Our Three Favorite Newport, RI Craft Cocktail Bars

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These spots are taking artisanal mixology to the next level.

A decade ago, if you walked into a bar and told the bartender, “I don’t know what I want. Make me something.” they’d likely punch you in the face (in their imagination) while telling you, through gritted teeth, that you need to ask for something specific.

Now, there’s a difference between simply tossing together variety of hooch from your mother’s liquor cabinet when you’re 16 and being a craft mixologist, just as there’s a difference between picking up a trumpet for the first time and making different noises with it…and jazz improvisation.

Following the craft beer trend in this country is the explosion of craft cocktails. Like “craft beer”, “craft cocktail” is a relatively subjective term…in many ways a “I know it when I see(/taste) it” kind of thing.

There are a few things to look for when determining whether you’re getting regular cocktails or something artisanal.

  • Jiggers
  • Citrus Peel twists
  • Bitters
  • FIRE!

Ryan Kennedy Fire

Of course, once you take a look at the cocktail list(assuming the bar has one), it should be readily apparent what grade you’re dealing with, especially if you see a lot of words you’re not familiar with like “Chartreuse”, “Aperol” and “Orgeat”.

What’s to like?

Craft cocktails tend to appeal to a more sophisticated palate than you’re run-of-the-mill stuff. Most typical mixed drinks are going to appeal to a 16-year-old girl…and they’re not expecting curry in their booze. It’s a more refined experience, like driving an M3 compared to that Mustang you had in high school.

These drinks are designed to be savored, which means they’re generally not a greatest/most-cost-effective way to get drunk. If you’re looking for the best ways to get botto, that will be the subject of another, upcoming post.

Without further ado, let’s check out the first bar…

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