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Michelin Star Restaurants: Exploring Great Cocktail Menus

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A Michelin Star restaurant is awarded for outstanding cuisine. A restaurant can get a Michelin Star based on a few criteria. They include the harmony of flavors, quality of the ingredients, the mastery of techniques. The personality of the chef that is expressed through their dishes, and the consistency of the food and cocktail menu are also important. 

What is a Michelin Star? Michelin Star awards are an annual occurrence. Every restaurant that gets an award is included in a country-specific Michelin Star Guide. The award-givers are not only looking for new places deserving of recognition but also reassessing current Michelin Star restaurants.

What’s important to note here is that the decor and design in the restaurant are not impacting the decision. Neither is following the latest adult beverage trends. What’s really important is the food they serve at the specific place. Keep in mind there is no such thing as Michelin Star chefs, as the award is given to the restaurant and not the chef who prepared the dishes.

Of course, every good restaurant should have a quality beverage program and owners should invest time and energy to do proper inventory organization. Food and wine pairing menu is one thing to consider if you want to get a Michelin Star. In addition to that, it’s recommended to spend time and resources on mixology. This means creating and serving great cocktails that complement well the food in your restaurant. 

Speaking of cocktails, in this article, we want to take a look at what some popular Michelin Star restaurants have on their menu.

Check out our Michelin Star Restaurant eBook!

9 Michelin Star Restaurants with a Great Cocktail Menu

Usually, the beverages don’t take a big part, or any part at all, in the decision-making. What the Michelin Star is given for is the food. However, when you combine great food with the right wine or cocktail, it can make a world of difference. This is why some experts decided to visit Michelin Star restaurants in New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, and San Francisco and rate their drink menus too. 

They’ve compiled a list of the best cocktails they found. Let’s see which are the restaurants that not only excel in food but in the types of alcohol they serve too!

Key Takeaway: Create unique cocktails that match the concept of your restaurant. However, a great cocktail menu usually includes some classics as well.

New York

ZZ’s Clam Bar has 1 star. When the research was done, the best cocktails they had on their menu, were Treacle, Peanut Butter, and Celery. Treacle was a nice blend of apple brandy, cinnamon, and mole bitters. Peanut Butter was from the bourbon cocktails, nicely blended with pineapple and banana. Last but not least, Celery was one of the best gin cocktails served at the ZZ’s Clam Bar. It also included caraway and fino sherry. All three of them perfectly combine with the delicious and diverse cuisine of the place.

The NoMad Bar has 1 Star, too. Although the place is well-known for its amazing food options, it also has a variety of exquisite cocktails. The menu changes all the time but two of their best cocktail offers that are worth mentioning are Ma Chérie and Little Dragon. Ma Chérie is a unique mixture of fino sherry, green Chartreuse, Velvet Falernum, celery, cucumber, lime, and salt. Little Dragon is a cocktail made of cacao nib-infused Cognac, aged aquavit, genever, Pineau des Charentes, plum vinegar, and umeboshi. 

San Francisco

Mourad is a 1 Star Michelin restaurant. The cuisine of this place brings the vibrant flavors of Marocco together with the innovative and modern spirit of Northern California. The two cocktails on their menu that stood out are Banana + Smoke and Bay Leaf + Chamomile. The first one’s ingredients include blended scotch, Islay scotch, amontillado sherry, Banane du Brésil, and sea salt. The latter cocktail option is a mixture of pisco, en rama fino sherry, blanc vermouth, as well as white pepper tincture. 

Kin Khao is another Michelin Star restaurant that earned 1 Star. Located in the Parc 55 hotel, this may not be the flashiest restaurant. However, it makes up for its simple decor with flavor-packed food and beverages. The must-try cocktails there are Farang Hot and the Spiced Kem Kon. Farang Hot includes puya chile-infused blanco tequila, Dolin dry vermouth, Kimosabe reposado mezcal, hibiscus, as well as lime and seltzer. Kem Kon is a blend of bourbon, Vermouth L’Afrique, tamarind and lime, but also has cinnamon. 

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Acadia is a restaurant with 2 Stars. After going througth their wine lists, which take up as much as 41 pages, you will find their cocktails. Although it’s modest, they have amazing options to try. Try either the provocative Sex & Violets or the classic Vieux Carré. Sex & Violets includes vodka, violet sugar, white vermouth, citron vinegar, plus lavender sea salt and egg white.

Sepia is another 1 Star restaurant. You can try some exciting cocktails with the inventive American food served at Sepia. The cocktail menu ranges from light and delicate to rich and enveloping. The lighter option to try is Animal Angels, which includes blanco tequila, blanc vermouth, Pamplemousse liqueur, Bësk, and Peychaud’s bitters. The richer option to order is The CHEE-NAR Flip which made of Cynar, whiskey, allspice dram, as well as whole egg and nutmeg.

Washington, D.C.

Rose’s Luxury is another restaurant with 1 Star. If the caviar in this unique place doesn’t entice you enough, the cocktails will steal your heart. Choose from their variety of “everyday,” “of the moment,” “luxury” or “throwback cocktails.” They include intriguing combinations of gin, wasabi, green tea, lime and ginger. 

Minibar by José Andrés is a place that earned 2 Stars. If you enjoy having different options, this place sure offers a variety. Their menu includes over a 100 unique and classic cocktails. And option to try is called Cross Eyed Mary and it’s a mixture of demerara rum, mango, honey, lemon, and absinthe.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Cocktail Menu at Michelin Star Restaurants

If you want your restaurant to earn a Michelin star, first focus on building your food menu. What’s really important to get you a star is offering quality food, possibly made from locally-sources ingredients, and presented in a beautiful way.  

Cocktails, however, are a nice way to ensure customer satisfaction. Pairing delicious food with a drink that complements it well will create one-of-a-kind experience for your guests. From tea pairing and beer pairing to non-alcoholic beverages and a signature cocktail - they can all boost the customer's experience. and And this is what you want if you are in the bar and restaurant business!

To find out more about how to earn a Michelin Star and how do you lose a Michelin Star, check out the blog posts we have on the topics. They offer even more helpful information for restaurant owners.

But now let’s dive into some commonly asked questions regarding cocktails in restaurants wanting to get their Michelin Star!

Check out our Michelin Star Restaurant eBook!

What Types of Cocktails to Serve to Get a Michelin Star? 

The cocktail menu is typically not evaluated by Michelin reviewers. The reviewers, who are typically anonymous, evaluate the quality of the food, the richness of the flavors, and they way all ingredients goes together. They don’t pay attention to the decor of the restaurant or the types of alcoholic beverages. 

However, this doesn’t mean you should neglect your beverage program when you want to get your Michelin Star. On the contrary, we suggest you do your best to dive into the world of mixology as well. Create unique cocktails that will complement the food you serve in your restaurant. This will definitely improve the experience of any guest that comes to your restaurant and will help you on your way to your desired Star!

Do I Need a Long Cocktails Menu? 

Always choose quality over quantity, even when it comes to your cocktails menu. There’s no right number of cocktails to serve in your bar or restaurant. Everything depends on the concept of the place and the types of food you serve. Always consult with an experienced mixologist of you want unique cocktails or even signature drinks. 

Curating a cocktails list or a wine list is not to be done quickly. Take the time you need to research what your local area has to offer in terms of ingredients Think about what type of feel you want to create in your bar and restaurant. Only then, when you work with a cocktail expert you will be able to get the perfect drinks for your business!

Should I Serve Only Unique Cocktails? 

Don’t focus strictly on unique or classic cocktails in your bar or restaurant. Consider your customer base, the concept of the business you are running, what type of ingredients you can get in your local area, and seasonality. 
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula when building a cocktail menu so don’t try to fit into anyone else’s standards. Work with your bartender or mixologist and come up with special drinks for your restaurant, but make sure you can also offer the classics people ask for. 

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