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Entries in Cocktails (120)


Happy Hour at Basso Café in Norwalk

Basso Café exudes an easy intimacy that comes with a chef-owned restaurant whose reassuring presence is felt both in and out of the kitchen. Chef Renato Donzelli has built a loyal following of customers at his Norwalk restaurant who come for both his creative Italian-meets-South American dishes, as well as his charming hospitality and boundless energy. And now, they are coming for a newly added bar menu and cocktail list.

During a recent renovation, Basso Café invested in a new bar area with seating for about twelve, and a special menu of cocktails and snacks, thanks to a hard-won liquor license after eight years in business. Although you can still BYOB, Chef Donzelli has crafted a happy hour menu that can be enjoyed Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 6 pm, as well as a mini happy hour from 11 to 12 noon each day for lunch.

A self-described “hot blooded Italian” who grew up in Venezuela, Donzelli focuses his creative energy on a menu that blurs the lines between dishes from those two countries, creating his own unique cuisine. “I start from the back,” is how Chef Donzelli explains his approach to his menu. The new cocktail and wine list are meant to compliment the food, and long-time diners will be rewarded with a solid selection of shaken and stirred, classic and contemporary cocktails, as well as wine and beer.

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Behind The Bar: 3 Winter Cocktails from Mixologist Adam Patrick 

Egg Nog (Jeffrey Morgenthaler version)

Behind The Bar is a new column from bartender Adam Patrick who has graced the bars of venues such as Walrus & Carpenter, Luxe, Match and Can Tiin. He will explore trends, recipes and the cocktail culture from both the front as well as behind the bar. 

One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is, “I won’t tell the story the way it happened, I’ll tell it the way I remember it.” It’s from the late-nineties film adaptation of Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. Ethan Hawke delivers the line in the opening monologue.

There’s something about nostalgia that adds a touch of humanity to our lives. The real world, the world we exist in day to day, can be overwhelming and unforgiving. Take your job, your family obligations, traffic jams, mortgage, credit card bills, your dog destroying your new carpet, and view it all in aggregate, and things can steam roll out of control quickly. And yet, when we look at the past, we find it difficult to remember the mundane, the run-of-the-mill, even though those experiences dominate our lives. Sure, we can generally recall tragedy, or loss, but more than not it’s memories of our childhood, or a long lost love, or a favorite pet, that we gaze back at longingly.

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Cask Republic in South Norwalk Reinforces a Resurging Neighborhood's Destination Dining 

Washington Street, the epicenter of South Norwalk and a resurging dining scene, welcomes another new dining experience worth exploring. Cask Republic is a modern take on the communal tavern, now open at 99 Washington Street, formerly occupied by The Gingerman. The new restaurant delivers on its tavern promises with chef-driven comfort food and drink – American at its culinary core with an abundance of global influences.

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Sayulita: Standout Mexican in South Glastonbury

Step through the door at Sayulita in South Glastonbury, and, right away, you’ll see: this is no ordinary Mexican restaurant. Clean and simple, with lots of wood and natural light, Sayulita features what’s fresh and local from the farms of South Glastonbury to the shores of Stonington. A poster of a surfing contest with a sugar skull, a thick turquoise glass bottle for the water that’s brought to your table. On my last visit, ’50s music played in the background. It’s casual. It’s comfortable. It’s a departure from most Mexican you’ve ever had before. Named after the seaside surfing town north of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is the most recent restaurant endeavor of Adam and Bill Driggs, owners of 2Hopewell and Birch Hill Tavern. With Chef Van Hurd, of Hell’s Kitchen fame, at the helm, you’re in for a uniquely tasty adventure here.

Sometimes the most excellent feasts can be found at the beginning and end of the menu—appetizers and desserts. Add quality cocktails and out-of-the-ordinary tacos to round it out and what you’ve got is my favorite way to enjoy a meal at Sayulita.

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Can Tiin Opens in Bridgeport: Inspired Dishes with a Vietnamese Flair 

CTBites readers who don’t live in Bridgeport now have an excellent reason to drive and dine there with the opening of Can Tiin in the downtown area. The dishes at Can Tiin (pronounced “canteen”) lead with a Vietnamese influence, are based on French techniques, and incorporate other Asian flavors. This culinary panoply is deftly handled by Chef Brian Reilly, who explained, “We take traditional Vietnamese dishes and honor them, but allow ourselves the latitude to experiment and go out of the box a little. We continually challenge ourselves to push the envelope without getting cute or overly fussy.” The result is neither cute, nor fussy, but fun, inventive and tasty. (Read our opening announcement for details on the management team.)

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The Blind Rhino Sports Bar Opens in South Norwalk

When I hear “sports bar,” I think lots of big screen TVs, beers, burgers, wings, nachos, anything to go with my Jets or Giants jersey. The Blind Rhino, recently opened in South Norwalk on Main Street just north of Washington, is undoubtedly a sports bar, with 27 big screen TVs, shuffleboard, darts, and jerseys adorning the walls. At the same time, it has elevated the cuisine with impressive menu items, an array of craft beers and a variety of whiskeys.  Many sports bar staples are still on the menu, but with a twist!

Owner /Chef Jamie Pantanella oversees the cuisine.  He has worked in restaurants and catering all over New England for the past 22 years. His most recent restaurant experience includes The Brewhouse and Gingerman SoNo.  At The Blind Rhino, Pantanella hones his years of experience to offer his “highlight reel.”

The menu is not large, but each item is thoughtful and flavorful.  “While having sections like wings, appetizers, soups, and sandwiches seem to be par for the course, having items like Togareshi Dry Rub Wings, Cider Braised Pork Belly Sliders, and a Sliced Ribeye Cheese Steak is exactly how we want to take the dining experience to the next level,” says manager Casey Dohme.

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Holiday Themed Pop Up Cocktail Lounge Opens Tonight: Miracle on Wall Street in Norwalk

Amp up the festivities this holiday season by visiting Miracle on Wall Street, a pop up holiday themed cocktail bar opening in Norwalk’s Wall Street neighborhood on December 9th. What to know before you go? This is NOT your average pop up bar. The concept began in New York City last year when Miracle on 9th Street transformed an East Village lounge into a brilliantly kitschy holiday hangout. Guest mixologists, custom holiday glassware, tons of tinsel, and cocktails with names like “ The Reindeer’s Revolt,” created a uniquely fun drinking experience. Guests went crazy for the concept and now there are four pop up locations in NYC, DC, and as of today, CT. 

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Holiday Recipe: Autumn Old Fashioned by La Zingara in Bethel

Although we all love the Thanksgiving holiday, there comes a time in any family gathering where one simply requires a cocktail or two. La Zingara in Bethel is here to help you in your time of need with a classic drink. Their Autumn Old Fashioned cocktail recipe will drown out any trying relative, and just make the dinner that much better.  

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Sexy Cocktails Debut @ NoMa Social Lounge in New Rochelle

For decades, the locally owned Radisson in New Rochelle has been a beloved pillar of the lower Westchester community.  But sadly, the matriarch was getting a bit long in the tooth. So the family transformed her vibe from venerable to vogue, a Manhattan style Boutique Hotel.  

As one of the designers of that refurb, Colby Brock, the Food and Beverage manager, named the new restaurant and lounge NoMa Social (NoMa stands for “North of Manhattan” and bears no alliance with the renowned Noma in Copenhagen).  Colby brought in highly regarded Executive Chef Bill Rosenberg, (, Barcelona) to upgrade the kitchen, and she recently hired 32 year old Mike DeFalco as the Bar and Nightlife Manager.  A major mission: inject some hip to a ho-hum bar menu.

NoMa’s splashy lounge – replete with zebra stripes and a funky, deep house/electro trance playlist -- has become a hot spot for a young, party and pick-up crowd.  To add to the jump, DeFalco has set about creating a cavalcade of sexy craft cocktails.  


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Kawa Ni Announces New Happy Hour And Cocktail Menu

Kawa Ni, Westport's izakaya by the river, has been both a haven of Japanese-inspired food and a boisterous drinking scene since its opening just over a year ago. The party is about to start earlier, as Bill Taibe and co. have announced the debut of their new happy hour menu of food and drink at the Bridge Square, starting now.

Izakayas are small taverns which cater to the occasionally raucous after work set in Japan, so the new menu, with its focus on a limited number of small bar bites backed up by almost twice as many drinks, is right on theme. The prices of food and drink alike are sharply reduced for the happy hour, which runs Tuesday -Friday 4-6PM. 

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