Sip Your Way along the CT Signature Cocktail Trail Last Updated 3/16
Enjoying a signature cocktail is a great way to cap off a busy day of sightseeing, shopping or foliage viewing here in Connecticut. Sip one before dining at one of our great restaurants, or savor a nightcap as you go over the next day’s itinerary. There are dozens upon dozens of terrific signature cocktails on offer in Connecticut, so with the help of social media, we’ve created a Signature Cocktail Trail that invites you to discover a few of our favorite sipping spots - not all at once, obviously.
The Cocktail Culture is very cool these days in most of the towns of Fairfield County, where good ideas and innovations have a way of sticking.
- In Ridgefield, there’s The B’s Knees at Bailey’s Backyard, a combo of Glenbrook Plum Gin, blackberry/lavender syrup, lime juice and fresh berries. Check the “For the Table” menu for zucchini and sweet corn fritters.
- Meanwhile, in Westport, Kawa Ni offers the Shoga, with bourbon, nonino, ginger tea and orange bitters. Try one along with the Stonington scallops. Neat, in the old Westport firehouse, stays in the corn mash mood with its Over Easy, where bacon-washed bourbon, lemon, Grand Marnier, cane sugar and Jerry Thomas Bitters take up residence together. Neat’s cheese board makes a good accompaniment. And Luxe Wine Bar & Craft Cocktails offers the Sidewinder, which incorporates Lairds Apple Brandy, Pimms, Gran Classico bitters and orange peel garnish. Pair it with Luxe’s delish deviled eggs.
- We’ve heard that Geronimo Tequila Bar in Fairfield (there’s one in New Haven, too) serves a splendid Spicy Passion Fruit Margarita, blending jalapeno-infused tequila, passion fruit, Triple Sec and fresh lime. The tableside guacamole makes for a good share.
- In South Norwalk, the venerable Match serves a drink highly recommended by ctbites.com – The Rathbone. This is a frothy combination of Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, juice of cucumber and fresh basil, squeezed lime juice and Japanese Sencha Green Tea simple syrup. For bites, everyone seems to like the Bacon & Mozzarella.
- Escape to Key Largo without leaving Connecticut at l'escale restaurant at Delamar Greenwich Harbor. The Key Largo is made with the finest ingredients, including Uncle Val's Botanical Gin, Giffard Creme de Mure (blackberry), fresh lemon juice, and a Prosecco topper with lemon oil.
- Give a toast to history with Custer's Last Stand at Delamar Southport’s Artisan Restaurant. Custer’s Last Stand is a delicious blend of Hophead Vodka, Downeast Cider, fresh lemon juice, St. Elizabeth All Spice Dram and orange peel.
And if you’re looking for a place to stay right nearby or even within walking distance, try the West Lane Inn in Ridgefield, The Inn at Longshore, which is close to Westport and Fairfield, or the Delamar Hotel in the Southport section of Fairfield.
We’ve heard the Rum Runner at the ever-popular Penny Lane Pub is not to be missed. Grab some Prince Edward Island mussels to complete the nautical theme.
Martini fans report that Monaco’s Ristorante shakes up a Grade-A Espresso Martini. (On the side, the broccoli rabe and sausage is authentically Italian.)
In the fall, try the Apple Old Fashioned at Winvian Farm, in which you’ll find Bushel & Barrel bourbon, bitters, sugar, nutmeg, a splash of soda and apple slices. Consider luxuriating in the lobster risotto at the same time.
The Irons Restaurant and Bar at the Hilton Mystic features The Heart of Mystic, a refreshing blend of Hendrick’s gin, watermelon, citrus and cucumber.
Sharable, house-made and bottled cocktails are available at NIXS, where the Bad Wolf combines Redemption Rye Whiskey, honey simple syrup, fresh orange and Meyer’s lemon juice. The “Shareables” menu includes tuna tartare tacos.
Also in Hartford, you can go for a real autumn-in-Connecticut treat with the mulled cider at 50 Elm Café & Spirits, which has its own special recipe. For an interesting contrast, dig into a plate of Caribbean hummus. You might want to get there for happy hour and the Bacon Shrimp Tempura and Baltimore Shrimp.
And let’s keep in mind that Max’s Oyster Bar in West Hartford is well regarded for its cocktails (not just shrimp!).