Staring at cocktail menus and can’t make a decision? Here are 12 famous drinks everybody’s ordering — from playful gimmicks to elevated craft cocktails.
The Crunkleton’s Painkiller
The 70s-era tiki-style drink is a tropical escape in the heart of Elizabeth.
Address: 1957 E. 7th St.
What’s in it: More importantly, what’s not in it? The Crunkleton passes on the traditional Pusser’s rum because “we think it’s lame that a liquor company would own the rights to a way of making a particular drink.” Theirs is made with aged rum, overproof rum, coconut cream, fresh squeezed orange, pineapple, lime and nutmeg.
Haberdish’s House Mint Julep
The Southern classic is a staple during the warm weather months. Drinking with a crew? You’ll also want out their shareable punch bowls dotted with photo-worthy decorative flowers.
Address: 3106 N. Davidson St.
What’s in it: Old Forester bourbon, fresh mint, sugar and a mountain of shaved ice.
Moo & Brew’s Large Marge Bloody Mary
The brunch classic is stacked high with enough garnishes to make it a full meal in a glass. Oh, and you get to take that glass home. It’s like a trophy for finishing this beast.
Address: 1300 Central Ave.
What’s in it: The 20-ounce Bloody Mary with two shots of Tito’s vodka is topped with a jalapeño firecracker, Wisconsin cheese curds, two grilled cheese sandwiches, an Angus burger slider, fried green tomatoes, Applewood smoked bacon and a mini Miller High Life on the side. Casual.
Selwyn Pub’s Transfusion
They didn’t invent the simple vodka cocktail, but the 28-year-old classic Charlotte bar has branded its signature drink like none other complete with logo tees and cups. They sell more transfusions than all of their beers combined.
Address: 2801 Selwyn Ave.
What’s in it: The classic golf course version is vodka, ginger ale and a splash of grape juice, but Selwyn has a full menu of juice flavors, a “skinny” version made with club soda and even a non-alcoholic version.
Zeppelin’s Uncle Eddy
When you really want to make a scene, go for the cocktail that makes a dramatic entrance in a smoke-filled glass dome.
Address: 235 W. Tremont Ave.
What’s in it: Wagyu fat washed bourbon, slow ginger syrup, buckspice bitters, king cube, candied ginger and cold smoke.
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Slate’s Becky Buckets
Vodka soda gets a basic B upgrade with La Croix, Ketel One Botanicals and a gimmicky bucket that says “Pay attention to me.” (No shade. This is me in a drink.)
Address: 200 E. Bland St.
Price: $10, and half off every Wednesday
What’s in it: Ketel One Botanical vodka and your choice of three different La Croix flavors — Pamplemousse, Peach-Pear or Lime.
Soul Gastrolounge’s Cucumber Mule
The popular cocktail on tap has been on the menu since 2014. It’s prepped daily before the bar opens at 5 p.m., and they tear through 100-150 nightly.
Address: 1500-B Central Ave.
What’s in it: Absolut vodka, cucumber juice, fresh ginger, key lime juice and sugar.
Agenda Story: What’s up with Soul Gastrolounge’s Cucumber Mule on tap?
Dot Dot Dot’s Signature Old Fashioned
The city’s top cocktail bar is a members-only speakeasy in an old storage unit below Park Road Shopping Center, and they know a thing or two about flawless execution on the classic bourbon cocktail.
Address: Park Road Shopping Center Backlot – it’s a speakeasy, look for the ellipsis (…) above the door
What’s in it: Elijah Craig 9-year personal selection bourbon, angostura, sugar, orange, cherry, served over large ice.
The Imperial’s Boat-anical Moscow Mule
This monster 166-ounce cocktail is designed to serve four to five people — unless you’re feeling ambitious.
Address: 300 N. College St.
What’s in it: A 166-ounce mix of vodka, ginger beer, lime and what appears to be a full plant of mint served in a giant copper mug.
Rosemont’s Soccer Mom Special
The cheap fruit cocktails are served playground style in plastic sippy pouches. Their Frozemont Slushy, made with Cheerwine and rum, is another playful spin on an adult drink.
Address: 1714 South Blvd.
What’s in it: Peach Ring (peach whiskey, orange juice, sour, grenadine), Transfusion (vodka, grape juice, Sprite), Mt. Rose (Three Olives Rose vodka, Pama pomegranate liqueur).
Seoul Food Meat Company’s Pineapple Soju
The Korean liquor served in your choice of a hollowed out pineapple or watermelon comes with a ladle and shot glasses for sharing, but I’m not here to judge if you stick a straw in it.
Address: 1400 S. Church St.
What’s in it: Soju and pineapple juice
Hello, Sailor’s Cherry Lemon Sundrop Negroni Slushie
Sail away with this frozen cocktail and lakefront views.
Address: 20210 Henderson Road, Cornelius
What’s in it: A frozen blend of gin, Campari, lemon and Cherry Lemon Sundrop.
[Related Agenda guides: best cocktail bars in Charlotte and 50 best bars in Charlotte, ranked]