Welcome to the first installment of a new weekly feature, “Around R.I.” Every Thursday we’ll highlight an interesting aspect of life in Rhode Island, from dining to parks to museums to shopping and more. Tell us what you’d like us to check out by sending an e-mail to RInews@globe.com.
Next week: We’ll review walking, hiking, running, and biking trails around the state, unless rabid runner Ed Fitzpatrick trips over a tree root, in which case we’ll review vending machines in urgent care facilities.
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PROVIDENCE -- The sun was beating down mid-afternoon, and a breeze was blowing like a hot breath across the Providence River, but my friend and I were sipping strawberry basil gimlets that we’d poured over two small tubs of ice.
We watched the sailboats on the water, enjoyed cocktails handcrafted by expert bartenders, served in makeshift containers for a quick picnic. For one lazy evening, life didn’t seem quite so crazy.
Amid the cloud of restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a silver lining: Drinks-to-go. After starting with takeout beer and wine in March, by early May cocktails were allowed as well. They’re so popular that the Rhode Island Hospitality Association is lobbying the state to make them permanent.
There are a few rules: Restaurants and bars can sell up to 72-ounce mixed drinks that have to be in sealed containers, and they can’t contain more than 9 ounces of alcohol. Some sell the cocktails in humble plastic containers or bottles sealed with plastic wrap and masking tape. Others show attention to detail, with artistic labels on the bottled cocktails and special garnishes. Many have designed their own drink mixes so customers can play bartender at home.
Here’s a sample of places offering cocktails-to-go. Want another round? E-mail me at email@example.com to add your favorite place and its signature drink to the list.
The Eddy Bar, 95 Eddy St. / 401-831-3339 / http://www.eddybar.com/ Cocktails and mixers, from classics to creatives, such as the Green Gardens: basil vodka, green pea, mint, lime, soda, and a spritz of green chartreuse. Also, a “bartender’s choice” option -- make a suggestion and discover a new drink.
Red Stripe Restaurant, 465 Angell St. / 401-437-6950 / www.redstriperestaurants.com Featuring their Famous Super-Sized Sangrias for takeout; a 16 oz. batch for $10 or 32 oz. for $20. Just add ice.
Hot Club, 25 Bridge St. / 401-226-6764 / www.hotclubprov.com This bar, with its riverfront view, is a great place on a hot day, or any day. But if you must eat and run, the most popular cocktails-to-go are the margaritas.
Trinity Brewhouse, 186 Fountain St. / 401-452-2337 / Trinitybrewhouse.com Trinity brews just one batch of its Belgian Strawberry Ale, and the new batch released on Tuesday was made with 320 pounds of strawberries. It was dry-hopped with lemon balm, chocolate mint, and pineapple sage, and features Belgian spice notes and a sweet strawberry aroma. Now sold in cans.
The Dorrance, 60 Dorrance St. / 401-521-6000 / thedorrance.com This weekend features two frozen drinks -- a pomegranate margarita and passionfruit sangria -- and signature cocktails. The most popular are the Up and Cumber, made with Crop organic cucumber vodka, St. Elder, lime, simple syrup, and ginger beer, and the Kentucky Campfire, made with mellow corn whiskey, cinnamon, lemon, orange, Angostura bitters, tonic, and Laphroaig.
Courtland Club, 51 Courtland St. / 401-227-9300 / courtlandclub.com The Mother Theresa (which should be spelled Teresa) is the bar’s most popular cocktail, made with mezcal, beet juice, cassis, raspberry and Campari -- smoky and very juicy, with a vivid raspberry flavor. The drinks are topped with edible gold stars, which are packaged in tiny ziploc bags for take-home cocktails. The Tony is made with rum, espresso liqueur, cacao, vanilla, and cream, and comes in a jar with googly eyes, like a sweet and genuine people-pleaser. Check out its rotating “cocktails of the zodiac” for your sign. The Leo zodiac cocktail is bourbon, aperol, grapefruit liqueur, lemon, and edible gold in a cool bottle with a lion label.
Angelo’s Restaurant, 141 Atwells Ave. / 401-621-8171 / www.angelosri.com Pick up an individual 16 oz. pouch of homemade Frosé made with fresh strawberries and crisp rosé, or the signature red or white sangria, also served in a 16 oz. pouch to go. Or get enough to share with quarts of sangria or limoncello margarita to pour over ice. The Italian restaurant also sells its house red Burgundy wine with two old-fashioned jelly wine glasses and customizable six-packs of beer.
Pan e Vino Ristorante, 365 Atwells Ave. / 401-223-2230 / panevino.net This Italian restaurant’s most popular cocktails-to-go are the Prickly Pear Margarita, sangrias, and its orangecello.
Il Massimo Ristorante, 134 Atwells Ave. / 401-273-0650 / massimori.com This “new world” Italian restaurant offers cocktail kits to make your own at home. Or purchase the 16 oz or 32 oz. drinks to share, such as the strawberry basil gimlet or bee’s knees.
Broadway Bistro, 205 Broadway / 401-331-2450 / broadwaybistrori.com Featuring a variety of cocktails to go, including the Birds of Paradise: vodka, pineapple, cherry heering, and basil syrup.
Persimmon, 99 Hope St. / 401-432-7422 / persimmonri.com Try a Sparkling Cucumber Gimlet to go: Prairie organic cucumber vodka, lime, sugar, and Owen’s mint cucumber soda.
Dolores, 100 Hope St. / 401-409-2075 / dolorespvd.com Its craft cocktails are designed to complement its cuisine from the Mixteca region of Puebla and Oaxaca. Go for the margaritas and house michelada mix.
Plant City, 334 South Water St. / 401-429-2029 / Plant-city-PVD Offering cocktails and mocktails, all plant-forward, of course. Try the Jalisco Razorblade, with mezcal, cucumber, serranos, agave, and cayenne for a cool kick.
Nicks on Broadway, 500 Broadway / 401-421-0286 / nicksonbroadway.com Take out drink kits for two to four people, or order your own. The restaurant has frozen drinks, including an alcoholic frozen cold brew, and a variety of cocktails, including a pineapple chili margarita.
Brick Alley Pub and Restaurant, 140 Thames St. / 401-849-6334 / brickalley.com Their most popular to-go drinks are the mudslides -- traditional, strawberry, or chocolate banana -- with vodka, dark creme de cacao, and Baileys Irish Cream blended or on the rocks. The pub is also selling kits for mudslides and its Slow Train to Mazatlan frozen cocktail, which is Bacardi, peach brandy, fresh strawberries and bananas, to blend at home.
Surf Club, 337 Thames St. / 401-619-5701 / Surf Club Just in the first week, the restaurant’s spicy watermelon margarita made up nearly half of the to-go drink sales. It’s made in-house by juicing watermelons and Serrano peppers, then adding tequila, triple sec, and sour mix.
Perro Salado, 19 Charles St. / 401-619-4777 / perrosalado.com This Mexican restaurant is known for its margaritas. It uses fresh juices in its original margaritas as well as its specialty margaritas, such as the blood orange, spicy cucumber, cilantro jalapeno, passion fruit, prickly pear, and its summer hit, fresh watermelon. Drinks are sold in a bottle with a tamper-proof lid, and customers can get a free bag of ice to go.
Fluke Newport, 41 Bowens Wharf / 401-849-7778 / flukenewport.com Stake out your place along Ocean Drive with an Ocean Drive cocktail to go: Botanist gin, cucumber, lime juice, and mint.
Caleb & Broad, 162 Broadway / 401-619-5955 / calebandbroad.com Offering “quaratine cocktails” that make staying home a lot more fun. Featuring slushies, mudslides, and margaritas with combinations of sweet, fruity, and tart. The Real Keel has Fishers Island lemonade, Keel vodka, and wild berry puree.
Meritage, 5454 Post Road / 401-884-1255 / Meritageri.com Signature margaritas and sangrias all come with garnishes in 16 oz. mason glass jars.
Huck’s Filling Station, 4654 Post Road / 401-471-7170 / hucksfillingstation.com This restaurant calls itself “New England coastal with a Southern drawl,” and its cocktails do not disappoint. Offering mixers and a variety of classic cocktails to go.
Chomp Kitchen and Drinks, 440 Child St. (and a new location at 117 Ives St. in Providence) / 401-289-2324 / www.chompri.com Chomp is known for its inventive burgers and great beer selection, and now, its creative cocktails to go. Some of its signature cocktails include the lavender grapefruit gimlet, pineapple basil margarita, and pomegranate mezcal paloma.
Bywater Restaurant, 54 State St. / 401-694-0727 / Bywaterrestaurant.com The Walrus & Carpenter is a dirty martini made with gin, oyster, beach rose vermouth, and brine, like a taste of the seaside. While labels on the bottled cocktails-to-go feature original artwork, the bartender’s request option is a blank slate. Suggest some ideas for a drink, and the bartender will get creative. A request for a seasonal and summery drink, not too sweet, turned into a colorful cocktail of Industrious Spirit Co. vodka, summer berries, Thai basil, lemongrass, bitters, and citrus. It tasted like a summer day.
Chaska’s, 16 Midway Road / 401-537-7900 / Chaska-usa.com The hand-shaken cocktails, packaged in simple plastic bottles, are a perfect complement to the cuisine at this Indian restaurant in Garden City. Try the Tamarind Margarita over ice.
Angelo’s Palace Pizza, 133 Mendon Road / 401-728-3340 / angelospalacepizza.com Pick up 24 oz. containers of red sangria, strawberry peach sangria, stoli doli, and classic margaritas, cold and ready to go.
Antonio’s Pizza by the Slice, 727 East Ave. / 401-725-0808 / www.antoniospizza.com Serving up margaritas and sangria to go.
Shannon View Inn, 1901 Post Road / 401-732-0999 / Shannonviewri.com This Irish bar was selling drinks to go, but a new frozen slushy machine was a game-changer, says the bar’s owner. Pina coladas and Frosé were big sellers, and then bartender Courtney Zasada invented the Zsa Zsa -- half Pina Colada and half Frosé, topped with a luxardo maraschino cherry “straight from Italy.” Popular? “Sales have exploded!!!” says owner Jack Doherty. “We have sold over 100 in the last 7 days!!!” A hundred thirsty people can’t be wrong.