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Where to Drink Cocktails This Summer

8 great bars with unique drinks


Summer is the perfect time for cocktails: you can sit in on a veranda or in a bar on the top floor of a skyscraper overlooking the city, free your mind, and enjoy new flavor combinations. We’ve put together eight venues that treat cocktail making as a form of art — take note of them for a Friday night.

In 2021, Insider took 13th place in the expert rating of The World’s 50 Best Bars. The bar has a true mixological laboratory with various machines and devices for preparing ingredients: for example, it makes kombucha and also infuses alcohol with fruits and herbs. They are then made into premixes and sent to the bar station, where the bartenders perform the finishing touches and bring the cocktails to perfection.

This bar's striking interiors were inspired by the films of Wes Anderson (especially the picture The Life Aquatic, which is the translation of the establishment’s name from French). The menu includes seafood and sparkling wine cocktails. It is difficult to figure out what the names mean without the bartender’s advice: everything on the cocktail list references Wes Anderson films, and the ingredients are full of surprises.

It’s not a sleek cocktail lounge bar, but a place with its own character and ambiance. There are no signboards or signs: the main point of reference is a massive bunker door with a pinwheel in the courtyard on Bolshaya Dmitrovka. The bar menu is designed like the Periodic Table of Elements, with the color of the cell helping you determine base of the cocktail. The most important thing here is the original cocktails served in unusual ways. Instead of classic glasses, the containers are test tubes, bulb-shaped flasks, grenades, fuel canisters, and even plastic bags. There are appetizers and hot food, mostly street food.

The cocktails are the responsibility of head bartender Igor Bobritsky, who has experimented with the classics. As the name of the bar suggests, it offers different variations on the margarita, including with aloe and pumpkin or cornelian cherries. The Gimlet Eucalyptus (holly olive gin, eucalyptus cordial, and Italicus) and the Brandy Daisy (sherry brandy, Disaronno liqueur, orange liqueur, passion fruit, and lemon juice) are worth a try.

This is an institution influenced by Jewish culture. Cocktail culture is honored here: they make more than two hundred drinks, including classics and original mixes. There is no drink menu: the bartenders select them according to guests’ preferences. The bar has its own laboratory where they make essences, bleach cocktails, age wine, and make their own liqueurs.

This bar is perhaps the first, and so far the only, bar that has decided to occupy the “Russian” cocktail niche. The unusual name is a reference to the idiom “have breakfast before the cranes”: it was the name of a sealed crystal decanter of cognac, decorated with golden cranes. The focus is on seasonal cocktails, so the list of six drinks is updated every month. They are prepared using fresh vegetables, fruits and berries, and herbs and spices that grow in Russia. The alcohol selected for the cocktails is also “patriotic”: liqueurs and Saransk distillates, moonshine, and Bryansk vermouth.

High Bar is located on the 56th floor of the Imperia Tower in the Moscow City complex. The place resembles a New York bar: its panoramic window gives a clear view of neighboring skyscrapers. High ceilings and vintage luxuriant chandeliers create a distinctive atmosphere, and there are live jazz performances on Thursdays. The bar’s cocktail list is divided into eras: when ordering a drink, you can learn the history of the bartending profession and how the culture of alcohol consumption evolved in different countries. The menu includes hot drinks based on original recipes from the 18th century (at that time, alcohol with bitters and juices were mixed only in half-boiling form), classic American cocktails of the last century, and original modern variations.

This bar in Red October territory at the eponymous Institute of Media, Architecture and Design is an iconic point on the map of the city. In summer, there is a veranda, right on the bank of the Moskva River, with a view of the Patriarch Bridge. The cocktail list is impressive: dozens of items for almost every taste are on offer, but for the most summery mood, you should order a spritzer with, for example, lavender or lychee.

Cover photo: Unsplash

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