Just a few steps back from the hustle and bustle of Mass Ave. in Central Square, Cambridge, is a close radius of unassuming craft made cocktail bars. Green Street’s nondescript sign and weathered brick exterior is not the most welcoming, but the interior is packed with the local Cambridgeport crowd flocking for some serious drinks and intricate plates. A common Thursday night cocktail hour starts with a Bohemian (Beefeater gin, St. Germaine, grapefruit juice and Peychaud’s Bitters) and of course, a side of their crispy yucca fries.
Just across Mass Ave. is Brick and Mortar. The hidden entry has no signage, just a door which leads you upstairs into an intimate speakeasy-type of drinking establishment. The interior features a large copper oval-shaped bar with wooden high-top tables filled with various sized groups munching on small plates. I usually opt for the Sister Mary (Blanco tequila, St. Germaine, Aperol, and grapefruit juice) with Devils On Horseback dates stuffed w/ bleu cheese and wrapped in bacon.
If you’re in the mood for a flashback to the flapping 20s, step into Cuchi Cuchi down the street for one of their ginger, basil or cucumber gimlets and an array of unique tapas or if a Mark and Stormy (Maker’s Mark, ginger beer and lime) and grazing plate is more your style, River Gods is a hop away. Whatever fills your fancy.
I love how all of these places update their cocktail selection from time to time based on the ever evolving list of liqueurs and spirits out there and changing of the seasons. Lately, many bars are featuring in-season apples on tap in hard cider, juiced and heated with rum and spice, or chilled and mixed into cocktails. With apples and spice on the brain, I shake up my own autumn-influenced libation. Since i prefer serving drinks up, I combine a blend of vodka, apple cider, citrus, cinnamon and a splash of Cava for a bright, sweet and slightly tart bubbly beverage.
Central Square Harvest Cocktail
2 oz Vodka
1 1/2 oz apple cider (from your favorite nearby orchard-Wilson Farm or Russell Orchards)
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Dash of cinnamon
1 oz Cava
Apple curl for garnish (with a sharp knife, cut a curl from the skin of a Honey Crisp or any firm, red apple)
Pour Vodka, apple cider, Cointreau, lemon juice and cinnamon into an ice-filled shaker. Shake rigorously. Pour into a chilled martini glass or deep wine glass. Top with the Cava and an apple curl. Serves 1.