Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cocktail Research in Boston

My new favorite cocktail at my new favorite bar
Three Boston hotel bars have been on my list to try for months. So when my oldest and dearest friend called up a few weeks ago and suggested we meet for a mid-week overnight of holiday shopping and cocktailing, I had a hotel booked before we hung up.

My secret to drinking on vacation when your kids are along for the ride is to find the nearest swanky hotel bar. Hotels are usually happy to accommodate guests of all ages, they realize not all of their clientele are single business travelers. If there's a restaurant on site they'll most likely have a kid friendly menu, just in case your youngsters don't consider cocktail olives an afternoon snack.

The Avery Bar at the Ritz Carlton, Boston
Only one out of the three on my list makes the cut for a return visit with Big & Little C&G (and Mr. C&G, of course). The Avery Bar at the Ritz Carlton is my new favorite on account of their amazing cocktail list and super stylish lounge area. Long leather couches and low tables cozy up to an alpine-chic fireplace, or for a little more privacy choose one of the rooms tucked away on the side.

Classic cocktails are the stars of the menu, there are 10 to choose from and I can attest to a very well made Vesper. Another five categories of cocktails will make your decisions very difficult, and I found a new favorite in the vodka based Blonde. Totally delicious and I'll share the recipe with you tomorrow as my cocktail du jour. I sent the ingredients off to Mr. C&G back at home base and he recreated it perfectly.

Side rooms make great hiding places
A short list of bar snacks will keep your kiddos occupied, plates of cheeses, charcuteries, cookies, and the always favorite cheese straws will easily tide your crew over until dinner. There's plenty of room to spread out across the tables so be sure to pack some activity books or coloring things so you can work in a little quality adult conversation with your other half. If you're looking for a more substantial meal the attached Artisan Bistro has gotten rave reviews for it's bistro style menu.

The Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons has always been a favorite hotel bar for a late afternoon snack with the boys, but I'm crossing it off my list. They've taken away a lot of the bar tables and added in more space for the dining room, which totally ruins the cocktail lounge vibe. M Bar at the Mandarin Oriental hotel was high on my list to try because of it's prime spot on Boylston Street (in an otherwise bar & restaurant free 'hood) but it too doesn't make the cut. Only three uncomfortable banquettes would be suitable for family seating, everything else is either at the bar or on high stools along the windows.

Our brief stay in Boston was a lot of fun, and I'm glad I got a lot of "research" done. Now if only I had an expense account to write off all those lovely cocktails. . .

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