By Joshua Palmes
If you’re looking to unwind after a long day of work or catch up with friends, the state has no shortage of bars and restaurants serving creative, refreshing cocktails. Some of them, though, have become famous for a signature drink, one that regulars have come to know and love and recommend to new patrons. If you visit any of these Connecticut gathering places, here are the drinks you should ask for by name.
98 Washington St.
South Norwalk, CT 06854
With its ever-changing menu of dishes that use fresh local ingredients, Match is one of the true gems of South Norwalk. Another big reason for its success is Bar Manager Adam Patrick. The expert mixologist is a member of the U.S. Bartenders Guild and the man behind Match’s impressive cocktail list. His best creation is the Rathbone (named for the classic film actor Basil Rathbone) and features Uncle Val’s Botanical gin, Japanese Sencha green tea, cucumber and lime juice, and is topped off with a basil leaf.
Elm City Social
266 College St.
New Haven, CT 06510
Elm City Social has become New Haven’s most acclaimed new restaurant. Chef John Brennan has developed an exciting menu that updates popular standbys, and its mixologists have devised a number of unique cocktails. The one that has made the biggest impression on patrons is the Rubber Ducky – citra hop-infused gin, grapefruit, lemon, basil and sparkling water. And, yes, you will find a miniature rubber duck floating in your glass. Order one before or after attending a show at the Shubert Theater, located across from the Social.
120 Hebron Ave.
Glatonbury, CT 06033
Glastonbury’s Rooftop 120 is the largest rooftop bar in New England that is open all year round. No matter what time of year you visit, though, it will feel like summer if you’re sipping a Mango Mai Tai. Its signature cocktail is a blend of coconut rum, dark rum, triple sec, mango puree, amaretto, and pineapple and lime juice. If you don’t feel like sitting outside you may also enjoy the drink inside the bar’s new restaurant, Nosh 120.
Related: Top Bourbon Cocktails In Connecticut
15 Harbor Point Road
Stamford, CT 06902
The Latin bar and grill Paloma has become one of the most popular hangouts in Stamford’s Harbor Point neighborhood. One of the big draws is its inviting selection of craft cocktails. Paloma’s namesake drink combines Camarena Reposao tequila, grapefruit creme brulee nectar, grapefruit, lime and carbonated filtered water. You’ll especially savor it in the summer sitting on a couch on the spacious patio that overlooks the harbor, but the Paloma is satisfying any time of year.
116 Crown St.
New Haven, CT 06510
Soon to celebrate its tenth anniversary, this New Haven establishment named for its address has established itself as one of the finest cocktail bars in the state. John Ginnetti (who owns the bar with his wife Danielle) has concocted dozens of drinks for 116 Crown, but one that has really stood out is the 4th and Clyde. He mixes Hendrick’s gin, Maker’s Mark bourbon and St. Germain Elderflower liqueur with local honey and lime juice, and for a spicy kick, Salemme chili flakes. The cocktail is named for a canal in Scotland, where its gin originates.
Related: Top Mixologist Bars In Connecticut