For more than a century, Michelin has recognized restaurants around the world with the most noteworthy food and service and collected them into sacred guide books. It’s a huge honor to earn a star, and this distinction can give restaurants the boost they need to make the jump from successful business to industry icon. In the United States, Michelin now recognizes restaurants in four different cities: New York, Chicago, San Francisco and, as of 2016, Washington D.C. Despite fantastic food menus and often extensive wine lists, booze doesn’t always play a starring role—or any role at all. So we combed through the menus at Michelin star-studded restaurants in U.S. to find the ones that offer cocktails that are as impressive as the food. The next time you want a fine libation paired with a once-in-a-lifetime meal, check out these Michelin-starred restaurants that also excel in booze.
ZZ’s Clam Bar, 1 Star
Deciding on a cocktail is never easy, but it’s infinitely more difficult when you have to choose between tantalizing options like the Treacle (apple brandy, cinnamon, mole bitters), Peanut Butter (bourbon, pineapple, banana) and Celery (gin, caraway, fino sherry) at ZZ’s Clam Bar (pictured above). Once you choose, it’s on to an equally difficult decision: What to eat. The Greenwich Village raw bar serves everything from ceviche and tartare to roe-topped toasts. Better just try one of everything.
The NoMad Bar, 1 Star
Anyone familiar with New York’s cocktail scene is keenly aware of The NoMad. In addition to the suckling pig and foie gras-stuffed roast chicken that helped earn the restaurant a star, the bar—headed by bar director Leo Robitschek—offers a wealth of expertly crafted and innovative cocktails. The menu changes all the time, but right now we’re taken with the list of low-ABV aperitifs, including the Ma Chérie (fino sherry, green Chartreuse, Velvet Falernum, celery, cucumber, lime, salt), as well as the more potent Little Dragon (cacao nib-infused Cognac, aged aquavit, genever, Pineau des Charentes, plum vinegar, umeboshi).
The Musket Room, 1 Star
Though cocktails might not be the first things that come to mind when considering New Zealand-inspired dining, The Musket Room’s drinks list, though concise, is as impressive as the quail and scallops. Try the roller coaster of flavors in the Smoking Musket (tequila, mezcal, chili, pomegranate, ginger, grapefruit, lime) and the less showy, but equally adventurous Return of the King (scotch, pineapple, sherry, chamomile).
Mourad, 1 Star
There’s no smoke and mirrors when it comes to Mourad’s cocktail list. Each cocktail name, from the Banana + Smoke (blended scotch, Islay scotch, amontillado sherry, Banane du Brésil, sea salt) to the Bay Leaf + Chamomile (pisco, en rama fino sherry, blanc vermouth, white pepper tincture), tells you exactly what you’re getting, and ensures you pair your hearty Moroccan dinner of lamb shoulder and harissa couscous with just the right tipple.
Kin Khao, 1 Star
Situated in the Parc 55 hotel, Kin Khao may not be the flashiest restaurant, but it makes up for its bare-bones decor with flavor-packed food and drinks. Try the fiery Farang Hot (puya chile-infused blanco tequila, Dolin dry vermouth, Kimosabe reposado mezcal, hibiscus, lime, seltzer), the spiced Kem Kon (bourbon, Vermouth L’Afrique, tamarind, lime, cinnamon) or, if you’re there for lunch, one of the easy drinking low-proof “session” cocktails.
Acadia, 2 Stars
At the end of a 41 page wine list, you’ll find Acadia’s curated cocktail list. Though modest, it’s plenty enticing. Go for a classic Vieux Carré or a provocative Sex & Violets (vodka, violet sugar, white vermouth, citron vinegar, lavender sea salt, egg white). If you’re feeling particularly indecisive, give the bartender full reign by putting your drink in their hands by ordering a “Carte Blanche.”
Sepia, 1 Star
Bright, warm and inviting, Sepia serves some downright exciting cocktails alongside the rich and inventive American food from chef Andrew Zimmerman. The product of head bartender Keith Meicher and his bar team, the menu ranges from light and delicate, with drinks like the Animal Angels (blanco tequila, blanc vermouth, Pamplemousse liqueur, Bësk, Peychaud’s bitters, to rich and enveloping with The CHEE-NAR Flip (Cynar, whiskey, allspice dram, whole egg, nutmeg).
Rose’s Luxury, 1 Star
If caviar service isn’t enough to entice you into this Washington D.C. tapas bar, the sunny patio and interesting cocktails will help seal the deal. Choose from “everyday,” “of the moment,” “luxury” or “throwback cocktails,” including an intriguing amalgam of gin, wasabi, green tea, lime and ginger. Just be sure to get there early as seating is first come, first served.
Minibar by José Andrés, 2 Stars
If you like options, you’ll find no shortage of them at “cocktail lab” Barmini, adjacent to the impressive Minibar by José Andrés. The menu offers no fewer than 100 signature and classic cocktails, as well as something they call “experiential flights” and bar snacks aplenty. We’ll go for a Cross Eyed Mary (demerara rum, mango, honey, lemon, absinthe), please and thank you.