QUENCHING A CINCO DE MAYO THIRST

050315 downtown  butler3 Downtown bartender John Butler makes PieHole a fresh strawberry margarita.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

050315 downtown margarita4Maybe it was the sterling weather this past weekend, or maybe it was the swarm of happy folks packing the restaurants and bars in town that put us in a celebratory mood.

Remembering that Cinco de Mayo is this week, PieHole made its way to the Downtown in Red Bank with its enormous open front window view of Broad Street. Finding a couple of empty bar stools at the ready, we joined the already cheerful customers.

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SEA BRIGHT: DIVING INTO A BLOODY HOOK

040215 dive3Ashlyn Schmidt pours a spicy bloody Mary at Dive in Sea Bright. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

040215 dive2A sweet cocktail filled with tropical fruit is nice on a hot summer day, but with the strong spring winds still blowing sharp and cold in Sea Bright, only a hearty, spicy cocktail could quench PieHole‘s thirst.

Dive, a “coastal bar and food joint” on Ocean Avenue, offers a Sunday brunch and bloody Mary menu featuring a quaff called the Bloody Hook that makes the lips tingle and the throat burn with enjoyment.

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RUMSON: NEW JERSEY’S BEST BAR?

Among the watering holes featured as NJ.com, the website of the Star-Ledger, searches for New Jersey’s Best Bars is Murphy’s Tavern, the Prohibition-era speakeasy hidden in the basement of a Rumson house. Heather Racioppi, who bought the place with fellow Red Bank bartender Robb McMahon in 2005, give NJ.com’s roving reporter Pete Genovese the history. His story is here. (Video courtesy of NJ.com.)

QUENCH: AN OLD-FASHIONED AT SALT CREEK

020115 saltcreek habel3An Old-Fashioned at Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille, above. Below, Rob Habel muddles fruit for the cocktail.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

020115 saltcreek habel2Blended to shades of cherry red and bright orange, an Old-Fashioned made by Rob Habel at Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille reminds PieHole of the stunning sunsets you might see over the Navesink River just out the window.

“My grandfather showed me the classics,” says Habel, 33, the newly appointed beverage manager at the riverfront favorite. “I love old-fashioned drinks, and might bring back some of the old school.”

His favorite “old-fashioned” cocktail to make? An Old-Fashioned.

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