The holidays are upon us, and it’s the perfect time to reconnect with friends and family. Few things can put you in the spirit of the season like meeting loved ones and catching up over cocktails. These Connecticut spots are outstanding gathering places, offering a festive atmosphere along with mixed drinks that are perfect for savoring on a winter day.
78 Main St.
Centerbrook, CT 06049
Gabrielle’s, situated inside of an old Victorian house, has made a name for itself with creative dishes cooked with ingredients from local farms. Its entrees are rivaled in quality by its cocktails, many of which will instantly put you in the holiday spirit. Consider its Old-Fashioned Fig Cocktail made with fig puree and basil hayden or the Raspberry Mojito with fresh mint. Gabrielle’s also mixes a number of winter martinis, notably its Gingharita with Sauza Tequila Gold Sour, Grand Mariner and ginger juice and one made from Godiva’s chocolate-raspberry vodka and chocolate liqueur.
30 Spring St.
Stamford, CT 06901
Downtown Stamford is always busy in December with people completing their Christmas shopping or catching holiday shows at the Palace or Avon theaters. In between errands, you may find them at the increasingly popular Italian restaurant and lounge Bar Rosso. There you can indulge in its Chocolate Martini combining vanilla vodka with double chocolate and coffee liqueur or perhaps a Spiked Apple flavored with spiced rum and cinnamon whiskey. Bar Rosso will also be happy to host your family or company holiday party in one of its private rooms.
437 Main St.
Middletown, CT 06457
This Middletown restaurant takes its name from an Italian word meaning “to lure,” and its drinks will definitely hook you. Try the rich Thin Mint martini made with Stoli Vanilla vodka, Creme de Menthe and Godiva chocolate. Other tempting specialties include the Caramel Latte that combines Pinnacle whipped cream and espresso vodkas with tres leches, and the Mudtini with its blend of Van Gogh double espresso vodka, Amaretto and Bailey’s Irish Cream. You’ll soon find out why Middletown residents can’t help but be lured in by Esca.
Related: Top Rum Cocktails In Connecticut
Comix at Foxwoods
350 Trolley Line Blvd.
Mashantucket, CT 06338
It’s good to relieve the stress of holiday shopping and preparations with some comic relief, and Comix is the perfect place to get it. The Foxwoods comedy club hosts everyone from young up-and-coming comedians to the top stand-ups working today. What should also help you unwind are Comix’s specialty cocktails like the Spiced Pear with Cinge Cinnamon Tequila and Smirnoff Pear. Or try a decadent dessert cocktail like the Candy Apple which adds Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka and Buttershots Liqueur. And if you’re ringing in the New Year, there are several drinks mixed with Korbul Brut Champagne.
800 Evergreen Way
South Windsor, CT 06074
If you get all of your shopping done at South Windsor’s Evergreen Walk, make sure to reward yourself at Sakura Garden. The Japanese steak house does so many things right from sushi to hibachi that it’s easy to overlook its impressive cocktails. The season is perfect for enjoying its Midnight Express, a blend of peppermint schnapps and Creme de Cocoa complete with peppermint stick. Another winter favorite is the Snow White, a combination of Godiva white chocolate liqueur, Ozeki Nigori sake, Absolut Orient Apple vodka, and white cranberry juice. Most of Sakura’s cocktails can also be ordered as martinis or bowls.
Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on Examiner.com.