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RED BANK: THE SWEET AFTERTASTE

081514 cutie pops pomericoMelanie Pomerico, owner of Lil’ Cutie Pops, holds a bouquet of cocktail-themed cakes. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge.)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumCocktail Week, a townwide party that showcased the bars and bartenders in Red Bank, had some sweet support from borough bakers.

Lil’ Cutie Pops on Monmouth Street made three flavors of its signature cake pops: Bailey’s Irish Cream, Guinness Dark Chocolate and Margarita. Although they were baked especially for the themed event, all three treats are often in stock or can be special-ordered, shop owner Melanie Pomerico said.

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COCKTAIL WEEK (SORRY) MUDDLES ON

081314 cocktail mixoff4Bartenders, preparing to compete at Taste Tuesday night. Chris Paseka, below, emceed the well-attended event. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

081314 cocktail mixoff3A feeling of autumn was in the air Tuesday night at Taste in Red Bank.

A Laird’s Applejack mix-off, a continuation of Cocktail Week, was in full swing, featuring nine enthusiastically adept bartenders and their apple-inspired concoctions.

Dressing up table displays with brightly colored fall motifs, the imaginative bartenders mixed cinnamon apple margaritas – and muddled everything from sage to peaches – while dipping the rims of tiny shot glasses in cinnamon sugar.

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RED BANK: KICKING-OFF A WEEK OF COCKTAILS

081014 kickoff cocktail 1 Jamie Gray prepares a cocktail at red‘s upstairs lounge bar. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumThere’s a party going on in Red Bank over the course of the next week, and it’s going to be a bit of a booze-filled frenzy.

At the kickoff of Cocktail Week Sunday night, bartenders prepared specialty drinks made with Leaf vodka, just one of several sponsors for the event organized by Red Bank Flavour.

Bartender Jamie Gray of red restaurant on Broad Street squeezed fresh limes for the Thai basil martinis while Matt Monaco was busy muddling mint for the Hendrick’s Gin mojitos served with cucumbers.

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RED BANK: COCKTAIL WEEK? IF YOU INSIST…

dee downtown 072514 2Downtown bartender Dee with some of his output, including a blackbery cosmo, below.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

downtown cocktail 072514 2To watch the one-named bartender Dee when the drink orders are coming in at Red Bank’s Downtown is to a witness unflappability amid a blur of glasses, garnishes, bottles and stainless-steel shakers.

“I have to be very quick,” Dee tells PieHole while rapidly muddling ingredients for a cucumber vodka mojito. Over 10 years of mixing and pouring, “I’ve developed speed,” says Dee. “Not every bartender likes to muddle, but I love the labor of this job.”

Starting August 10, the restaurant promotion group Red Bank Flavour plans to spotlight the town’s watering holes and the bartenders who keep their libations flowing with the first-ever Red Bank Cocktail Week.

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