Frankly, I find the endless parade of cocktail bars and hushed mixology dens exhausting. Give me a dark hovel—preferably with a glowering, red-faced septuagenarian holding court at the bar—and a glass of Evan Williams on the rocks and I'll sit contentedly for hours. My bias against cocktails was changed, however, after visiting The Up & Up, a subterranean charmer nestled between hookah lounges, cookie chains, tattoo parlors and fratty bars on MacDougal Street. It was there that I drank The Hailstone, the cocktail that won me over.

The rye base caught my attention, as did the addition of cream, as I'll jump at any chance to guild the lily. At its heart, the drink channels a melted creamsicle, with the addition of orange juice and orange flower. A touch of mace—a cousin of nutmeg—adds warmth and roundness to the drink. It's $14 worth of delicious I'll happily consume again.

It should also be noted that the atmosphere of the bar increases the enjoyment of the drinks themselves. Patrons are seated by a host, who prevents overcrowding, and the atmosphere is quiet enough to carry on a conversation but not church-like. It's a grown-up bar in college town and if it lasts long enough, maybe I'll be the septuagenarian glaring at NYU kids in the corner.