While the past year has seen a wealth of new craft-cocktail spots, from the elegant Hawthorne in Kenmore to Union Square's backroom-y Backbar, there still aren't enough for our taste. (Then again, if we had it our way, the taps of every bar in town would run hot and cold with mezcal and Fernet.) There are plenty of options for a well-made drink, but it's not necessarily easy to navigate between them during a night out — it's a long way from Citizen in Fenway to Drink in Fort Point, especially after a few Negronis.
Fortunately, the December opening of Central Square's Brick & Mortar, perhaps the Platonic ideal of the cocktail-centric bar, only hammered home what we had previously suspected: that Central is the one neighborhood in the city where you can walk your way through a complete craft-cocktail bar hop. And the best part is that they're all a little different, from Brick & Mortar's dim, industrial-chic, vinyl-soundtrack cool, to Green Street's gastropub bustle, to Rendezvous's refined tastefulness, to the loungy yet fine-dining feel of Craigie on Main's bar, a more casual counterpoint to its adjoining dining room. Green Street's Anakarina Gende agrees: "Central Square is the cocktail capital of the city."
We asked Gende and barkeeps from the other three standouts to recommend a cocktail they'd order at a neighboring spot. Here's what they sip when a shift is over and they're ready to let someone else do the mixing.
ANAKARINA GENDE OF GREEN STREET (280 Green St, Cambridge :: 617.876.1655)
HER PICK Mint and Cucumber at Rendezvous (Mint and Cucumber Hendrick's Gin, mint, cucumber, and lemon)
"If I feel mellow or I'm perhaps alone with a book, or I'm with a friend with great conversation, I will end up at Rendezvous drinking a Mint and Cucumber," she says. While it's a common combination, she admits, the "refreshing, clean, consistent, and light" version they make is hands-down the best around.