Contributor Jeanne Lyons fancies Birmingham's latest cocktail den The Collins for its gin-based toddies and iPhone chargers.

Shaking things up Barman Feizal Valli—one of the movers and shakers helping redefine Birmingham's cocktail scene—takes his libations seriously. Want a cocktail menu? You won't find one here. The NOLA transplant believes guests should trust their bartenders. "Everyone

Paper planes add to the fun. Photo: Robbie Caponetto

behind the bar has extensive knowledge about cocktails, so we create your perfect drink by getting to know you," he says.

The Vibe The suave downtown space looks like a retro prep school with the charisma of a neighborhood dive bar. Besides paper airplane installations, functional vintage typewriters, and a periodic table of Birmingham-themed elements (baseball team and neighborhood callouts are favorites), the cocktails and cool vibe will school even the bar's brightest patron. Want to Instagram your cocktail, but your phone's dead? Not a problem, thanks to ample chargers and hookups throughout the bar.

First Round Unwind after a long day with a Keep Calm & Carry On ($9), made with Cathead vodka, St-Germain, lemon juice, and cinnamon syrup. "It's a light, approachable cocktail perfect for a casual night," Feizal says.

Second Round Gin aficionados try the Bohemian ($9) for a light concoction with citrus and floral notes that's a perfect after-work drink. It's crafted with Bombay dry gin, St-Germain, fresh grapefruit juice, and Peychaud's bitters.

Best Bar Snack(s) How about buttermilk-soaked spicy chicken and beer-battered waffles topped with bacon and maple-bourbon syrup ($10)? Yes, please. Looking for something a little "lighter"? The House-Made Tots ($6) with buttermilk ranch are worth double dipping.

Make It At Home

Keep Calm & Carry On Combine 3 Tbsp. vodka (such as Cathead), 2 Tbsp. double-strength chamomile tea, 1 Tbsp. elderflower liqueur (such as St-Germain), 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, and 1½ tsp. Cinnamon Syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Cover with lid, and shake until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds). Strain into a 5-oz. cocktail glass.

Makes 1 serving. Hands-on 10 min.; Total 40 min., including syrup

Cinnamon Syrup Bring ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water, and ½ tsp. freshly grated cinnamon to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often. Boil, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

Makes ½ cup. Hands-on 10 min., Total 30 min.

General manager and head bartender Feizal Valli. Photo: Robbie Caponetto