This summer is a hot one, and a climate-controlled Broadway theatre is a great place to cool off in. But it’s not just primo AC that can help you beat the heat: In recent years, Broadway has upped its concessions game, and now venues all across the Theatre District offer legit cocktails to audiences wanting to grab a drink while they catch a show.
Every cocktail available at a Broadway bar is the brainchild of one of the mixologists at Broadway’s go-to hospitality companies. “I read the script, I listen to the score, and I come up with name ideas,” explains Michael De Mono, the creative director and cocktail creator at Sweet Hospitality Group. “I also think about tying in ingredients that make sense for the theme of the show, or for a specific character or a specific setting.”
So De Mono’s drinks for Aladdin draw from a Middle Eastern flavor profile of rose, fig, and cardamom, and his Moulin Rouge! The Musical libations let audiences have a taste of the absinthe adored by all those fin-de-siècle Parisians.
You’ll notice a few trends at a Broadway bar. Audiences are more likely to want a drink at fun-loving musicals than they are at serious straight plays. Frosé is very, very popular. And the punnier the name of the cocktail, the better.
“The fun part of it for audiences is the name of the drink,” says Sandbar Concessions’ Andrew Benvenuti, the bar manager at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. See: What’s Rum Got to Do With It, a cocktail at the Lunt-Fontanne’s most recent occupant, Tina, or the Ozmopolitan at Wicked.
Here are a few of the tastiest sips helping Broadway audiences chill out during summertime heat waves.
Hamilton Spotlight Cocktail: Burr-bon Manhattan Ingredients: Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters Flavor Profile: Strong, spirituous, classic Character Who’d Love It: Aaron Burr. Like Burr himself, this Manhattan is focused, no-nonsense, and all-American — and if you’re not careful, it might take you down.
SIX Spotlight Cocktail: Heir of the Dog Ingredients: Cinnamon whiskey, green apple syrup, club soda Flavor Profile: Sweet ‘n’ sour, spiced, spritzy Character Who’d Love It: Sorry not sorry, haters, this is a drink for fun-lovers, and it fits Anne Boleyn to a T.
Into the Woods Spotlight Cocktail: The Witch’s Garden Ingredients: Prosecco, elderflower liqueur, lime, cucumber syrup, Scarborough herb bitters Flavor Profile: Summery, herbal, bubbly Character Who’d Love It: Cinderella. Like her, the drink is sweet but unexpectedly complex, and the bubbles make it as glamorous as a royal ball. (Also a fan of the Witch’s Garden: the Baker’s mother, who we never meet on stage but whose craving for the witch’s greens sets the show’s whole plot in motion.)
Wicked Spotlight Cocktail: Ozmopolitan Ingredients: Vodka, sour apple liqueur, lemon-lime soda Flavor Profile: Sweet, bright, easy-drinking Character Who’d Love It: Glinda’s a big frosé drinker, but when she’s switching it up, this one’s as sweet and sparkly as she strives to be.
Aladdin Spotlight Cocktail: Desert Bloom Ingredients: Vodka, elderflower liqueur, rose syrup, lemon, cardamom bitters, Peychaud’s Bitters Flavor Profile: Floral, intriguing, transportive Character Who’d Love It: Compared to the flavor palate of the usual well drink, this one is a whole new world. It’s a cocktail for Jasmine to sip while reclining on a flying carpet.
MJ The Musical Spotlight Cocktail: Thriller Chiller Ingredients: Frosé Flavor Profile: The drink of the summer, every summer Character Who’d Love It: MJ himself is too focused on his music to be much of a drinker, but you know who deserves an ice-cold, spiked slushie after working up a major sweat? Every single dancer in the musical’s stellar, hardworking ensemble.
Funny Girl Spotlight Cocktail: Don’t Rain on My Frosé Ingredients: Rosé, vodka, organic strawberry and peach syrup Flavor Profile: Fruity and fun Character Who’d Love It: Frosé is a star, but this drink is a star with some unexpected personality — just like the funny girl herself, Fanny Brice.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical Spotlight Cocktail: The Bohemian Writer Ingredients: Vodka, absinthe, lime, cucumber, mint Flavor Profile: Sweet-tart with a bit of an edge Character Who’d Love It: This one’s in the name: It’s a drink for someone mysterious and a little broody. It’s perfect for boho poet Christian, scribbling away in the shadow of Montmartre.
The Music Man Spotlight Cocktail: River City Mule Ingredients: Maker’s Mark bourbon, ginger ale, lime Flavor Profile: Bold and zingy Character Who’d Love It: The bourbon hails from the heartland, the lime makes it tart, and the ginger packs some heat. It’s perfect for Marian, the all-American librarian who’s unexpectedly spicy.
A Strange Loop Spotlight Cocktail: Inner White Girl Ingredients: Stoli Vanilla vodka, triple sec, cranberry, lime Flavor Profile: Sweet and smooth with a hint of pucker Character Who’d Love It: This one is a riff on the Cosmopolitan, the enduringly popular drink beloved by every Sex and the City girl — including the one living inside this musical’s protagonist, Usher.
Last updated and effective as of January 14, 2019
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