The simple pleasure of a creative cocktail

When you’re in the mountains, it’s easy to slow down and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. The songs of the birds returning in spring. Sunlight glittering on the surface of a pristine lake. Quiet mornings on a forest trail. The simplicity is beautiful, but life requires balance. Eventually, you might find yourself craving complexity, wanting to mix, shake, or stir things up. You might want, for instance, a creatively crafted cocktail!

Fortunately, Lake Placid is home to a talented cast of mixologists ready to deliver on that desire. Their cocktails go beyond your basic mixed drinks, blending fresh, seasonal, and unique ingredients into truly inspired creations. Whether it’s a new take on an old reliable or an invention all their own, these restaurants and bars go above and beyond, offering cocktail menus that add just the right amount of complexity to your relaxing getaway.

Couple enjoys cocktails and cheese board on deck

Top of the Park

At many restaurants, the bar plays a bit or behind-the-scenes part. At Top of the Park, it’s the leading lady, which is saying something since the food gives strong main character energy of its own! Their extensive bar menu is stacked with seasonally-changing signature cocktails, featured classics, and unique offerings like CBD and beer cocktails. It also includes page after page of wines, beers, and even mocktails for an all-inclusive bar experience.

Don’t see anything that suits your fancy? That’s hard to believe, but their expert mixologists will gladly shake or stir up whatever you desire. If you’re feeling indecisive, answer a few simple questions and they’ll produce a delicious elixir customized to your mood and tastes. Personally, I’m a sucker for Love at First Sight, with Four Roses Bourbon, Luxardo Cherry Liqueur, lemon, and raspberry. Order me a cheese board to snack on while I sip, seat me at a table on the sunny deck overlooking Mirror Lake, and consider my heart won.

Cocktail with orange and luxardo cherry

Eastwind Hotel Lake Placid

For a cozy, intimate cocktail experience, head to Eastwind Hotel. Their bar & lounge is the perfectly-styled living room you’ve always dreamed of. With a handful of stools at their beautifully designed bar and several couches by a crackling fire, this hidden gem is perfect for date night, small groups, or a peaceful solo outing. Combine the atmosphere with a seasonally-inspired cocktail list featuring classic and signature creations made with fresh ingredients, and you’ll be asking to move in. 

I recommend the Black Manhattan, made with Hudson Rye, Fernet, and bitters- a simple twist on a time-honored classic. It’s a well-rounded cocktail with all the sweetness and warmth the setting calls for. If you prefer something lighter, try the Foghorn with Beefeater gin, sweet lime, and the refreshing kick of a spicy ginger beer. Their well-curated wine list and selection of local beers are also well worth perusing and you can pair your drinks with a charcuterie board or other small fare. 

Hand with red nail polish grabs fruity cocktail

The View at Mirror Lake Inn

For a truly luxurious experience, head to the Mirror Lake Inn and sip your cocktail while enjoying dinner in The View Restaurant, Lake Placid’s only AAA Four Diamond Restaurant. The food is worthy of its own rave review, the service is second to none, and the view overlooking Mirror Lake is simply sublime. But if reservations and dinner dress aren’t in the cards, the Lounge will gladly welcome you for a drink. Warm and comfortable, full of dark wood and cozy seating, the Lounge is perfect for relaxing in Adirondack elegance. Adding to the decadence, the cocktails blend the finest ingredients into creations that taste almost too good to be true.

This is one of those places where you could order a time-honored classic like a Manhattan or Martini and it will hands down be the best one you’ve ever had. However, you would be remiss not to try something off the signature menu, like the Forager’s Smash with bourbon, Islay scotch, agave nectar, lemon juice, citrus rosemary muddle, and a lemon twist. Full of depth but balanced with sweetness and citrus, its flavor profile pairs perfectly with the space itself. Under the Stars, crafted with mezcal, violet liqueur, agave nectar, lemon juice, blackberry muddle, and a lemon twist is perfect for spring; the smoky mezcal is evocative of the scant traces of winter that remain while the floral and fruit components provide the promise of warmer days. 

Couple holding up bloody mary in a jar

The Breakfast Club, etc.

Whoever says you have to wait until 5 o’clock to enjoy an alcoholic beverage is severely missing out at The Breakfast Club, etc.! Their extensive Bloody Mary and Mimosa menus are a great way to start the day when you’re enjoying a care-free getaway. The Fire Mary — their classic Bloody spiced up with red Tabasco, Sriracha, green Tabasco, and garnished with celery, spicy olives, pepperoncini, and a cherry pepper — is sure to awaken the senses! (Pro tip: ask for it as a Bloody Maria with tequila instead of vodka!) For a gentler morning wake-up, try the Peach Kiss mimosa with orange juice, peach schnapps, and blush champagne. 

If you prefer to be very efficient with your morning liquids, combine your caffeine and cocktail into a spiked latte! Some sweet, others spiced, you’ll find boozy twists on popular latte flavors that will warm you, toes to nose. Take a break from the ever-popular espresso martini and try a Spiced Chocolate Chai, featuring Oregon Chai, Ghirardelli chocolate, Captain Morgan spiced rum, and milk topped with whipped cream and cinnamon. 

Couple clinking cocktails at dinner table

But wait, there’s more!

I could chronicle every great cocktail menu in Lake Placid, but, considering the way I wax poetic about booze, we would be here all day. So instead I’ll leave you with a taste — a shot, if you will — of several other establishments that should definitely be on your list. 

Overlooking Mirror Lake and the village below, the Crowne Plaza’s Great Room is an excellent venue for a mid-day indulgence, aperitif, or after-dinner drink. The menu sticks mostly to the classics, but they’re made well and their simplicity allows the venue to shine. Gaze out the floor-to-vaulted ceiling windows as you relax amidst the classic Adirondack lodge decor or take your cocktail out into the open air on nice nights and watch the fading sunlight glow on the not-so-distant mountains.

Couple sits on bench seat with cocktails and food on table

Marcy Bar at the Grand Adirondack Hotel offers classic cocktails with a classy Adirondack vibe. The decor strikes a balance between Adirondack Great Camp and the grandeur of the Roaring Twenties: forest green paint paired with patterned wallpaper, bright wood and dark leather, and warm metals glinting with the light from big picture windows. Their drinks feel equally balanced, many offering prohibition-era favorites with an Adirondack twist.

Interlaken bar and dining room

Tucked away on a hill, a breath from downtown but in a world of its own, lies the Interlaken Inn & Restaurant. Here, in both the food and the drinks, you’ll find high-end ingredients mixed with care. Imagine the perfect blend of an old English pub and the mahogany-clad study of a pipe-smoking, tweed-wearing detective—that’s the bar at Interlaken. Always fresh and creative, some bold and others elegant, their concoctions cater to every taste. Sit back, sip slowly, and let your stress melt away.

Hands holding a cocktail and beer

If you love a brewery atmosphere but prefer mixed drinks, you’re in luck! Big Slide Brewery provides a haven for cocktail lovers amid a sea of beer drinkers. With creative flairs and frequently punny names, their cocktail menu delivers high-quality and memorable drinks that are sure to satisfy in a way that feels casual and fun. This is an ideal dinner-and-drinks reward after a day full of adventure!

Bartender places drink in front of woman

With so many excellent cocktail menus and welcoming bars to explore, Lake Placid is sure to satisfy die-hard mixology lovers and casual drinkers alike. As you imbibe, please put safety first! It’s important to balance your booze with good food, so pair your drink with a plate of something tasty or plan to dine nearby. If you can’t walk to and from your lodging, make sure to arrange safe transportation back at the end of the night. And, if you wake to find you’ve enjoyed a tipple too many, grab a cup of Joe from a quaint coffee shop and walk it off on a beautiful trail—the fresh mountain air will work wonders! Cheers, and don't forget to tip your bartenders!