I stopped into CHOPPS a few weeks back to check out their spring cocktail menu, and at the time, I was starting to wonder whether the Burlington restaurant’s attempts at seasonality would be for naught. You know how it’s been here – sweaters and boots one day, shorts and sandals the next. A few bouts of torrential rain for good measure.
But Mother Nature seems to have finally made up her mind, and CHOPPS’ seasonal cocktail menu features some easy-drinking, warm-weather libations.
The hotel bar takes tequila in two different directions with Checking In? and Little Devil. The former, featuring Maestro Dobel Diamante tequila, lime, spiked seltzer, and Fruitations grapefruit, is crisp and margarita-like, with a distinct sourness from the grapefruit.
Little Devil uses Maestro Dobel Humito, a smoked tequila with mesquite notes that serves as something of an alternative to mezcal. Combined with crème de cassis and Ancho Reyes, it’s a cocktail that’s more sweet than spicy, with some subtle heat in the back.
CHOPPS still sports a strong whiskey program, and boozy classics like Manhattans and Old Fashioneds remain popular with out-of-town guests. But a pair of more playful whiskey drinks are here for the spring. Racheal’s Revival is sweet and fragrant, with Old Camp peach whiskey, simple syrup, mint, and fresh lemon.
And Get the Ball in the Hole is made with Tin Cup whiskey, Bols strawberry, and ginger ale. A bold, fruity cocktail that’s artfully garnished, this one tastes as good as it looks.
As much as I try to keep my emphasis on drinks, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the food at CHOPPS, which never disappoints. Executive chef Stefano Zimei is as creative as he is energetic, and if he swings by your table to drop off a dish, you can expect some good conversation, too.
Tender lamb meatballs are topped with shaved feta, and burst with flavor.
Ricotta gnocchi with asparagus and carrots isn’t on the menu – the chef described it as a one-off that they were playing around with in the kitchen – but it would be a worthy addition.
And if pork belly’s your thing, an order of rolled double-cut bacon with chimichurri is sinfully decadent.
Don’t be surprised to see your fellow diners staring enviously at your plate. The sight of two giant slabs of bacon tends to have that effect on people.
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