Grab the Gold

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Okay, so you’re out and about most nights of the week. In fact, you’re practically responsible for the popularity of the West Side. Work towards this medal if you want to. Or don’t. After all, you’re not the type who likes being told what to do.

Re-Think Beer
You drink flights; you visit breweries; you order beers that your co-workers have never heard of. Is there nothing that you haven’t tried? Murphy’s Law (2 George St., Pawtucket. 724- 5522) has five tables that feature two 360-degree swiveling taps; they work on the gas pump mentality – you pay for what you pour. Each table features Guinness plus either Harp, Smithwick’s, Blue Moon, Narragansett or Harp Shandy. Julian's (pictured below) offers beer dinners at which food is paired specifically with craft brews, and special events where brewery reps are on-site. Bob Kaiser of Founders Brewery was on hand in March as they tapped KBS, the rare and in-demand 11% breakfast stout that’s only brewed once per year.

Skype with Winemakers
Back in the Stone Age (aka prior to 2003), the only way to chat with a Chilean winemaker or an Italian estate owner was to visit their respective countries. Enter Skype. At Bottles Fine Wine you can taste wine while discussing its flavor notes and legs with the person who made it... regardless of where in the world he is. Each wine is listed with its suggested food pairing. Conveniently, Eastside Marketplace is next door.

Try Whiskey-Plus
While living in England, I discovered bars that offered flights of vodka; I was in heaven. Here in Rhode Island, that’s much harder to come by. However, LJ’s BBQ serves whiskey flights, which works for me. LJ’s Flight of Bourbons is a tasting of four of your choice from a menu including 95 Rye, Makers 46, Bulleit, Blantons, Eagle Rare, Knob Creek, Basil Hayden, Death’s Door and more. For just $17 you can sip, compare and discover. The owner makes a killer sweet potato pie, which pairs well with a whiskey-laden Manhattan. Stop in on a Saturday for BBQ 'n Blues night.

Drink Local Booze and Beer
You already drink Rhode Island’s own Sons of Liberty Uprising Whiskey and Revival Brewing’s Saison. That doesn’t mean I can’t encourage you to drink them more often. The Locals serves a ginger whiskey drink with Uprising, orange bitters and ginger beer. The American serves Uprising too, along with the best damn Buffalo Pork Wings I’ve ever tasted. If Revival brewmaster Sean Larkin drives you to drink, head to The Avery and order one of his hoppy creations. Dusk also keeps Revival on tap. Larkin’s Dry Irish Stout is delicious.

Learn the Art of Mixology
Maybe you manned the bar at a frat party once upon a time, but mixing gin and juice does not a bartender make. Leave that to Snoop Dogg. Tini offers monthly mixology classes that will start up again in September. They’re theme-based and cost $50, which includes food and the four drinks you’ll learn how to make. While you’re there, try a Frozen Tini made with Russian Standard Vodka. The glass is incredibly teeny, making for uber-funny Facebook photos. Go the traditional route via the Professional School of Bartending. You’ll be mixing cocktails like a pro in no time.

Try a Craft Cocktail with Unusual Ingredients
Elevate your cocktailing – yes, it’s a verb. The Dorrance just unveiled a new drink menu featuring the Salted Rye, made with Redemption Rye, Amaro Montenegro, Zucca Rhubarbaro, Dolin Blanc, salt and two types of bitters – angostura and orange. Adding salt to the drink changes the taste of the bitters. Cook & Brown Public House has a seasonally changing drink menu and features a special cocktail each day. The Taylor Made contains scotch, Jenever, Benedictine, Montenegro, orange bitters, angostura bitters, a barspoon of Laphroaig and a lemon twist. All of this is served over a big rock of hand-carved ice. It’s a thing of beauty.

Go the Distance

Try whiskey plus heartburn at the Red Fez (49 Peck St., 272- 1212): Pair a whiskey drink with poutine. Served late, it’s smothered in house-made chourico gravy.

Take your craft beer habit on the road at Nikki’s Liquors: Mix a six and take it to go. They carry Grey Sail, made in Westerly.

Drink your dinner at Los Andes: Their Pisco Sour contains egg whites: sounds gross, but tastes lovely.

bars, providence, happy hour, drinks, drinking, cocktails, beer, wine, downtown,

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