Cocktail Hour: Signature Drinks on the Cape

From the 2016 edition of Truly Orleans

Like the piña colada in the Caribbean or the mint julep in the South, certain drinks and cocktails immediately recall their birthplaces.

Cape Cod also has its share of signature libations, and what may spring to mind first for many is the Cape Codder, whose traditional recipe is a simple blend of vodka and cranberry juice, though many establishments put their own spin on this classic. Captain Linnell House, for one, sources local cranberries for its Cape Codders.

But the innovations don’t stop there, especially in Orleans, where creativity in food and drink is the order of the day and a range of delectable concoctions have taken their place among the uniquely Cape Cod-style drinks that draw repeat visitors.

Let’s raise a glass to the following potent potables. Warning – DO try this at home.

Guapo’s Tortilla Shack
Staples Plaza,

Famed for their fish tacos, served with lime sauce, fresh guacamole and house-made chips, Guapo’s specializes in casual Baja-style fare as well as favorites like California-style burgers and the signature Mexican Street Corn grilled on the cob. Also popular at Guapo’s? Their amazing drinks. Here are the House-Made Watermelon Margarita and Roxy:

HouseMade Watermelon Margarita
1.5 oz. Top-Shelf Tequila (we use Espolon Blanco)
5 oz. Triple Sec
3 oz. Housemade Sour Mix (can also be replaced with store-bought)
3 oz. Watermelon Agua Fresca (recipe below)
Garnish: Sugar, Watermelon triangle OR fresh lemon wheel

Fill a 16 oz. pint glass with ice. Pour ingredients above into the glass and over ice. Transfer into a shaker and shake very well. Garnish margarita glass with lime juice and sugar and transfer watermelon margarita for serving.

Watermelon Agua Fresca (“Fresh Water”)
1 Watermelon (approx. 6 qts of pulp)
Water (equal parts to watermelon)
Approx 1.5 cups sugar
Fresh-squeezed lime juice to taste (approx. ¾ cup)

Remove rind and roughly dice watermelon. Transfer to large graduated bowl or pot. After measuring the amount of watermelon, measure out the same quantity of water. Add to watermelon. With large stick blender, blend watermelon and water until smooth. Add sugar to taste. Note: depending on ripeness of watermelon, more or less sugar will need to be added, so start with smaller quantities of sugar until preferred taste is achieved. Add lime juice and blend again. Sift watermelon mixture into China cap to remove the watermelon pulp. Usually 2-3 times so that juice still has some pulp but overall is not thick.

1½ oz. 1800 Silver
¾ oz. Agave Nectar
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
2 Strawberries
5 Cilantro Leaves
Garnish: Lime Wheel

Muddle syrup, lime, strawberries, and cilantro. Add ice, tequila, and shake well. Strain over fresh ice in a tall Mason jar. Garnish with lime wheel.

Orleans Waterfront Inn
3 Old County Road,

Dating back to 1875, the Orleans Waterfront Inn captures the charm of Old Orleans yet remains beautifully updated with a outdoor waterfront seating, restored lobby, elegant guest rooms and a dining room overlooking Nauset Harbor and boasting fresh seafood, meat and vegetarian options and gluten-free selections.

The Summer Berry Sangria is a tasty, refreshing, accompaniment on those long summer days.

Orleans Inn Summer Berry Sangria
2 pkg. Frozen Berries
12 oz. Sour Mix
1 Magnum White Zinfandel
2 c Pineapple Juice
1 l. Ginger Ale
Add all ingredients to a large container and stir until combined.
Fill wine glass ¾ full with ice.  Ladle in sangria mixture, making sure to get a few berries in the glass. Garnish with a small strawberry on the glass.

Jailhouse Tavern
28 West Road,

Yes, the building now housing one of Orleans’ most popular restaurants actually was a jail of sorts back in the day—the local constable used it as a Saturday night lockup for bootleggers.

Today, drinks flow freely from the restaurant’s handsome oak bar as diners savor an eclectic menu of fresh seafood and traditional New England fare.

A year-round favorite of locals and summer tourists alike, the Huckleberry Fizz is a twist on the Cape Codder, with a taste of Idaho’s famous huckleberries and a touch of bubbly and lemon.

Huckleberry Fizz
1 1/4 oz 44 North Huckleberry Vodka,
1 1/4 oz Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice
1 oz Lemonade
Float of LaMarca Prosecco

Serve on the rocks in a mason jar, garnished with a fresh lemon wedge

Captain Linnell House
137 Skaket Beach Road,

The Rose and the Vesper Martini are unique to this elegant restaurant set on the way to (or from) Skaket Beach. According to bartender Tucker Harpin, the pre-Prohibition-era cocktail craze is making its way onto the Cape, and the Rose and Vesper definitely recall this vintage time period.

The Rose
3 oz. peach vodka
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. pomegranate juice
Lightly sugar glass rim before pouring

Vesper Martini
2 oz. Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc
1 oz. Stolichnaya Vodka
Squeeze of lemon

Mahoney’s Atlantic
28 Main Street,

Serving sophisticated New England cuisine in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere, Mahoney’s introduced two delicious new cocktails for spring/summer 2016, both were featured in Cape Cod Life magazine. Cheers!

Coconut Lavender Lemonade
3 oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. lavender simple syrup
1 oz. coconut water
Twist of lemon

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake, strain and pour; garnish with a lemon twist. Serves one.

Black Cherry Sake Fizz
Fresh cherries
1 oz. simple syrup
3 oz. Sake
3 oz. Prosecco

Muddle four cherry halves with simple syrup. Add Sake, Prosecco and ice. Stir and pour.
Garnish with a fresh cherry. Serves one.

Homeport Restaurant
55 Main Street,

This neighborhood restaurant started as a soda counter and expanded into a cozy spot for breakfast and lunch, with lobster benedict, homemade soups, clam chowder and creatively delicious sandwiches on the menu. The Hurricane adds a blast of flavor to the meal.

The Hurricane
1 oz. Light Rum
1 oz. Dark Rum
1 oz. Maraschino Cherry Juice
Shake, then pour over ice in a 16 oz glass, top with orange juice and a dash of lime juice.

Barley Neck Inn
5 Beach Road,

Housed in an old sea captain’s home in East Orleans, the Barley Neck Inn offers a creative array of nightly specials along with a diverse menu of favorites. Light and refreshing, Pink Sangria complements a variety of dishes.

Pink Sangria
1 each wedge of lime, lemon and orange
1 oz. St-Germain Elderflower liqueur
White wine or rose to taste
Strawberry for garnish

In a pint glass: muddle one wedge of lime, lemon and orange together.  Add St-Germain Elderflower and fill to the top with ice. Fill the remainder of the glass with white wine or rose and stir.  Pour the mixture into a large wine glass and garnish with a strawberry.