For the Festive Drinker

It’s that time of year to get cooking, get traveling, and get shopping! And while lots of people can be easy to shop for, some prove more difficult. That person can often be the alcohol enthusiast, as the world of cocktails, wine, and beer get so big so fast! So what do you get for the home bartender, or just plain lover of alcohol? I reached out to a few local shops to see if they’re doing any gift packages for the holidays, this is what I found out!

Campus Fine Wines

127 Brook Street

Campus Fine Wines is doing holiday wine packs to bring to a party, give to a friend, or easily stock your own bar for guests! They have two options for packs consisting of six bottles of wine which include red, white, and bubbles! All these wines are small production and low intervention. You’re bound to impress your friends and family with these hard-to-find wines!

Holiday Vax’d Pack $100

Holiday Boostah Pack $150


756 Hope Street

This adorable shop for all things cooking and bartending will have their shelves stocked with various cocktail books, glassware, and of course bar tools for you to choose from. And while they always have the materials, the staff is well adept at putting together personalized gift baskets for you. From the perfect shaped ice to a variety of shakers, mixing glasses, and jiggers, Stock has you covered!

And of course, books are always fun! Here are some cocktail books I recommend, which Stock is selling right now:

The Art of the Japanese Cocktail by Masahiro Urushido and Michael Anstendig from PR powerhouse Hanna Lee Communications. This is on my personal wish list! I can’t wait to get my hands on it! I’d recommend it for the more advanced home bartender, someone who will hunt down rare ingredients and make time to make their own syrups. 

For beginners, Stock has The Curious Bartender Cocktails at Home by Tristan Stephenson. 

So whether you’re looking for gifts or just looking to stock your own shelves, local shops have you covered! Happy shopping! 

Paint, Drink, and Be Merry at Paint Drops Paint Bar

paintThe last time I sat facing an easel with a paintbrush in hand was 10 years before I was legally able to hold a glass of wine in the other. Thanks to Paint Drops paint bar in Pawtucket, however, I was able to fill my hands with one of each and still walk away with a surprisingly decent piece of artwork. I think I may have found my new favorite pastime.

Paint bars have been sweeping the nation in recent years, first as designated “Wine and Paint Nights” held once a month inside bars and wineries, and progressing into independent studios where every day is devoted to painting for the imbibed and ambitious. Even little Rhode Island has its share of establishments rising to meet the occasion. One of the newest is located on Mineral Spring Ave, nestled inside an old mill-looking building with green trim, across from a “Save” supermarket (this is an important detail, particularly if one decides half-way through paint night that one would like to buy saltine crackers). Added bonus: There’s plenty of free parking.

I asked my friend Jen to accompany me, thinking it’d be fun to say “The Jens are painting Rhode Island red! (and pink and purple and blue)!” I did not realize she was a pro, with five paintings under her belt from various bars around New England. I felt incredibly underqualified to be sitting next to her— but, as I learned from my evening, no prior experience is necessary in order to produce a painting worthy of display.

There was a small crowd that evening, four women, and I was still “hanging over” (in the words of my friend’s grandfather) from an unexpected Sunday night outing. This was particularly upsetting because Paint Drops is a B.Y.O.B.(ottle) studio, and I could have really reveled in the fact that most paint bars offer only one included glass of wine, and I had the potential to drink four. I instead spent the night sipping a chardonnay while nursing a bottle of Aquafina, but the possibility to have an inexpensive boozy night is there.

I was surprised by the intimacy of the venue. Ana Maria, the owner and our instructor that night, was so relaxed and welcoming, we felt we could make ourselves at home. We were given aprons to protect our clothing, and prior to our arrival, she set up stations with easels, brushes, and paint-drop dotted plates filled with vibrant colors. And for those of you who don’t carry a corkscrew in your purse, you need not have a moment of panic at the liquor store like I did, frantically swapping out a corked bottle for a screw-top, because cups, wine keys, bottle openers, and straws are available for use. The other two women painting with us even brought crackers and dip, and seeing their supply ignited within me a strong desire for my own crackers. (Ana was kind enough to direct me to the shopping center and encouraged me to run out while we waited for our first layer of paint to dry. “Honestly, it’s no problem! We can’t paint until the background dries anyway.”)

Our goal that night was to paint a flamingo. Before we began, Ana gave us an encouraging introduction that assured us we need not be Picasso in order to produce a wonderful piece of art. “There is no such thing as a mistake,” she said. “People are sometimes too timid to paint because they’re afraid of making mistakes, but there is no right or wrong here. The goal is not to make a piece of artwork that looks identical to mine — that’d be impossible. It’s to create your own interpretation, something that is you.” She offered recommendations as she painted, primarily in regard to layering and the progression from painting the background to plumage to the neck to eyes to highlights, but the instruction was not as rigid as I expected. She didn’t paint one stroke and wait for us to copy it before moving on. As a perfectionist, I like to know exactly what the teacher is doing and how, so this lack of detailed guidance made me anxious. But by the end of the evening, I learned I could create my own path and still arrive at something that looked like a flamingo. And that did, in fact, make me feel proud.

In my moments of pause, I admired artwork around the room from previous nights’ events, and I wanted to paint them ALL. I felt inspired. I felt artistic. Similar to a runner’s high, there must be a painter’s high that comes from seeing the work of one’s hands on the canvas, because I left feeling very happy and accomplished. The wine, which might be the draw for some, was simply an added bonus.

Paint Drops: 560 Mineral Spring Ave, Pawtucket, RI

Visit paintdropsri.com to reserve a spot and view the calendar of scheduled paintings.

The Taste of Block Island: Gluttony by the Sea

Whether it is Aldo’s ice cream, Wine Tasting, Rhode Island clam chowder or the Bacon Fest, Block Island has the food you’re craving.

biLured by the idea of free chowder, cheap drinks, and a festival devoted to bacon, I asked an all-too-willing friend to accompany me to the Taste of Block Island over the May 30 weekend. We made a day trip on Saturday, arriving with an itinerary that would keep us busy from the moment we landed on BI until the moment the last ferry departed. The weather forecast did not seem promising — morning showers followed by mostly cloudy skies and a peak temperature of 63 degrees — so I dressed in layers and assumed the worst.

I was, for the first time, happily proven wrong. The sun was shining and it turned out to be a beautiful day. This allowed the first item on my agenda, making a sundae at Aldo’s Bakery, more inviting. (Eating dessert before lunch seemed like a wise choice.) For $4 we got to choose two flavors of ice cream and add as many toppings as we wanted. My plan was nearly dismantled when I realized Aldo’s also sells gelato, but my friend convinced me to embrace the ice cream sundae, and after several samples of flavors, we decided on a scoop of Mud Pie and one of Maple Walnut, topped with hot fudge, chopped nuts, Oreos, and whipped cream. It was the perfect boost of energy for the next item on the agenda: looking for a glass orb.

The Glass Float Project began three years ago and speaks to the scavenger hunt inside every human being. This summer, 550 uniquely numbered glass orbs will be hidden along the Greenway Trails, and I had my heart set on finding one. But the island isn’t so small when one is looking into every crevice for a grapefruit-sized transparent object, and having only an hour to do so proved to be unsuccessful. We did, however, discover a hidden garden. Behind Ballard’s, up on a hill, a stone staircase leads to a gazebo with birdfeeders, benches that overlook the ocean, and a walkway that ascends through a mini-Irish-looking countryside. It was a charming accidental find.

From 1:30 to 3pm I was slave to Bacon Fest. Hosted by The Poor People’s Pub, the outdoor patio was teeming with chefs, beer drinkers and bacon lovers. After purchasing an entry ticket, we took our complementary PBR, grabbed a plate and visited the contestants, one of whom was dressed in a bacon suit. (It was his co-worker’s Halloween costume — affixed with a “Kevin” nametag. Get it? Kevin Bacon.) There were a total of nine dishes, each with varying amounts of creatively used bacon. The promised chocolate-covered bacon did not disappoint, but it also appealed to me because it tasted predominately of gourmet chocolate. There were two sushi entries, one of which tasted like a sweet BLT — bacon surrounded with peanut butter, herb goat cheese, figs, red pepper, and rice paper topped with an apple slice. The National Hotel was the first to run out of its dish: a made-while-you-watch bacon, scallop, and shrimp crab cake topped with a bacon sriracha aioli. One of my favorites that I should not have eaten seconds of (but did) was The Poor People Pub’s maple beignets: powdered-sugar coated fried rolls of dough layered with a sweet cream that had undetectable, but delectable, bacon bits. They were dangerously good.

The winner in my mind, however, was a simply made, bite-sized sample of awesomeness: a perfectly cooked smoked pork belly topped with corn relish, bacon cornbread crumble and pickled mustard seeds. It was difficult to hold — a little flimsy — but that delicate nature allowed it to melt in your mouth with a mix of flavors that made one think, “This is the essence of Bacon Fest.” Not surprisingly, Eli’s won the contest and earned a flaming pig trophy.

From there we walked to The Beachhead for our preregistered event, a $10 wine tasting with $1 oysters. I didn’t realize that in addition to the five wines, we’d also get snacks. I was still full from my second round of “tie-breaker” bacon samples, but I found room to sample their richly flavored crab cake and bruschetta, a refreshing burst of tomato and balsamic vinegar atop a crostini. Our first bartender, Michael, was the best. With his warm welcome, friendly demeanor and generous pour size, we relaxed before a picturesque ocean view and discussed baby names for Michael’s soon-to-be son. The white wines paired best with the oysters, but my favorite was the red Cabernet Sauvignon with hints of espresso and chocolate.

The day progressed from borderline indulgence to completely sinful gluttony. We hopped around, beginning with live music at The Old Island Pub and Rhode Island clam chowder (I had no idea there was such a thing!), $5 Bloody Marys and jalapeño margaritas from the Yellow Kittens, and a delicious chocolate banana mudslide to chase down not one, but two (because it was so delicious), New England clam chowders from The National Hotel. There may have also been a gelato thrown in there, too.

Needless to say, I slept quite well on the ferry ride home.

If you’re interested in experiencing the next Taste of Block Island, plan to attend in the fall, Sept 26 – 28, 2014! Also, mark your calendars for Block Island’s Restaurant Week beginning June 16.

EDM: Providence Is Party Central


Club XS : The Newest Hot Spot

Providence is known as party central with club events happening all across town, and the heavily involved EDM scene shows that we’ll be here for generations to come. Every club has its own unique formula that seems to work just fine; some offer a sexy atmosphere, others explore an artsy appearance and let’s not forget the amazing shore nightlife summer offers.

The club phenomena in Providence has been non-stop since the ’70s when NYC was on top of its game and RI was right behind. There were a few very popular clubs throughout the city, like BT Bogarts, one of the first to have a lighted dance floor, and Play Dan and Club 2001 where party-goers could explore their inner disco souls. Today, Providence replicates the best experiences of big city night clubs, like in Miami and LA. We offer some of the best sound systems around and EDM is a hundred times better when it’s loud with a pulsating base driving through your body. It’s an instant formula for dancing. For party-goers, a memorable night is driven by special guest out-of-town DJs and popular local DJs who carry a hefty schedule.

Providence’s newest club, Club XS, opened to huge success on its first weekend. Local DJs already lining up to be one of first to bless the turntables is a definite sign that PVD gained another nightlife spot to influence an audience and further an agenda.

As we head deeper into the summer, the club action shifts to our amazing beaches and we tend to get a little nervous around the city — unless you’re Sequel Lounge with an amazing outdoor patio sure to please and breeze everyone. But the city is full of fun and excitement with dozens of clubs to explore. And clubs always seem to offer a top notch menu of exclusive cocktails that you may not find anywhere outside of RI.

Club Highlight:

Club XS, 1 Throop alley, Providence; XSLOUNGERI.com

Sequel Lounge, 178 Atwells Ave., Providence; www.sequelprov.com

DJ Highlight:


Offical Numark Artist/DJ and the driving force behind Blinded Records, Osheen, New England’s own veteran DJ and producer, is no stranger to the music culture and electronica house music scene. He began his career in the early 1980s dosing the dance floors of local clubs and rave events in the northeast. When the rave phenomena hit in the early 1990s, he took his skills and signature sound of chugging tribal proper house music out to the masses and quickly became known as one of the premier underground house DJs in the US. The demand kept growing for his talent as a DJ, leading him to the next logical and creative step, the creation of his own music and record label. Osheen currently has numerous remix and original releases on major and independent record labels.

Skip the Easter Ham and Hop into Julians for a Vintage Beer Dinner



Dinner, but more importantly drinks

Providence’s acclaimed restaurant, Julians, previously featured on Food Network’s “Rachel’s Vacation,” is hosting their Vintage Beer Dinner celebrating their 20th anniversary, on April 20 at 6pm. Located in the heart of Providence, they are known for serving creative comfort foods and on Sunday night, they will not disappoint.

It will certainly be a special evening, featuring rare and unique selections from their cellar. They will offer deliciously paired courses served with top-notch drinks. Their featured drinks include 2008 St. Feuillien Tripel  (Belgian tripel), 2005 Schneider Aventinus Weizenbock (wheat doopelbock) and 2008 Southern Tier Cuvee 1 and 2 (oak aged American strong ale). In addition to those, they will serve 2009 Dogfish Head Black and Blue (Belgian-style golden ale fermented with black raspberries and blueberries), 2009 & 2012 North Coast Old Stock Ale (English style old ale), 2012 Brooklyn Black Ops (barrel aged imperial stout spiked with champagne yeast), and Firestone Walker 14,15 and 16.

Their combination of a laid-back atmosphere and unique beers on draft will make for a memorable celebration. Reservations are a must and space is limited, so reserve your spot today! Reservations can be made over the phone or in person at the restaurant.
Julians, April 20th, 213 Broadway, Providence 401-861-1770

Wine Shop Listings

winelistLocal fermentation is a beautiful thing

Want to see what’s new at your local wine purveyor? We’re starting to list events related to wine (okay, okay, the occasional beer or spirits, too). This is a growing list, so check back with each publication to see your local shop featured.

Bellevue Wine & Spirits

181 Bellevue Ave, Newport, 401-846-7993, bellevuewinespirits.com

Food & Wine pairing classes* every Sunday, now through Labor Day

3/9 Wente Vineyards tasting

3/16 Saint Patrick’s Day tasting

3/23 Sage Cellars Vineyard tasting

($5 per class, the fee applies to purchases)


Campus Fine Wines

127 Brook St., Providence, 401-621-9650

Weekly Wine Samples: Fridays 5 – 8pm

Weekly Beer Samples: Saturdays 4 – 7pm

Check their Facebook page for events.


Charlestown Wine & Spirits

4625 Old Post Rd, Charlestown, 401-364-6626


Weekly Wine &etc. Samples: Fridays 4 – 7pm and Saturdays 3 – 6pm

Check their Facebook page for specifics.


Eno Fine Wines

225 Westminster Street, Providence, 401-521-2000, enofinewines.com/

Weekly Wine or Beer Samples: Fridays 4:30 – 6:30pm & Saturdays 3 – 5pm


Grapes & Grains

24 Bosworth St., Barrington, 401-245-2100

Weekly Wine Samples: Fridays 5 – 7pm

Weekly Beer Samples: Saturdays 2 – 5pm

Special natural wine and food pairing on 3/8, 5 – 7pm


Own a wine shop? Want to have your event or tastings featured? Shoot us a note at: editor@motifmagazine.net

Locale Profile: Cook and Brown Public House

Providence Gastro Pub treats locals to a fresh fall menu

“The farmers come in in the morning and give us what they have. We design a menu from there,” Cook and Brown spokesperson, Aslan Zadeh, responded when asked, “How are you going to design your fall menu?” Cook and Brown Public House is a Gastro Pub nestled into a Hope Street Neighborhood in Providence. In its 3.5 years, C&B has become the place to experience traditional New England seasonal fare with a modern twist.

Incorporating classic autumn foods into their menu as the summer winds down isn’t a choice, but an unavoidable necessity. “Menus are printed for dinner sometimes a half hour before we open,” Zadeh continued. Fish vendors, rabbit farmers, free range chicken farmers, and a mushroom scavenger in addition to other meat and veggie farmers from RI and southern Mass make daily deliveries to C&B.

Past fall items have included dishes like Narragansett Creamery Ricotta Gnocchi with mushrooms and leeks, Braised Pork Belly with sweet potato puree and a root vegetable slaw, and a celeriac soup with Macoun Apple. So what can you look forward to this year? Heartier seasonal root vegetables and gord vegetables like pumpkin and squash  to complement local meats and vegetarian dishes.

C&B’s passion for local fresh carries through their bar and cocktail menu. Nearly a dozen cocktails incorporate classics and originals incorporating warm baking spices and other autumn flavors like pumpkin and apple, straight from the garden. Anticipate darker spirits for the fall– a scotch cocktail will replace the summer’s rum old fashioned to age in a barrel. As for beers on tap? Mayflower Nut Ale, Goose Island Oktoberfest, Revival’s OktoberFest and Pawtucket’s Foolproof to name a few.



959 Hope Street, Providence


Thursday, Friday, Saturday 5:30 to 10pm

Tuesday, Wednesday & Sundays 5:30 to 9:30pm