Bar manager Nikki Simches and head mixologist Matt Landry came up with Cure's fall cocktail menu in the span of an evening. They sat down in the dining room with notebooks and floated ideas for three hours, jumping up often to mix, sample and taste until they had their final lineup. That's a testament to how well the two work together behind the Unionville bar.
"It's nice to have kind of the same palate and creativity level," Simches says. "If he thinks something works but he's like, 'I'm just missing something,' I can probably give it to him, and vice versa."
Landry calls Cure's bar program a "creative atmosphere," where mixologists are encouraged to experiment with unique flavors and techniques to produce one-of-a-kind drinks. He designed the House of Kings cocktail around green cardamom, for example, taking an unusual approach with Great King Street Scotch and Hennessey cognac as the base spirits and rounding out its clean, light profile with elderflower, lemon, ginger beer and orange fig bitters. The Smooth Landing features an unlikely pairing of green chile-flavored vodka, pear liqueur, hops and Stony Creek IPA, and several drinks feature Hartford Flavor Company's Wild Moon botanical liqueurs in flavors like lavender, rose and chai spice. Seasonal drinks feature flavors of fall, like Cold Cure with Knob Creek maple bourbon, fresh lemon, apple, cinnamon and cider and a pumpkin spice cocktail with real pumpkin puree, espresso and vanilla vodka.
Cure sets itself apart from the pack with other distinctive touches, like seven rotating flavors of housemade bitters (ginger, smoked cocoa, orange lavender) and glasses tinged with wood smoke. "We don't want to be like everyone else," Simches said. "A lot of industry people are happy to leave their bar for the night and then come here because they're not going to get something they have on their menu."
Cure, 55 Mill St., Unionville, is open Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 860-321-7821, curerestaurantct.com.