To be clear, this isn't necessarily about my favorite cocktails. Many memorable drinks aren't pictured here only because I didn't snap them properly. i've turned to my friend Laura Bergerol for help (see her photography tips below); for now, the photos where I got lucky:
Loa. Loa features great light, an exotic setting and vintage glassware. Here, bartender Kelle Bohnenstiehl's pretty fl oral top softens the textural elements of this shot - copper bar, metallic glass, stone coaster. inside the glass? soju, lemongrass syrup, and fresh-picked clover.
Bellocq. So much has been written about Bellocq's cobblers that i have nothing to add, but i love the stark contrast between the colorful garnish and dark bar.
Iris. It took a few tries to capture sharon Floyd's dramatic "Garden District" (a bouquet of gin, fennel syrup, elderfl ower liqueur), but i fi nally got near the window, shooting it as a fl oating bowl. Flowers add color behind , but in the foreground it's all about the feathery fennel.
Batch. I love its simple color scheme - black walnut walls, dark cherries, and the reddish-honey hue of the drink. i love its soft light around the rim, and the way the plated cherries echo the cherry stem in this bacon-bourbon Manhattan. This photo is why i drink.
American Sector. Inside this tiki mug is the "mysterious Big Mamou," a vintage muddle of rum, mango purée and mint, and drunk (of course) with a zombie woman. i'd never been on their patio at night, but was instantly drawn to the backlit ivy walls, which made the perfect frame for this shot.
Bacchanal. See those stripes of bubbles, and the emerald herbs refracted in the glass? They bring this pisco-white vermouth-tonic to life, on the night that Bacchanal debuted its cocktail program (and you heard it here first).
How to Shoot Better Smart Phone Photos
BY LAURA BERGEROL, Photographer laurabergerolphotography.com
Whether you're shooting with an iPhone or an Android, get good cocktail photos (that don't need much post-processing work) with these easy tips:
Tripods. Avoid camera shake by getting a gorillapod or mini tripod - pretty reasonable, and usually between $5 to $35. They're great for shooting at different angles, too. Rocks glasses or even water glasses can also stand in as a tripod, in a pinch.
Use apps. For the iPhone, i use Camera Plus Pro (Camera Awesome) since it has a nice fl ashlight that works well in low light. i just started using Camera Sharp ($1.99) and am expecting great things; it's like camera Awesome without all the "bells and whistles", which frankly i fi nd frustrating. i also like Aviary which comes in both iPhone and Android. For Androids, Fast Burst Camera is a must-have camera app for people with small children, but it's also great for low-light situations. There is a free version, but for $3.99 you get support for fl ash, focus, and digital zoom, and the shutter sound can be turned off. Camera Zoom FX ($2.99) calls itself the ultimate Android camera app, and really it is. it's certainly the most feature-fi lled, handling both shooting and editing duties from one interface. Lastly, Little Photo is nice because the workfl ow is pretty fast. Open the app, tap the screen to shoot, and then tap your shot to open a vertical list of editing tools, fi lters, and effects with live previews. Free, but $3.85 adds cropping and contrast, exposure and saturation controls.
Be creative with the light you have. candles and overhead lights can give you interesting light, as can windows. Generally, i fi nd that the bar has the best light, so sit at the bar and shoot photos from there. With clear drinks, place a candle to the side, so that your available light bounces off the liquid. With fi zzy drinks or thick porous drinks (margaritas, daiquiris, etc.), use a candle in back as your light source (off to the side so that it is not in the photo), to highlight bubbles and texture of drinks.