5 Spots for Upscale Thanksgiving Eve Cocktails

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Can you think of another night of the year when a relaxing drink is in order? Food, family, fun -- sure, Thanksgiving is wonderful, but we need a break already. Last year we descended upon our local watering hole on Thanksgiving eve and found it full of reuniting Hendricken alum (one of us, being an alum, found it anything but relaxing). So where to go on the busiest bar night of the year? We found a few spots for a relaxing pre-turkey cocktail.


Cook and Brown Public House, Providence

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The craft cocktail craze in Providence was thrust into the spotlight when Cook and Brown opened several years ago. Immediately people on the East Side  began flocking there for the daily menu changes and the inventive cocktails being slid down the bar. Owner and chef Nemo Bolin began with a singular focus: bringing the freshest local food to your table. If it goes out of season tomorrow...he will take it off the menu. To accent the incredible food was a bar program that quickly became second to none. One of the coolest current examples of this is the Great Smoked Pumpkin. Even Charlie Brown could get behind this one: smoked pumpkin, privateer rum, lemon, clove and ginger ale are tossed with bitters to form a perfect fall cocktail. It is sweet and smoky and spicy. Pair it with a couple of Nemo's well thought out treats and charge your battery for holidays to come. 959 Hope St. 273-7275, www.cookandbrown.com


The Dorrance, Providence

Ah, the Dorrance.Have you been yet? You really should -- it's a classic part of Providence that somehow seems of another time and place. Belly up to the grand bar and ask master mixer Jay Carr and his able team to make you a classic sidecar (just like the original from Harry's Bar in Paris), a daiquiri, or another of the dozen or so drinks in their repertoire. All are made with super-fresh ingredients and top-notch liquors and the result is vintage and delicious...dare we say artisan. Pair it with a few ever-changing bar snacks from Chef Ben Sukle's menu. How good is this chef and his team? So good that an app of roasted cauliflower recently made our palates swoon. Yep. Cauliflower. 60 Dorrance St, 521-6000. www.thedorrance.com


Circe, Providence

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As food writers, we can tell you that there is nothing more dicey than the opening of a new restaurant. So many of them fail or become disappointments. We've kept a keen eye for the last several weeks on Carlo Carlozzi's new venture, Circe, which inhabits the space where Downcity Food and Cocktails -- wait for it -- "used to be." And so far we can't find any reason that this beautiful new space and its tenured team won't be a smash. Redesigned in all white, with a white marble bar that seats an ample 20 patrons, Circe is named for an enchantress in Homer's "Odyssey." And enchanting it is -- especially the creative drink menu. Our favorites include the strawberry mojito and an orange martini that tastes like a Creamsicle. Chef Simon Keating's tapas and dinner menu is the icing on this delightful cake. We visited recently and had roasted beets with gouda, a Waldorf salad, and a roast chicken that were all simply stellar. 50 Weybosset St, 437-8991.


Fluke Wine, Bar and Kitchen, Newport

When you have "wine" and "bar" before "kitchen" in your restaurant name, you better be serious about the libations...and Fluke is all that. When Fluke took an unassuming spot on Bowen's Wharf several years ago, little did locals know but a breath of fresh cocktails had arrived in town. For far too long our drinks were made with sub-standard juices and ingredients, but that changed in Newport with Fluke. Take one part classic cocktails, like the "Vesper" Martini, and add two parts fresh ingredients and you end up with tastiness! Their deft touch is on display in the aptly named Ocean Drive. Gin and fresh cucumber come together with lime and mint for a simple, beautiful cocktail....just like Newport itself.  We enjoyed some of the charcuterie and a wonderful spinach salad with a couple of the classic cocktails and Fluke will definitely be on the "good" list this year! 41 Bowen's Wharf, 849-7778, www.flukewinebar.com


DeWolf Tavern, Bristol

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There is something about sipping drinks in an early century stone warehouse and looking out at Bristol Harbor, even in the cold, that takes away all of our worries. Perhaps it was our sunny wedding day on the waterfront there, but it feels warm and safe. We ventured back years later to stand were we stood that day and then retired to the bar at DeWolfe for a cocktail and fell in love with two. First, the Blue Goose, which was accented by blue cheese stuffed olives and second, the Perfect Cranberry Manhattan. This was our favorite with Redemption rye, dry and sweet vermouth and a very cool local cranberry syrup. It took the idea of a Manhattan to whole new heights. Real depth of flavor in this drink. and it needs it to stay on the level of the food of chef Sai Viswanath. Chef Sai presides over a menu that fuses local ingredients and classic dishes with his Indian heritage and world travels. 259 Thames St. 254-2005, www.dewolftavern.com



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