When it comes to cocktails, Cape and Islands restaurants go out of their way to dazzle. Whether it’s sweet, spicy or just plain refreshing, most eateries have signature cocktails or customer favorites. Here are some of our best bets.
If we’re talking signature drinks on Cape Cod, you can't get any better than a cocktail inspired by the region's signature flower. Several local restaurants will serve up their own hydrangea-inspired cocktails along the Hydrangea Festival Cocktail Trail during this year’s Cape Cod Hydrangea Fest, happening July 12-21. The trail is organized by Cape Cod Beer, which will offer a hydrangea-inspired brew of its own at the Hydrangea Fest kick-off party it hosts on Thursday, July 11th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. When you hit the trail, be sure to try the “Frozen Blue Hydrangerita” at the Cape Codder Resort's Grand Cru Wine Bar, a frozen mix of tequila, blue curacao, cranberry juice, and sour mix, topped with an edible orchid.
It would be hard to order a bad drink at The West End in Hyannis. The cool vibe of the interior (the restaurant calls it "glam meets speakeasy") sets the scene for creative entrees and equally original drinks made with house-made infused vodkas. For a refreshing treat on a hot summer day, try the West End G&T, made with Truro Dry Line Gin, Aromatic Fever Tree Tonic, fresh lime and cucumber.
The signature drink at the Brazilian Grill in Hyannis is the Caipirinha, the national drink of Brazil. The drink is made with cachaca, a liquor made from sugar cane, sugar and plenty of fresh lime juice and slices. It is available by the glass or pitcher and perfectly complements their wide assortment of wood fire rotisserie meats and hot and cold salad buffets.
For one of the best Bloody Marys you will ever taste, Quahog Republic in Falmouth and Onset is the place to go. The friendly pub is famous for Johnny Quahog’s Bloody Mary; they infuse the vodka in house in a large jar that sits right on the bar and is filled with sundried tomatoes, poblano peppers and elephant garlic. The drink comes with two giant olives and a strip of crisp bacon instead of a celery stalk.
Another fabulous place to sample cocktails is Anejo Mexican Bistro & Tequila Bar (locations in Falmouth and Hyannis). The obvious choice is a margarita, but with so many different versions it can be hard to choose. That said, the Mango Caliente is a winner. Made with Camarena Silver, Patron Citronage, mango, habanero, squeezed lime and agave with a spiced salt rim, it is sweet and spicy perfection.
Like rum? Stop by Truro Vineyards to sample their Twenty Boat Rum, which honors the bold spirit of independence embodied by the Cape Cod rum runners. Hand-crafted in Truro in their small-batch pot still, their spiced rum is steeped in locally sourced spices and their amber rum is aged in Chardonnay- soaked barrels. Local signature cocktails highlighting Twenty Boat Rum include The Lobster Pot in Provincetown’s Cape Cod Mule, featuring Twenty Boat Cape Cod Spiced Rum and ginger beer.
In addition to serving upscale contemporary American cuisine with an Asian flair, the Ocean House Restaurant in Dennis has a vibrant bar scene, both indoors and out at their waterside Beach Bar. They specialize in high-end martinis such as the Blackberry Patch, made with Grey Goose vodka, fresh blackberry puree, St. Germaine liqueur and fresh lemon juice.
On Martha’s Vineyard, the Dirty Banana at Nancy’s Restaurant in Oak Bluffs is the concoction to sample. Jamaican bartender Donovan mixes a half a banana with vodka, coffee liqueur, Baily’s Irish Cream, banana liqueur and his own personal secret ingredient in the blender. The drink is served in a glass lined with chocolate syrup and is topped with whipped cream and a cherry.
Enjoy your drink with a view at Topper’s at The Wauwinet, and pair it with some Retsyo oysters, cultivated just a few hundred yards away. Topper’s is noted for their 1,450-bottle wine list, but their cocktails are just as delish. The "Wauwinet-ini" – made with house Infused cranberry basil & pineapple prosecco vodkas – keeps us coming back for more.