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Small State; Big Cocktail Culture

12 03 14 - 16:01
Given its small stature, Rhode Island has more than its share of talented, locally-famous, award-winning mixologists perfecting the art of the cocktail. The official drink of Rhode Island may be coffee milk, but judging from the number of bars and restaurants that cater to artisan and vintage cocktails, it might as well be a Manhattan. The trend is centered in Providence, which annually celebrates "Providence Cocktail Week" -- a popular citywide celebration of the art and appreciation of the cocktail. These are some of the local mixologists who have cultivated cult followings among cocktail aficionados.

Chris Amirault, Cook and Brown Public House, Providence
The cocktail revolution in Rhode Island can be traced back to Chris Amirault and his tenure at Cook and Brown, a restaurant named a semifinalist in the category of Outstanding Bar Program in the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards. Amirault was the forum director at the Egullet Society for Culinary Arts and Letters when he became interested in mixology.
959 Hope St., Providence, 401-273-7275, www.cookandbrown.com

Jesse Hedberg, Local 121, Providence
Jesse Hedberg also got his start at Cook and Brown and now oversees the bar at Local 121, a restaurant with a Prohibition-era speakeasy in the basement level. The self-described "hipster" earned first place in the national Campari "Best Aperitivo" Cocktail Competition in Portland, Oregon in 2013.
121 Washington St., Providence, 401-274-2121, www.local121.com

Vito Lantz, The Dorrance, Providence
Two-time local cocktail competition winner Lantz oversees the bar at the Dorrance, named to Bon Appetite's 2012 list of best new restaurants in America. Lantz's bar features house-made juices and syrups, many made daily from ingredients picked from the chef's own farm.
60 Dorrance St., Providence, 401-521-6000, www.thedorrance.com

Jay Carr, The Eddy, Providence
Carr got his start at the Dorrance and opened the Eddy, a tiny but beautiful bar, two years ago. He won the 2012 Iron Tender competition. The bar has been featured in Southwest Airline's Spirit magazine. In 2013, Grub Street named the Eddy's Hummer to its list of the best cocktails from the 50 states.
95 Eddy Street, Providence, 401-831-3339, www.eddybar.com

Katie Harrington, Ten Prime Steak and Sushi, Providence
While the youngest and least experienced of the bunch, she's no less passionate about cocktails. A graduate of Johnson and Wales University's program in mixology, she's a tireless researcher and believes in the perfection of technique.
55 Pine St., Providence, 401-453-2333, www.tenprimesteakandsushi.com

For more information, email Mark Brodeur, Rhode Island Director of Tourism.

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