Hold on to your handlebar mustache: Hard-to-find vintage liquor nurtured over decades are the latest craft-cocktail trend. Find them here:
Milk Room, Chicago
Rare bottles on acclaimed bartender Paul McGee’s 18-page menu at Milk Room include cognacs ranging from 30 to 130 years old and a Nikka Taketsuru 21-year-old Japanese whisky. On the cocktail list, the Allies combines gin and vermouth from the 1970s with caraway-based 1950s kümmel liqueur for a dry blast from the past. Just two of the microbar’s eight seats are held for walk-ins; the remaining six are reserved by tickets that sell out weeks in advance ($50 per person, credited to patrons’ tabs).
American Bar, London
The 1893-vintage American Bar in the Savoy hotel, the oldest surviving cocktail bar in London, specializes in all things retro, down to a menu of drinks based on jazz standards. Dip into its cache of collectible boozes with a White Lady, made with 1950s Gordon’s gin and 1970s Cointreau, or a splurge-daring Sazerac, made with 1858 cognac – for £5,000 a pop.
Salotto, Washington, D.C.
Officina – a three-floor gourmet Italian destination encompassing a restaurant, market, and rooftop bar in the new riverfront Wharf development – dedicates its boutique bar Salotto to aged amaros. Chef and owner Nicholas Stefanelli’s love letter to herbal liqueurs features a library collected, for the most part, during travels to Italy, with bottles such as a 1930s Cocchi Americano, a Montenegro from the same decade, and green Chartreuse from the mid-1960s. Sip them as aperitifs or digestifs, following tradition, or mixed in The Last Word (1950s gin and maraschino, 1940s Luxardo Chartreuse) or a Negroni with mid-century spirits.
Top photo: Aged amaro at Salotto. (Scott Suchman)