Cocktails that Say Summer on the Cape — and some fun places to drink them!

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Cape Cod Entertaining

Cape Cod Entertaining is about knowing where to go and what to order when friends and family come to visit.  We like to sit at the bar, so a bartender that not only is fun but has creative ideas for new cocktails is always high on our list.   If you really want to be entertained, take the tour we took this week in search of the great summer cocktails and the bartenders who craft them on Cape Cod! For those new to my column, I’m the GM here at CCB Media and I love to entertain with my grill-man husband, Stephen.  I assigned myself the best second job possible: writing about entertaining.

From Wellfleet to Woods Hole, bartenders are mixing summer cocktails that look and taste as refreshing as a dive into an ocean wave on a hot humid Cape day. I decided to see what they are mixing and suggesting at a variety of popular restaurants on the Cape.

We started at Bocce in Wellfleet. The Italian grille features classic Italian dishes and some new modern favorites, an ample wine list, craft beers, a European Garden and, of course, a bocce court. At the bar, Joe Vanacore and Allie Mack are serving up some delicious summer drinks to enjoy at the bar or on the restaurant’s outdoor patio. We slurped down a Bocce-tini – a mixture of blood orange juice (so Italian!), Stoli vodka and imported lemoncello. Delicious! We also sampled a White Beach Cosmo, (St. Germaine’ elderflower liqueur, Triple sec, Tito’s vodka and white cranberry juice, garnished with three fresh cranberries.) Heaven.

In Hyannis, we checked in with Marissa Noble. This talented bartender is also co-owner of Embargo on Main Street along with her husband David. Embargo is where folks meet after work and where they come to play at night. Live music and/or DJs keep the place energized and a huge U-shape bar makes room for many revelers.

Embargo specializes in martinis and tapas, and I was expecting something interesting from the Nobles. Marissa was quick with an idea she’s been working on at home… popsicles! Not the kind you give to your kids…but a frozen solid mix of Bacardi white rum and Sprite and simple syrup…what could be better on a hot day?   Another most lovely presentation is her Lavender Martini made with Bulldog Gin, and a lavender infused simple syrup.  Details for both in the gallery.  Both are delicious with Tapas and tell Marissa we said Hi!

Rolling on down the road we come to the bustling Mashpee Commons and a longtime favorite in the area, Siena. Siena is named for a town in Italy where the people gather twice a year for the biggest feast you’ve ever seen. A dominating photo print of the event hangs over the bar and it just sets the tone for a feast you will be sure to enjoy!  Live well, eat well and be social is their adage.

Melissa Jankowski is the general manager of Siena, which is owned and operated by Graham Silliman since the early 2000s. Melissa had her staff stir up some delicious sangria, both red and white, with fresh fruit.  It’s delicious with their Roman style brick oven pizza.  A sweet-and-sour Raspberry Lemon Drop martini is a wonderful beginning to any offering but I’m thinking for summer a great start for the Tuscan salad.  Cocktails that not only look good and taste good, they look like summer!

We’re heading toward Woods Hole now, but not without a stop at Oysters Too.  A Falmouth neighborhoods’ favorite for many years, Oysters Too owner Bob Kogut and staff serve up great seafood, steak and prime rib that keep the regulars and newcomers happy year round.

Doug and Jackie handle the bar and when asked for their favorite summer refreshers, Sangria comes up again, but this time with a twist… blueberries and lemon.  “We can’t keep the pitchers filled!” said Doug.

Jackie suggests the frozen pomegranate daiquiri dusted with delicious and crunchy pomegranate seeds. Its ice cold and just a little tart; like drinking a delicious sorbet. Another nice touch at Oysters? A piano player performs evenings giving the dining room a most entertaining feel for your next dinner or family gathering.  Recipes are in the photo gallery!

Now it’s all the way to Woods Hole for our final two summer drink spots. For those Outer Cape folks that never make it to Falmouth – never mind Woods Hole — this is one of the most interesting spots on the Cape. (Admitted bias, I am a Falmouth gal.) Woods Hole is jagged point that juts into Vineyard Sound with a bustling ferry terminal (gateway to MV), a harbor and an overall Cambridge feel that comes from the scientists working at WHOI and Marine Biology Lab. It’s a cross between MIT and Harvard Square with art galleries, unique shops, theater and homemade baked goods. Oh, and for the kids, an Aquarium too.

The restaurants are fun and loaded with locals and tourists this time of year. Shuckers is the coolest little eatery with a fun bar, great seafood and tables on Eel Pond, home to the locals’ power boats and sail boats. Protected by a drawbridge, Eel pond is a beautiful backdrop for dinner. In fact, at Shuckers the best place to sit is right on the dock! Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, you only have a small window to check in with Kevin Murphy and his wife Karen, the owners who’ve been serving their guests for 35 years.

Shucker’s as the name might suggest is very casual and a great place to bring the family or visitors with its unique location. When we asked Kevin for a couple of summer drink favorites he showed us a bunch and they all reflect the inspiration he gets from traveling to the Caribbean.

The Shucker’s Smash is a blend of vodka, dark rum (floats), and fresh-squeezed orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon, and grenadine, delicious and it’s their signature drink. Kevin’s secret: Squeezing fresh fruit for cocktails right at the bar. You might spot a celebrity here too! Guy Fieri has cooked with Kevin and has promised to come back this summer, maybe with his friend Tom Brady?

The Landfall is a treasure. Built by owner David Estes, The Landfall celebrates 70 years serving up family dinners, hosting special occasions and welcoming visitors by the thousands (did I mention it’s right on the water next to the MV ferry?)  An outdoor patio and decks to watch the boats are added attractions!

It rocks old school Cape Cod buoys, lobster traps and nets but the vibe is young and cool with a vibrant bar scene and live bands on weekend nights. Young and cool would also describe the bartender force. They are moving and moving fast most days and nights.

Jenna Kelley McNamara is one of the bar managers and it was no surprise to me she suggested some interesting new summer drinks. The Deep Donkey is a twist on a Moscow Mule, using Deep Eddy lemon vodka and ginger beer, super quenching and delicious.  I was thinking this would be delicious with Asian food…and it’s also delicious with the Landfall cod bites.

Next Jenna shook up her namesake drink, the St. Jenna. A yummy blend of tequila, St. Germaine and fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit juice. Sweet plus sour is fantastic!

I have to admit that it reminds me of my own concoction that I created for my son Matt’s wedding rehearsal dinner. Appropriately named, The Public Garden (they were engaged there,) it features Tito’s vodka, with a splash of St. Germaine and lemon juice, shaken with fresh basil and served up in a martini glass. A summer favorite at our house in Falmouth.

Fire up the swordfish, Stephen, I invited a few friends! Cheers!

All drink recipes can be found in the photo gallery.  To find the locations of each of these restaurants I’ve mentioned above, use the below graph!

~Bev Tilden

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