Are you visiting Nashville or just a local looking to be more local? Nashville is bursting with amazing cocktails all around the city. You can easily find delicious cocktails as the art of mixology is alive and well in Music City – it’s difficult to narrow it down to just 10. We’ve put together a list of cocktails you must try to have the real Nashville experience, some swanky and some not. These come recommended by Nashville locals and bartenders.
1. Argentine Cola –Josephine
When putting together this list, I knew I had to reach out to one of Nashville’s top mixoligists (and my personal favorite), Jeremiah Blake. He says, “Our Argentine Cola is my favorite drink there. Recipe: 1 oz Fernet 1 oz Solbeso (liquor made from cacao) 1/2 oz Madagascar Vanilla 1/2 oz Lime Topped with Mexican Coke Collins glass and lime garnish. Also the Eastsider is a no brainer 2 oz Gin 1/2 oz lime 1/2 oz simple Muddled cucumber and mint Shaken and served up. I’d say from personal experience, listen to Jeremiah, he knows best.
2. Adele’s Milk Punch – Adele’s Nashville
Certainly becoming the talk of the town, their signature cocktail is made with Gosling’s Black Rum, Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum, Cognac, Citrus, Spices – A perfect balance of spices and sweetness. Delicious and dangerously smooth. Adele’s is a must visit restaurant with a must try cocktail, owned by Jonathan Waxman, owner of New York’s West Village restaurant, Barbuto.
3. The Nearest Green – The 404 Kitchen
THERE’S BACON IN IT! The Nearest Green is definitely a signature drink at The 404 Kitchen. It’s an amazing cocktail created by GM/sommelier Travis Brazil, garnished with Tennessee’s Benton’s Bacon and named for the slave that taught Jack Daniels how to make whisky. Of course there’s a nod to Tennessee with the use of Jack Daniels and Benton’s. The 404 Kitchen loves to highlight local ingredients when they’re the best choice and they make sense. Ingredients are Jack Daniel’s single barrel TN whiskey, Lairds rare apple brandy, citrus infused TN honey, and Benton’s smoky mountain bacon.
4. District 9 – Pinewood Social
They’re bringing Absinthe back! District 9 is a signature cocktail at Pinewood made with St. George Absinthe Verte, Old Overhold rye whiskey, Maurin Quina, freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice, and Demerara syrup. This cocktail is a spin on the classic Ward 8 cocktail. If you’re wanting to try something different, yet still delicious, this is a must have AND if you’re visiting Nashville, Pinewood Social is a place unlike any other to sip on a fancy cocktail with vintage bowling lanes, a large social room, humungous wrap around bar, and even outdoor pools and bocce ball – you’ll feel like a cast member in Catch Me If You Can.
5. The Base Burner – Holland House Bar & Refuge
Nashville is known for its whiskey. If you’re in Nashville, you gotta have Bourbon and the Base Burner is a delicious way to drink it. Holland House Bar & Refuge, a beautiful speakeasy style bar, tucked away in East Nashville, makes a perfect and simply delicious Base Burner with Four Roses Bourbon and House Made Ginger Ice Cubes. (They make their own ice cubes…best ice cubes in town.) That’s it! You can catch their Happy Hour 4-6pm daily and try out their amazing “bites”(their food is on-point!)
6. How Rande Met Cindy – Sinema
Sinema is a must-visit sleek bar and restaurant housed in the historic Melrose theater. Amanda from Sinema says “How Rande Met Cindy is our signature cocktail; it was on our original menu when we opened a year ago and remains a favorite. It’s a nod to Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber. It’s composed of vodka, St Germain, pineapple cayenne syrup, lemon & house cherry cordial.”
7. The Juliet and Romeo – The Patterson House
If you’re looking for a swanky speakeasy, you must visit The Patterson House. It’s one of Nashville’s first modern speakeasy bars with some house rules. One of their classic signature cocktails, that even gin-haters love, is the Juliet and Romeo comprised of cucumber slices, a mint leaf, Plymouth gin, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, rose water, and Angostura bitters. It is jam packed with flavor yet it’s quite refreshing (and leaves you with great breath ). This is the perfect cocktail on a mid summer night, when you’re looking to unwind in a dim, romantic setting.
8. Bella – City House
City House is known for their top-notch rustic Southern Italian food, but they also have amazing cocktails. One of their signature cocktails, Bella, named after one of the staff member’s pet, is one of two gin cocktails on our list. It’s made of Plymouth dry gin, yellow Chartreuse, set off with bitter elements of grapefruit juice and a splash of Campari – The aroma of this cocktail is simply divine. If you get a chance, try reserving a table for their special Sunday Supper, where they change their menu with unique new dishes perfect for sharing.
9. The Mule – Village Pub & Beer Garden
A refreshing cocktail with ginger beer, fresh squeezed lime, and liquor of choice in an ice-cold stainless steel mug. These days, you can find a Mule just about anywhere, but if you’ve never tried one, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. Village Pub & Beer Garden, in East Nashville’s quaint Riverside Village, was one of the first places that served it in full force and introduced it to Nashville. The most popular is the refreshing Moscow Mule (with vodka), but as you can see on their Mule menu below, you can choose the liquor of your choice! They’ve even got an amazing Mule Monday Happy Hour (half off mules!)
10. The Bushwacker – Edley’s Barbecue
A divine ice-cream-shake-like cocktail (with a pretty good punch) served in a chocolate sauce coated mason jar. Not as “fancy,” but a Nashville must-have if you’ve never tried one. This is definitely a treat and perfect as a dessert. Though, Nashville isn’t the original birthplace of the Bushwacker, it certainly is something every local knows about as if it were (originally from Nashville) Although the original flavor is best, you can customize your Bushwacker: strawberry, banana, peanut butter, black cherry, coconut, pumpkin pie, mint. They also come in half-sizes for half the regret 😉
There you have it. Start knocking off this list (one drink at a time) and let us know what your favorites are!