Cocktails to go give takeout a fresh kick

  • To-go cocktails at Galaxy restaurant in Easthampton include a watermelon margarita, from left, pineapple jalapeno magragita and Esquire, a cocktail made with bourbon, blood orange juice, lemon juice, lemon bitters and orange liquor. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Audrey Douglass poses for a photo while shaking an Esquire cocktail Wednesday, Aug. 5, at Galaxy restaurant in Easthampton. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A banner advertises to-go margaritas at LaVeracruzana in Easthampton, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Emma Howard adds a lime wedge to a house margarita for a to-go order Wednesday, Aug. 5, at LaVeracruzana in Easthampton. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Emma Howard places a house margarita in a to-go cup into a machine that seals it with a cellophane lid Wednesday, Aug. 5, at LaVeracruzana in Easthampton. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Emma Howard pours house margarita into a to-go cup, Wednesday, at LaVeracruzana in Easthampton. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 8/9/2020 6:23:18 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Those getting their food to go in the commonwealth can now include a cocktail or two with their order, and a number of city restaurants have stepped forward to offer their patrons this choice.

“Things are going well with them,” said Audrey Douglass, manager of Galaxy restaurant. “It’s definitely been helpful having that option.”

Cocktails for pickup and delivery are now legal in Massachusetts thanks to a bill signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker on July 20 allowing them to be sold alongside to-go food for the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency. Alcoholic beverages must be sold in sealed containers, and there’s a limit of two cocktails per entree.

“It brings us in line with a lot of the rest of the country,” said Amy Guyette, co-owner of Tavern On The Hill. “I’m pleased with it.”

Both Tavern On The Hill and Galaxy sell their to-go cocktails in pouches.

“They’re real easy — they travel well,” Douglass said. You can stick a straw in them and “it’s like an adult juice box.”

To meet the state requirement packaging requirement, La Veracruzana has purchased boba tea sealers for its Easthampton, Amherst and Northampton locations.

“They’ve been really well received to date,” said Philip Pallante, co-owner of La Veracruzana.

The restaurant’s house margarita is their most popular concoction “hands down,” he said, adding that the runners-up vary based on the night.

The restaurant community has wanted to offer to-go mixed drinks since the beginning of the pandemic, Pallante said, and being able to offer them appears to have contributed to a “gradual increase in business” for La Veracruzana.

At Galaxy, known for its signature cocktails, Douglass said that when the restaurant announced on Facebook that it could offer libations to-go, patrons responded with their favorites. The most popular one mentioned was the Esquire, which is made with orange liqueur, lemon juice, lemon bitters, bourbon and fresh-squeezed blood orange juice.

“We knew who would be coming back and who would be missing what,” Douglass said.

Other popular to-go cocktails, she said, are a hibiscus margarita and a jalapeno pineapple margarita, which is made with tequila infused with pickled jalapenos.

“It’s definitely margarita season,” Douglass said.

For Tavern on the Hill, Guyette said that while mixed drinks are “not a huge portion of what we do for our to-gos,” they have been selling “quite a few sangrias to go,” along with several of their weekly specialty cocktails.

Pallante is hopeful more people will take advantage of to-go cocktails as they learn they’re available. Being able to get a cocktail with a to-go meal, he said, “gives everybody a sense of normalcy for sure.”

Guyette said she expects her restaurant’s takeout business to increase once the weather gets colder.

“A lot of our guests who make reservations don’t want to sit inside,” she said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.


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