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Spring Fling: The 10 Best Cocktail Bars in the U.S.

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This weekend is Cinco de Mayo as well as the Kentucky Derby, so why not celebrate with a cocktail? Go beyond the margarita machine and the overly sweet Mint Julep and find the true art of the cocktail. Lindsay Taub rounds up 10 of the best cocktail bars across the country.

Cocktails are not just “a drink” any more. A vodka soda sends aficionados out the door running and screaming, and drinking a Cadillac margarita is about as exciting as pumping gas. But bartenders-turned-mixologists around the country have been taking notice and in the last couple of years, the number of craft cocktail locales has exponentially increased.

However, not everyone is doing the artisanal cocktail craze justice. The drinks can’t be taken seriously if, for example, fresh local produce isn’t used in the concoction or if artificial mixers or diet sodas areused. And if the ice cube is not grand in size (preventing the watering down of the drink) and the presentation is not dramatic (preventing the oooh’s and ahhh’s that are expected when the libation is finally created), and if there isn’t at least one rare spirit in sight behind the bar (making you feel special and privileged), you might as well go home and make yourself a gin and tonic. Here’s a roundup of the 10 best in each of your favorite U.S. cities.