Wine and beer pair nicely with burgers, but if you need something a little stronger, any number of cocktails can do the job. Here, some of Atlanta's preeminent bartenders, mixologists, and beverage managers share their picks for quality cocktails that go well with beefy goodness.
Shanna Mayo, beverage director, Victory Sandwich Bar
I tend to like bitter drinks with burgers. One of my favorite cocktails to have with a burger is a Boulevardier. At Victory, we make ours with Belle Meade sour mash bourbon, Cocchi di Torino, and, of course, Campari. The weight of the bourbon helps it hold up to a burger, while the silky brightness of the Cocchi makes it palatable with food.
Chris Gianaras, beverage manager, 4th & Swift
I think a savory cocktail is ideal to go with a burger. At 4th & Swift, I would recommend the "Hells Bells" made with Reposado Tequila, Green Chartreuse, charred bell pepper, pineapple, jalapeno, and lime. Or a Bloody Mary.
Vajra Stratigos, director of food and beverage standards, Fifth Group Restaurants
I really like the Portuguese and Spanish versions of the Tinto de verano with a burger. The vinous fruity nature of red wine works well with a wide variety of rich and fatty foods, and the textural sensation of a lightly sweet citrus soda makes this a perfect adult libation for this iconic sandwich. It's for everyday drinking — low alcohol for lunch or a midday meal and a great balancing act — that's it.
Julian Goglia, owner/bartender, The Pinewood Tippling Room
We love the "Goonies Never Say Die!" It was made to help guide you through our huge Pinewood burger.
At home I keep Bristow Gin on hand at all times. I'm a G&T lady, so just some Fever Tree tonic and a squirt of lime juice is what I typically drink with a burger.
Clarke Anderson, beverage manager, no. 246
My favorite thing to have with a burger is always a beer in a can — like an IPA that is dry and refreshing. Right now I'm all about the Tropicalia IPA from Creature Comforts. We keep it at no. 246.
At JCT, the Dixie Bramble with the JCT Burger is perfect. There's nothing better than bourbon and wood oven-grilled meats. The blackberry sweetness goes great with the texture and the smokiness of the big flavor coming from the burger. Then, at The Optimist, something like the Scurvy Scoundrel goes great with the Butter Burger at lunch. The richness coming from the burger is a great companion for something crisp, light, and refreshing like the Scurvy to clear your palate in a good way.
Brian Lee, bar manager, Local Three
The best cocktail to pair with a burger would be a refreshing Muddy's Water. We make it with housemade ginger beer and Makers Mark, and pour it on draught. The bourbon will make you happy, and the ginger will help you finish those delicious fries.
Michael Magnole, manager, Bourbon Bar
At Bourbon Bar, we have a signature old-fashioned called "the Governor," and to me this is the perfect pairing for a burger. We use a combination of orange and black walnut bitters that really compliments the Four Roses Yellow Label bourbon we use. The bitters add sweet and nutty notes that will cut through savory beef. The best part, though, is the flamed orange we garnish the Governor with, because the caramelized orange peel matches very nicely with the char you get on a great burger.
Mercedes O'Brien, cocktail cart conductor, Gunshow
When it comes to burgers and cocktails, I'm a traditionalist. Old fashioned in the winter, a Pimm's Cup while manning the grill in the summer.
Caleb Hopkins, manager/director of wine, Atlas
The Cocktail à la Louisiane is the perfect pairing to the Atlas Burger. It's a classic cocktail that was served at Restaurant de la Louisiane. At Atlas, we use F.E.W. Rye Whiskey, Carpano Antica, Benedictine, Peychauds Bitters, and an Herbsaint rinse to make the cocktail. The drink is stirred and poured over an ice sphere and gets a flamed orange expression. The Antica is an Italian sweet vermouth that has just enough citrus to cut through the richness of the dry-aged beef. F.E.W. is a craft whiskey from Evanston, Ill., the home of the Temperance movement. It has just enough sweetness of corn, but the perfect balance of heat. The Benedictine, a French herbal liqueur, provides depth and brings out Chef Christopher [Grossman's] spice mix. The flamed orange gives it a smoky/savory component, creating a total sensory experience.
David Durnell, mixologist, Bocado
Favorite cocktail to pair with the burger would be the "Big Business." The recipe is:
- 1 1/2 oz High West Double Rye
- 3/4 oz Lemon
- 3/4 oz Old Rasputin Stout Syrup
- 3 dashes Angostura
- Herbsaint Rinse
- Orange Zest
The malty/meaty flavors of the stout go great with the burger, as well as the whiskey sourish acid from the lemon, which helps to cut through the fat.
Tiffanie Barriere, master mixologist, One Flew South
Favorite cocktail to pair with a burger out is anything from 3 Taverns Brew or from the Orpheus Brewers. Beer is my partner in crime with a juicy burger. If at home, a cold beer like Left Hand Nitro Stout, Allagash, or Crispin Cider are likely to be in my fridge.