What are Adam Seger's favorite cities?
London is my go-to city for cocktails and mixology inspiration. From the artsy grit of Shoreditch to the elegance of Kensington, places like Lab Bar in the ’90s were the cocktail-culture incubator for the worldwide cocktail renaissance we are experiencing now. I get my creative batteries charged whenever I visit my mixology mates in London, bringing back to the States the equivalent of having gone in a time machine to the next most-on-point cocktail trends. London is bloody expensive, but like any city, most navigable for the savvy voyager. It also has an economy that supports the average £12 cocktail.
Montreal is a gem, especially old Montreal. It's like a quick trip to Paris with a citywide discount card and without the pretense. The cocktail scene has not developed as well as the cutting-edge Vancouver scene, but it makes up for it in charm.
San Francisco is a city for lovers, food and wine lovers and cocktailians. Because the locals and visitors were already sold on farm-to-table, sustainable and startlingly fresh cooking much thanks to Alice Waters, the craft-cocktail movement was a natural. With the largest U.S. Bartending Guild in the States and an explosion of craft distilleries, San Francisco's cocktail scene will do nothing but get better.
New Orleans is a must and with Tales of the Cocktail — the largest and most influential annual cocktail event in the world — it's the equivalent of Vegas going from buffet-centric food culture to a center for some of the greatest chefs on earth. New Orleans has gone from daiquiris coming out of machines on Bourbon Street to having a flawless respect for the classics and an über-respect for the craft of bartending.
I love New York as well, my high school stomping ground. What has changed is my former Manhattan-centric eating and drinking has shifted to Brooklyn and Williamsburg. There is a creative verve with newly energized neighborhoods in Brooklyn raising the bar on cocktail culture sans the hoi polloi of some of Manhattan's more intimidating cocktail establishments. That being said, no cocktail trip to New York is complete without a visit to PDT, Death & Co., Mayahuel and Employees Only, who were instrumental in starting the thriving New York cocktail scene.
Off the radar are Atlanta and Denver for eating and drinking. Denver is one of the best restaurant/craft-cocktail bar walking cities in a sustainably minded craft-spirit environment with the backdrop of the Rockies. Atlanta has a thriving food, craft beer and cocktail scene whose sophistication shocks the unsuspected. With a sprawling layout, getting a driver is a great investment.