Food & Drink

The Best Cocktails for $10 and Under in NYC

Updated On 05/07/2019 at 05:52PM EST Updated On 05/07/2019 at 05:52PM EST
Galangal Daiquiri | Beth Kessler

Super Power

Crown Heights

Galangal Daiquiri, $10
This tiki bar has a more grown-up aesthetic than most of its ilk, with a drink menu to match. Its whimsical yet deliberate concoctions may make you smile, but they’re no joke. $10 buys a Galangal Daiquiri, a zingier riff on the classic. White rum, galangal cordial, and lime juice are served up -- this is not the sludgy, syrupy affair the ‘daiquiri’ name unfairly conjures. With its fresh, clean ingredients, this is a grown-up’s drink.

169 Bar | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

169 Bar

Chinatown

Sangria, $9
Seems like every New Yorker has a story set in 169 -- it’s been a destination dive since 1916. The leopard-print pool table, cheap drinks, and New Orleans-centric food menu attract a bustling weekend crowd. Besides its famous $9 Raw oyster Bloody Mary shooter, a hefty glass of house-made Sangria bobs with brandy-soaked apple morsels. It’s tart and fruity and goes down easy, so text your bartender from your seat (yes, really) for another.

Do or Dive

Do or Dive Bar

Bed Stuy

That Coffee Thing, $7
Do or Dive’s menu, much like its '90s-rock-ephemera décor, is inviting to anyone trying to get some good drinking done. Beside one of the best $5 shot/beer combos around, it’s got $9 Bloodies and Sours -- but the budget winner is its $7 slushified mélange of coffee, sugar, milk, and either whiskey or brandy. Not only a delicious bargain, this drink is a welcome pick-me-up for anyone in it for the long-haul.

Salty Studebaker | Courtesy of Skylark

Skylark

South Park Slope

Salty Studebaker, $9
Basil-infused vodka, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, rocks, and a salted rim round out this take on the Salty Dog. It’s as perfect a summer drink as you can get, ticking fruity, salty, tangy, and herbal boxes without hitting you over the head or soaking you in booze. Enjoy your libation over a round of pinball, at a banquette amid the lulling grandma’s-living-room décor, or posted-up at the corner-location’s 5th-ave-facing outdoor seating -- a prime people-watching location.

The Woodstock NYC

The Woodstock

Chelsea

Hey Joe, $10
Just off the Highline, The Woodstock’s upbeat space evokes a ‘60s suburban living room without hiding what it is: a well-designed, glossy, modern bar. The Hey Joe has an Evan Williams Black base blended with Pumpkin syrup and bitters. It’s served on the rocks with a cinnamon-stick and crystalized-ginger garnish. The old-fashioned goes by many names, and this is a novel, tasty one.

Botanica

Nolita

Ginger Yum Yum, $9
This subterranean spot is dark and moody in the best way. If not for its glowing neon sign, most passersby probably wouldn’t notice it, and the feeling of having found a downtown hideaway adds to its boho mystique. The Ginger Yum Yum is a lipsmackingly bright, acidic alternative to a Moscow Mule, mixing rosemary-infused vodka, fresh minced ginger, Rose’s lime cordial, and ginger beer in a hefty glass mug over ice.

The Bad Old Days

The Bad Old Days

Ridgewood

House Punch, $9
BOD is a neighborhood bar with stacks of games, rows of books, knickknacks, nightly special events, and a laid-back atmosphere that invites you to stay awhile. Get a hefty goblet of tasty, boozy punch for $9. What’s in it? That’s part of the fun. Each bartender concocts their own signature punch using house-infused syrups and tinctures. When one runs out, trying the next and chatting with its creator is part of the fun.

The Refresco | @chasedoerflinger

The Drift

Greenpoint

The Refresco, $9
This dive bar/southern restaurant’s ski-lodge vibes set it endearingly apart from its location below the BQE. The Drift’s star feature (no, not the taxidermized bear) is its back yard. The Refresco, which combines tequila with fresh watermelon, agave, lime, and chili flake over ice with a salt-rim, is a close second. A well-balanced, refreshing pink drink, it’s sweet, salty, acidic, spicy, and tart with a pleasingly boozy undertone.

The Cobra Club

Bushwick

Devil Lock, $10
Just your typical neighborhood yoga studio/community-center/coffee shop/venue/punk bar. This omnibus establishment espouses a supportive outlook, writing on its site that the proprietors philosophically “reject the idea that in order to live full and happy lives we must abstain from all vices, detach from the world and become saint-like.” Its Misfits-themed drink menu includes the Devil Lock, a fresher, juicier, spicier Margarita made from jalapeño-infused tequila, lime, fresh orange juice, agave, and a hit of tabasco.