famous felons (such as Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Frank Sinatra), while criminal acts of the cocktail kind include the Divine Brown (named after Hugh Grant's close friend) as well as Mel's Gibson, the Cool                                                                    Hand Cuke and Doing Thyme.
—Annie B. Copps

Alibi at the Liberty Hotel, 215 Charles St., Boston; 857-241-1144; (reviewed W&S 6/08)

> Azure

Azure is the headliner for the Lenox Hotel's recent tripleheader food and beverage renovation (along with City Bar and Sólas), featuring a mostly seafood menu and specialty drinks that eccentric executive chef Robert Fathman calls "diabolic infusions." According to Fathman, "It's my cheeky and fun way to experiment with Bourbon, rum and tequila." Examples include fig, vanilla bean, cardamom and cinnamon soaked in Bourbon, to which Fathman likes to add "just an ice cube, so the whiskey can bloom."
—Annie B. Copps

Azure, Lenox Hotel, 61 Exeter St., Boston, MA; 617-933-4800

> The Beehive

The Beehive has Bostonians swarming to the South End for a double-decker nightclub venue offering carefully-crafted cocktails, a thoughtful menu and live music designed with Paris' La Rûche in mind. The buzz is well deserved, with cocktails such as the Beehive Julep, made with two Caribbean rums and a heavy hand of freshly squeezed citrus juices, then sweetened with -do you have to ask?- honey.
—Annie B. Copps

The Beehive 541 Tremont St.; 617-423-0069 (reviewed W&S 12/07)

> Bonfire

"This isn't about shooting," says Ed Hancock, the manager of Bonfire restaurant. "It's about sipping." He's talking - with fondness - about the establishment's dream team of hand-crafted Tequilas and mezcals. (Technically, the latter are the former; Tequila is a regional type of mezcal.) At Bonfire, sample the highest end of established labels (like Cuervo Reserva de la Familia, $16 a pour) or the intense, soul-warming mezcals of tiny Mexican villages (such as Del Maguey Santo Domingo for $12). Then there are investments like Herradura Seleccion Suprema, at a modest $50 a pop. "People occasionally drink it like a shot," says Hancock. "But they're unhappy about it in the morning."
—Alexandra Hall

Bonfire, 64 Arlington St., Boston, MA; 617-262-3473

> Bristol Lounge

Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel is a homing beacon for Scotch lovers, with its stellar view of the Boston Gardens in full fall foliage. With some 25 bottles (21 are single malt) general manager Ingo King says, "Bostonians know their Scotches and so do we. If they want peaty, I offer Islay; if they prefer briny, then I suggest one of our many Highlands." Most of the swell-set imbibers here prefer theirs neat, but King is toying with the idea of a seasonal cocktail. Stay tuned.
—Annie B. Copps

Bristol Lounge, Four Seasons, 200 Boylston St., Boston, MA; 617-251-2052

> Church

Church, in the Fenway, is doing its best to keep confessionals busy by putting the seven deadly sins in heavy rotation with cocktails that run the gamut from greed to vanity. Sloth, for instance, a classic Manhattan made with Old Overholt Rye, is meant to be quaffed slowly; Envy gets its name from the green kiwis that are blended with vodka. Both saints and sinners are rewarded in kind by chef Andy Beer's bistro menu.
—Annie B. Copps

69 Kilmarnock St.; 617-236-7600;
(reviewed W&S 2/08)

> Excelsior

Excelsior, Chef Lydia Shire's (Locke-Ober, Biba) latest venture, takes the art of having fun with a cocktail shaker seriously by including international cocktail contest-winner Pelle Johansson from Sweden on the management staff. Though Johansson has added a host of new libations to match the small plates bar menu, it's his twist on traditional cocktails that turns heads. For instance, instead of an Old Fashioned, try a Timeless Modern, a blend of Maker's Mark Bourbon, maraschino cherries, bitters, grenadine and a splash of citrus.
—Annie B. Copps

Excelsior, 272 Boylston St., Boston, MA; 617-426-7878

> Grill 23 & Bar

Grill 23 & Bar has built its reputation on prime dry-aged steaks and robust reds, so post-porterhouse-and-cabernet repasts are typically punctuated by a pour of one of wine steward Gino Rossi's two dozen Cognacs. Rémy Martin Louis XIII tops the popularity list at $150 a pour, but you'll find all the big names and many more affordable choices from smaller houses like Pierre Ferrand.
—Annie B. Copps

161 Berkeley St., Boston, MA; 617-542-2255;

> Persephone

Chef Michael Leviton (who won raves for his cooking at Upstairs at the Pudding and Lumière) now mans the eco-conscious kitchen at Persephone, where no seafood comes from farther away than the Chesapeake Bay and the meat no farther than Southern Canada. Chris Graeff takes as much care with his bar as Leviton does the kitchen: Though drinks go by whimsical names such as "One Night in Bangkok," "Derby '38," and "Achilles' Heel," Graeff is serious about the Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Hendrick's gin, and St. Germain liqueur he carefully pour, and even the bacon-and-sea-salt pretzels are baked to order.
—Annie B. Copps

Persephone at The Achilles Project, 283 Summer St., Boston, 617-695-2257;

> The Rendezvous

The Rendezvous is an ideal place to meet for a well-crafted drink-and you'll probably stay for a meal, too, given Steve Johnson seasonal French and Mediterranean cuisine. Brian Ayers thoughtful cocktails have him in the kitchen nearly as much as the chefs, concocting cool weather warmers like Ayer's version of a hot toddy: local West County apple cider steeped with cloves, vanilla bean and cinnamon, hit with cognac and heated to order ($10).
—Annie B. Copps

502 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA, 617-576-1900

> Restaraunt Blu

Dominick Minots, food and beverage manager at Blu, keeps more than a dozen vodkas from around the world in rotation at this busy, beautiful bar, but the local favorite remains Triple 8, made on the nearby island of Nantucket. And while French Grey Goose and Russian Stolichnaya hold court for mixing, Minots turns to his personal favorite, mandarin orange blossom-infused Hangar One from California, to make the "Paramount," a citrusy libation made with Cointreau and Tang (yes, Tang). "We dip rims in Tang," says Minots with a wink, "for extra flavor and a great presentation."
—Annie B. Copps

Blu at Sports Club/LA, 4 Avery St., Boston, MA; 617-375-8550

> Rouge

ROUGE chef Andy Husbands' outlet for showcasing his dexterity with barbecue is also where he pays homage to his deep admiration of Bourbon. "It's very sexy," says Husbands, who stocks more than a dozen bottles, including Basil Hayden 8-Year-Old and Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old. Ever the purist, Husbands likes his neat to appreciate "the color, sparkle and sweet smokiness." But the brown elixir also appears in the house favorite, a twist on the classic mint julep, "made like a Mojito, with lots of muddled fresh mint and a splash of homemade sour mix." (You'll find more places to enjoy barbecue with Bourbon on page 36.)
—Annie B. Copps

Rouge, 480 Columbus Ave., Boston, MA; 617-867-0600

> Sel de la Terre

Sel de la Terre roosts on two floors of the stylish and much-anticipated new Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the middle of Boston's shopping and business district. Its Francocentric signature cocktail collection complements chef Louis Dibacarri's menu of ever-changing charcuterie and rosemary-laced frites, with drinks like the Fleur de Poire (St. Germain, vodka and Belle de Brillet)–while the Boston Flip (a soothing blend of Bourbon and Madeira, with a warming grind of nutmeg) reminds us we are still in Beantown.
—Annie B. Copps

774 Boylston St., Boston, 617-266-8800;

> The Federalist

The Federalist is the swanky restaurant inside the XV Beacon Hotel. There, bar manager Srdjan Bajas has created a few refreshing cocktails to indulge guests with a high-octane ode to the warmer weather. He mixes Absolut Citron, lemoncello, and fresh lemon juice for his Cool Down, and its citrus flavors bloom with the freshness of spring. The Tropical Champagne is more summery, a juicy but refreshing combination of pineapple and orange juice, mandarin vodka, peach brandy and grenadine mixed with Veuve Clicquot.
Annie B. Copps

The Federalist, XV Beacon Hotel, 15 Beacon St., Boston, MA; 617-670-2515