Drinks, Recipes

Patriots’ Day Happy Hour: Hub Punch Cocktail

Hub Punch CocktailWe usually bring you a cocktail recipe on Friday, to kick off the weekend. But special circumstances inspired us to change our schedule.

If you live in New England, you know that tomorrow, Monday, April 20, is Patriots’ Day — the annual observance of the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord, which started the Revolutionary War. Since 1969, it’s been a holiday in Massachusetts and Maine (and a “special observance day” in Wisconsin, whatever that means).

For the last 118 years, it’s also been the day of the Boston Marathon.

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Drinks, Recipes

Friday Happy Hour: Spring Fling

Spring Fling, made with Cold River Gin

Spring Fling, made with Cold River Gin

April is, truly, the cruelest month.

Where we live in Maine, winter is clinging on by its fingernails, and that’s making me cranky. We had one day of 60 degree weather a week ago; when I took a break from my office at lunchtime, people were walking around downtown Portland with goofy smiles and blissed-out looks on their faces like they had just been released from an icy prison. Which they had.

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Drink Up, Drinks, Recipes

Friday Happy Hour: Negroni class at David’s KPT in Kennebunkport, Maine

David’s KPT may catch first-time visitors off guard, in a good way. One of chef David Turin’s group of Maine restaurants, it takes up almost the entire first floor of The Boathouse Hotel, which at high tide seems almost to float on the Kennebunk River. The decor is modern, chic and ever-so-slightly nautical, with cobalt blue banquettes, lots of polished wood and a curving wall of windows — a stunning setting for chef David Turin’s contemporary American food.

It’s a swanky place, no doubt, but the mood here is down-to-earth and 100 percent Maine — a welcome dichotomy personified by head bartender Joel Souza.

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Recipes, Starters & Snacks

How to make great grilled octopus at home

Cukolds Lighthouse, Southport, ME

Fresh octopus photographed by Ted Axelrod for “Gourmet Mexican Kitchen” by Shannon Bard (Page Street Publishing, 2015)

In Northern New Jersey, where we lived until we moved permanently to Maine two years ago, some of our favorite restaurants were Greek. At Oceanos, Taverna Mykonos, Axia, and the short-lived but wonderful Nisi Estiatorio, we always ordered the grilled octopus, because like the keftedes (lamb meatballs) and galaktoboureko (a dessert of custard with a crispy phyllo crust), it was something we would never try to make at home.

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Drinks, Recipes

Friday Happy Hour: Barbados Rum Punch

Barbados punch

In 1981, I spent a summer working in Key West. Way back then, the “Conch Republic” was still a blissfully ribald, tropical version of the Wild West, with treasure divers searching for sunken Spanish galleons, a raging gay party scene, and regular landings by the Coast Guard of “square grouper” — trashbag-wrapped bales of pot abandoned in the ocean by smugglers.

I had a room at a B & B, where I worked as the chambermaid and set out breakfast in the garden each morning. At night, I wore a batik-print dress and served drinks on the deck overlooking the Gulf of Mexico at The Pier House, at the time the only hotel at the end of Duval Street, the main thoroughfare of the (then) sleepy downtown.

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