After some shopping with my mom on a recent afternoon, we swung by JP’s in Portland for a few drinks to celebrate the bargains we had scored.

We walked in shortly after 5 p.m. and grabbed two of the six seats at the bar. Two pub tables sit up to eight more people, but it’s definitely an intimate setting probably best suited for a party of two.

Bartender Moriah Duval was quick to greet us and ask what we’d like to drink. Mom ordered the red sangria off the list of specialty drinks written on a chalkboard in the upper corner of the bar, but I was a little more indecisive.

“Can I offer you a suggestion?” Duval asked.

I’m always game to hear what the bartenders like to recommend. She started describing a few of the specialty drinks, but I knew I wanted the lemon blueberry martini as soon as she told me what was in it — gin mixed with fresh lemon and a syrup that the bistro makes from fresh blueberries and honey.

With a skilled hand, she poured the gin and the drink’s mixes into a shaker, shook it up and poured it into a martini glass. Then she placed a vibrant yellow lemon twist into the rich purple-blue hue of crushed berries and slid the glass my way.

Mom and I clinked our glasses and sipped. The sweetness of the honey offset the tart taste of fresh blueberries and lemon, which almost masked the gin in my drink. Of course, we had to swap glasses to sip each other’s drinks. I have to say, the red sangria was the best I’ve ever tried.

Our specialty drinks were $9 apiece, which is the upper limit of most drinks at the bar. Beer, with only three offerings on tap, ranges from $3 a bottle to $4.50 for draughts. The lengthy wine list has offerings from $6 to $9 by the glass and from $20 to $65 for a bottle.

While we hadn’t planned on eating, Duval told us the specials for the night, and the savory smells wafting from the kitchen changed our minds. We ordered the appetizer of mussels off the daily specials menu and enjoyed a basket of bread as we waited.

It wasn’t long after we arrived that the restaurant side of the business started to fill up, and so did the bar. Both pub tables were occupied — and with patrons in all six seats at the bar, you can’t be shy or worried about rubbing elbows with your neighbor.

Duval said most nights the bar is full, and it seemed to draw some regulars, since she addressed two customers by name.

Our mussels arrived, and I’m not a food critic, but I’ll sum it up with one word — yum. We chowed down the plentiful bowl in minutes, licking our fingers clean when we were done.

And for a bit of dessert, I convinced Mom to order the honey apple martini. The cocktail is made with vanilla vodka, Drambuie and fresh apple cider, a perfect mix for the season. Drinking it from a glass rimmed with cinnamon and sugar, Mom said it tasted like apple pie with a kick.

Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in Biddeford.