Craft Cocktails and the Art of Celebration

by Linda Post, Founding Director > Back to Blog 

What could be more celebratory than a glass of bubbly? Apropos for Paradise City, we think it’s a Craft Cocktail! What turns an ordinary drink into a Craft Cocktail? Some of the same elements that make the work of our exhibiting artists so special. It’s made with more care. It’s not boiler-plate, and the bartender is a little more passionate about getting it just right.

Manhattan Meets Northampton

The Directors have concocted two signature Craft Cocktails for this fall to go along with our theme of Life of the Party! … the Art of Celebration. Stop by the wine bar in the Festival Dining Tent for a Manhattan Meets Northampton. The addition of a Bada Bing Cherry and a dash of local maple syrup takes a traditional Manhattan to a whole new place. Or try the Paradise City Cosmopolitan. There are almost as many recipes for this wonderful cocktail as there are artists in the Paradise City Arts Festival. This variation relies less on sweetness and more on a subtle complexity that is both refreshing and packs a nice wallop.

To celebrate our special theme, the bar at the Festival Dining Tent and our local restaurant vendors have teamed up on a special promotion. Click here to get a coupon, order one of these two signature craft cocktails at the wine bar in the Festival Dining Tent, and get your coupon validated for $2 off at any of our food vendors.

And After the Show? Craft Cocktails at our Local Restaurants

We asked a few of our region’s expert mixologists to share with you the inspiration behind their favorite craft cocktails. After an enjoyable day at Paradise City Arts Festival, we encourage you to visit them, order a drink, and offer your own thoughts and recipes. You’ll tickle your taste buds and maybe learn something new. Sounds like the makings of a festive evening.

Blackberry Jam Martini at The Farm Table

Lauren, the bartender at The Farm Table in Bernardston, incorporated a distinctive artisanal blackberry jam into a signature craft cocktail for the restaurant. A lovely deep red hue characterizes this martini. Garnished with fresh raspberries and lime, served in an old-fashioned coupe glass, it is fruity—but not sweet.

Blackberry Jam Martini
Tito’s Vodka, Chambord, Fresh Lemon and Lime Juice, “Kringle Farm Table Blackberry Jam”

Eastside Grill Presents Pineapple Orange Basil Cocktail

The real artisanal touch to this bright cocktail is the locally made Thai Basil Bitters. The drink has herbal undertones, a citrusy base, and a slight kick from the ancho simple syrup. The soda water and fresh basil garnish make it super fizzy and festive. Presented by Jacob—it’s his favorite drink.

Pineapple Orange Basil Cocktail
Muddled Fresh Sliced Orange and Basil, Pineapple Vodka, Ancho Simple Syrup, Thai Basil Bitters and Soda Water

Pardon my Garden at Spoleto

Ruth, at Spoleto, is well known for her ultra-creative cocktails. For “Pardon My Garden,” arugula (what an unusual ingredient for a drink!) was her inspiration. Wireworks Gin is made in Boston with flavors of spruce tip, kumquat, juniper berry and angelica root. The rest of the components accent those flavors, with a bit of honey to sweeten the palate at the end.

Pardon My Garden
Wireworks Gin, Arugula, Cucumber, Fresh Lime, Chartreuse, Honey, Bitters

Orange Bitter-Man Manhattan at Alina’s

Steve, the popular bartender at Alina’s in Hadley, says that his signature cocktails “keep it simple, with a lot of the featured liquor and not too many extraneous ingredients.” This unusual take on a Manhattan is potent and slightly bitter, with fresh orange undertones and a gorgeous, glowing color.

Orange Bitter-Man Manhattan
Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Muddled Fresh Oranges, Gran Gala, Angostura Bitters, Dash of Orange Juice

Sierra Grille’s Tennessee Duel

“Smoky” is the dominant flavor in this deeply layered recipe. Devised by Sierra Grille’s bartender Arielle and named by George, it is by turns rich, bitter, malty, fresh and herbal. Gunpowder Rye is a small-batch whiskey made from local grains right here in New England.

Tennessee Duel
Gunpowder Rye, Campari, Aperol, Cognac, Fresh Lemon, Fresh Basil, Lagavulin Scotch Rinse.

Come see our Fall Northampton Special Exhibit ‒ Life of the Party!… the art of celebration as well as 250 juried artists at Paradise City Northampton October 7, 8 & 9. Click here to get a $2 discount dining coupon with a signature craft cocktail purchase. And buy tickets here for our upcoming show.