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What is a Craft Cocktail?

You’ve no doubt heard the term thrown around the last decade or so, but if someone asked you what a craft cocktail was, you might not know how to tell them. No judgment. 

Or perhaps you would, but not before you rolled your eyes. “Overpriced, small drinks that taste just like something you could make yourself for way cheaper” is what you may be thinking. 

And at some bars, that may be what you get. (Check out this helpful piece by Aliza Kellerman on how to spot a non-craft craft cocktail bar.)

But whatever your stance on craft cocktails, we wanted to break them down for you. Once understood, we think they’re something everyone can get on board with.

Which is super convenient, because we make pretty damn good ones here at Pubblico. 

What makes a craft cocktail, craft?

We loved Bryce Conlan’s definition of a craft cocktail. Not ones to reinvent the wheel, here it is:

“[A craft cocktail is] when the bartender respects the ingredients and the patron enough to slow down and do the drink justice. After all anyone can dump whiskey and sweet vermouth together and call it a Manhattan but a craft bartender might take a more thoughtful approach to pairing whiskey known for a particular characteristic with a complimentary vermouth.”

In short, craft cocktails come down to three things:


Conlan’s definition is great, but blogger Drake Ramsey adds an important piece to his definition, and that is - craft cocktail’s ingredients are fresh. Think freshly squeezed orange juice versus Tropicana, fresh mint versus Creme de menthe.

Sarahi muddling fresh thyme for our signature Aurora cocktail.


Much like cooking with fresh, whole ingredient, making craft cocktails often requires more labor to create something both edible (or drinkable in this case) and delicious. But that’s half the fun. Yes, it’s a job. But bartenders who specialize in craft cocktails do so because they love the process.


Craft cocktails finish the race. An authentic one won’t only be made with fresh ingredients and intentionality, but it’s also going to be beautiful. 

Whether it’s an Old Fashioned with a crystal clear ice cube and a sleek tumbler, or Pubblico’s signature Lustful Moon with salt on the side and a sprig of fresh rosemary singed on the spot emitting an earthy aroma (see below), craft cocktails are easy on the eyes.

Now, if for whatever reason you can’t make it into Pubblico for one of ours (pssst...sign up for our email list to get one on the house at Happy Hour), here are 10 easy craft cocktails to make at home for yourself or for party guests.

And be sure to follow us on Instagram where we post our daily craft cocktail specials!

The finishing touches on our Lustful Moon: Mezcal, blackberry, lemon, lime, and rosemary liqueur.

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