What makes a great cocktail? Is it a catchy name, the presentation or the way the flavors dance in your mouth? We visited with top barkeeps at some of the town’s trendiest nightspots to see how they dazzle with drinks.

Ivy Magruder, Vin de Set

“The Sazerac has been around forever, and our version, with rye whiskey, simple syrup, and Peychaud bitters, has a following. We have people who come in all the time, have one drink and go home.”

“French 75 goes back to World War II, and was named by fighter pilots who were celebrating their safe return home. It’s a palate cleanser, for sure, with gin, Champagne, lemon juice and Grand Marnier.”

“People can sip on the ‘X-Rated Bubble Bath’ all day and night. It’s a fun drink made with X-Rated Fusion Liqueur (vodka infused with passion fruit, blood orange and mango), some Champagne, cranberry juice and a little vanilla.”

Lucas Ramsey, Eclipse Restaurant

“Partridge in a Pear Tree combines pear brandy, Crème de Violette, simple syrup, lime juice, celery bitters and egg white. The drink is very accessible—with flavors that people are familiar with—yet complex.”

“The Sazerac is one of the oldest known cocktails, and we created a recipe that’s closest to the original: rye whiskey, simple syrup, bitters—all stirred and strained with a lemon twist. It’s perfect for someone watching Mad Men.”

“The Judy Jetson is a very approachable cocktail with Stoli raspberry vodka, Framboise liqueur, simple syrup, lemon juice, Aperol and an orange twist.“

Jesse Stuart, Cielo Bar

“The Pumpkin Patch is a great fall drink with Stoli vanilla vodka, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, Pumpkin Smash liqueur, cinnamon and house-made whipped cream, all shaken and served sprinkled with cinnamon and graham cracker crumbs on the rim.”

“The Cucumber Chill is a different take on the Mojito: diced up cucumbers and limes, fresh-made simple syrup, Hendrick’s gin, crushed ice, soda water and cucumber garnish.”

“We always have a drink on the menu named after the GM, in this case, Alper’s Pink Shirt (named for Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis GM Alper Oztok). It has Cabana Cachaca rum infused with strawberries and pepper—it’s a great year-round drink.”