Which NYC Borough Makes the Best Cocktail? It’s Time to Find Out

You don’t need me to tell you that New York City is home to some of the best cocktails in the country. It makes sense, especially considering the city’s history as a cocktail-inventing mecca: Manhattans (obviously), Rusty Nails, Long Island Iced Teas (for better or for worse), and more would not exist without the city that never sleeps and the incredible bartenders who live there.

But the New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) dares to go further with the Battle of the Boroughs: A Cocktail Showdown. On Oct. 15, representatives from each of New York City’s five boroughs will go head to head in a friendly, cocktail-slinging competition to decide which borough makes the best drink. Hosted by The Try Guys, famed internet personalities, and hosts of the Food Network’s “No Recipe Road Trip,” it’s sure to be a party for the ages.

The Try Guys at NYCWFF
Zach Kornfeld, Ned Fulmer, and Keith Habersberger of The Try Guys.


For the last 15 years, NYCWFF has showcased the talents of world-renowned chefs, bartenders, culinary personalities, and lifestyle experts, bringing their experience to diehard foodies with a slew of exclusive events. Better yet? Net proceeds from the festival will go toward God’s Love We Deliver, an organization dedicated to providing healthy meals for New Yorkers with severe illnesses. From Oct. 13-16, guests will be able to indulge in the best that the New York City food and beverage scene has to offer — and support a good cause.

The Battle of the Boroughs will be no different. “We’ll be featuring the top bars from all five boroughs,” says Lee Brian Schrager, the festival’s founder and director. “I think each borough has its own character and we can expect to see that embodied in the cocktails being presented.”

With top talents involved, only top ingredients will do for the Cocktail Showdown. Bacardi has partnered with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits to ensure the competitors have a fully stocked bar. “Everyone participating in this year’s program truly embodies our Bacardi spirit and culture, and ultimately [is] here to bring New York a great cocktail experience,” says a spokesperson for the brand.

NYCWFF Battle of the Boroughs

Of course, late-night cocktails wouldn’t be complete without some good food. Prepare to indulge in delicious bar snacks served by Valerie, Juicy Lucy BBQ, LoLo’s on Broadway, Mac Shack, Empanology, Agi’s Counter, and Dyckman Dogs.

Not only will guests get New Yorker-approved snacks and a front-row seat as bartenders put their skills to the test, but they’ll also get a taste of each cocktail before voting for the People’s Choice Award. “Last year, the Bronx took home the People’s Choice Award and I’m betting all the other boroughs are ready to take that title off their hands,” Schrager says.

For California-based Ned Fulmer, Keith Habersberger, and Zach Kornfeld of The Try Guys, this will be their first time hosting at NYCWFF. “NYC has incredible cocktails, beautiful bars, and just the best nightlife in the states. L.A. also has amazing cocktails, but I think the intimacy of New York City cocktail bars is pretty unmatched,” the group tells VinePair.

The hosts of the Battle of the Boroughs are expecting big things from this year’s contestants: “We’re hoping to see some bartending with flare. Breathing fire, juggling, a show. We love to see experimental cocktails that are as beautiful as they are delicious.”

Knowing New York, they won’t be disappointed. To get your tickets, click here.

This article is sponsored by the New York City Wine & Food Festival.