Craft cocktails are having their moment in Norfolk and we’re here to shed light on the awesome talent, science and love that goes into these liquid gold creations. A commonality amongst Norfolk’s best cocktail bars are the house-made syrups, bitters, liquors and sodas combined with fresh, local ingredients. Here are six creative cocktails that are worth a try when you are in Norfolk. Cheers!
Four Eleven York – “The Bartenders Experience”
Nestled in Norfolk’s beloved historic neighborhood, The Freemason District, is a restored 1890s building that is now a modern boutique inn and restaurant, that is home to the bespoke cocktail “Bartenders Experience.” Four Eleven’s entertaining bartenders will ask for your name, two quirky questions and your liquor preference to craft a drink that is uniquely yours. Take a sip and fascination will take over while the libation liberates your spirit as you taste a cocktail that was made perfectly for your taste buds. Don’t worry, they write down their creation so you can take it home to imitate – it’s a perfect keepsake of a Norfolk’s local take on you.
Saltine – “Two to Mango”
A beloved seafood restaurant in the middle of downtown Norfolk is serving up some of the best boozy combinations. Saltine’s inventive creations are simple in practice but complex in flavor, as they strive to highlight the alcohol and not disguise it. The menu is ever- changing with the seasons but with each new menu comes a new story. The Chief Mixologist ties his personal passions, childhood memories or what’s trending into the drinks, so don’t hesitate to ask them how your drink came to fruition. The cocktail “Two to Mango” (mezcal, fresh mango, lime and ancho Chile salt) was inspired by his mom’s heritage and love of mangos.
Press 626 – "High Seize"
Normally we recommend Press 626 for their outstanding wine selection but this time we’re going to praise their cocktail list. Their bartenders have an unmatched passion for craft cocktails and are eager to teach you that there is more to cocktails than your basic vodka soda. Focusing on the small details are important to them, for instance, their “High Seize” cocktail, (rum, Zucca, peanut and banana chip infused amontillado, tempus fugit crème de banana and sesame) is finished off with a coconut water ice cube that is meant to evolve your drink experience as it melts. We can’t help but swoon over their cocktails and hope you will too!
Cure – "Raspberry Beret"
Negronis, Espresso Martinis, Rum punches and White Russians are all great classic cocktails, but Cure transforms these traditional drinks to be new and innovative. They even make their own craft cold brew coffee liqueur called Cureo to incorporate into drinks to give a classic cocktail a unique twist. The liqueur can also be found in local liquor stores making it a perfect souvenir. Their drink offerings don’t stop at the classics, their summer cocktail "Raspberry Beret" (vodka, raspberry simple syrup, lime with a cucumber slice) is the perfect refreshing drink to compliment a hot, southern summer day.
Crudo Nudo - “Thirteenth Hour”
Trust Crudo Nudo's confident bartenders to walk you through a delicious liquid journey. Asian whiskeys, an array of gins, fresh citrus and punny cocktail names will make your experience at Crudo Nudo one to remember. Their liqueurs are decadent making any drink you order mouthwatering. Try the “Thirteenth Hour,” a Suntory Toki Whiskey, coffee liqueur and Fernet Branca drink that is simple but delectable! We will warn you though, their cocktails are like chips, you can’t just have one.
Toast has become a pillar within Norfolk’s culinary scene, and it's no doubt that their creative cocktails play a major role in that accomplishment. Toast’s creations are funky, always delicious and are best enjoyed on their outdoor garden patio. Try their Mexican Firing Squad - Olmeca Altos blanco tequila, lime, house-made grenadine and ango. They also have signature hot cocktails like their Cognac Brownie - oat milk, cocoa powder, cognac orange and spices which pairs perfectly with a chilly night. Skip the mimosa and step out of your comfort zone at brunch with their Breakfast Negroni - Mezcal, grapefruit vermouth and coffee soaked Cynar.