Herd, Middletown's new steak and fish house, gets experimental with its food menu (pan-seared tuna with balsamic-macerated berries and charred green chickpeas, five-spice calamari with a trio of exotic aiolis) but its cocktails stick with tradition.
"If you look at the names … these are all old-school drinks," says co-owner David Shapiro. There's a mule, mixing the classic combination of vodka, ginger beer and lime; a Hemingway daiquiri-style drink with rum, grapefruit, lime and Luxardo maraschino liqueur; and a Herd Old-Fashioned with Four Roses bourbon. The Mayor is Herd's take on a Man About Town, with Litchfield Distillery bourbon, Punt e Mes and Dolin Rouge.
Litchfield Distillery's gin also appears in a Negroni with Luxardo Bitter and Dolin Rouge. Another local spirit, Westford Hill Distillery's Rime vodka, is the base of Alli's Ginger Martini (named for co-owner Patrick Ganino's wife) with King's Ginger liqueur and fresh lemon.
Other drinks present a spin on tradition, like a fizz with trendier cucumber and elderflower flavors, a Prohibition-era Bee's Knees with gin and lavender-honey simple syrup and the Herd Sour, featuring High West double rye and lemon juice with a red wine float. Cocktails are $8 to $10.
Herd's owners wanted drinks that "[complemented] the food in a lot of ways," Shapiro says. "A little bit of sweet, a little bit of bitter, a little bit of interest, a little bit of fascination, it makes it fun."
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