We’ve all heard of the quarantini, that oh-so-clever new name given to the signature drink of life on lockdown, after the coronavirus shooed everyone indoors. Well, it seems as if locked-down bartenders and craft brewers have had a lot of time on their hands to get creative, too.

Now that cocktails to-go are a thing, and people are starting to return to restaurants and outdoor tasting rooms, the quarantine-themed drink is what people venturing back into the sun are ordering to celebrate their newfound freedom – and perhaps stick it, metaphorically speaking, to the virus that has disrupted their lives for months (and may continue to do so for months to come).

Some of these cocktails and brews honor the experts fighting the pandemic. Liz Smith, bar manager at Stroudwater Distilling in Portland, says her 6 Feet N’ Chill cocktail was “a little joke on Netflix and chill.” Ryan Deskins, owner of the Sagamore Hill Lounge in Portland, was planning to add a selection of drinks to his spring menu honoring politically-themed and protest songs. But then the pandemic happened. So he went in another direction, and named a cocktail Apocalyptical, after a song that was released in early May by “this weird, artsy rock band called Puscifer,” Deskins said. “Very few people are going to know who they are.”

In the accompanying video, a guy in a hazmat suit rides a skateboard around a big city that looks like Los Angeles. His ride is intercut with images of the coronavirus, and he makes a stop at a warehouse full of toilet paper while the band sings, “Concrete conclusions be damned/They won’t believe you until it’s far too late/Be damned, dumb.”

The staff at Mason’s Brewing Co. in Brewer had some great ideas for themed drinks early on in the pandemic, according to owner Chris Morley, but they were afraid it was too soon to go there. The brewery is already known for dark – some might say terrifying – imagery. Its flagship beer is called Hipster Apocalypse, and Liquid Rapture features the Grim Reaper on the can. (Next up? A beer called Mushroom Cloud.) So playing around with the name of a deadly virus seemed a step too far, Morley said.

“We didn’t want to be too over the top,” he said, “and we really didn’t want to make fun of a situation that’s not really funny.”
The solution? A cocktail now on the menu that offers a little hope instead of fear: It’s called The Cure.


If the stress of the pandemic is getting to you, or you just want to try something new that will make you smile, check out our guide to these specialty cocktails and beers below. Just don’t enjoy them in a crowd.

The Dr. Fauci from Maine Craft Distilling Photo courtesy of Maine Craft Distilling

Dr. Fauci
For when your happy hour conversation is dominated by your friend the plumber, who has suddenly become an epidemiology expert.
Find it at: Maine Craft Distilling in Portland, $12
Ingredients: Alchemy Gin, Blueshine, Aperol, Cappelletti, cherry phosphate, soda

The Mask Up from Little Giant Photo courtesy of Little Giant

Mask Up
Drink this just before heading into a grocery store filled with unmasked employees and shoppers defiantly pushing their shopping carts down a one-way aisle in the wrong direction.
Find it at: Little Giant in Portland, $11
Ingredients: Bimini Gin, Chinzano Rossi, Luxardo and orange bitters

Where Are My Pants? from Foulmouthed Brewing Co. Photo courtesy of Foulmouthed Brewing Co.

Where Are My Pants?
For when you suddenly realize you have a Zoom meeting with your boss in the next 10 minutes.
Find it at: Foulmouthed Brewing in South Portland, $12.99/four-pack (The label design was an art project that the owners and their 6-year-old daughter worked on during lockdown.)
Style: IPA, notes of honeydew melon and citrus, 7% ABV

The Paging Dr. Shahmegranate from Provender Kitchen + Bar Photo courtesy of Provender Kitchen + Bar

Paging Dr. Shahmegranate
For when you’re dining at a restaurant and the guy at the next table starts coughing – and he’s not wearing a mask.
Find it at: Provender Kitchen + Bar, Ellsworth, $11
Ingredients: Vodka, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, Pom juice, house falernum, mixed berry puree, lime, orange bitters

The 6 Feet N’ Chill from Stroudwater Distillery. Photo courtesy of Stroudwater Distillery

6 Feet N’ Chill
Sip on a couple of these while you watch “Tiger King.” You’re going to need it.
Find it at: Stroudwater Distillery in Portland, $32.40 (Each ready-to-drink, cocktail-to-go makes three to four drinks.)
Ingredients: Stroudwater Gin, Blueberry, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, sweet vermouth, lemon.


Essentials Lager from Liquid Riot Photo courtesy of Liquid Riot

The Essentials: Lager
Your friends who are essential workers badly need a break. The least you can do is buy them a four-pack of these beers to say thank you.
Find it at: Liquid Riot in Portland, $10 per four-pack.
Style: Lager, 5% ABV (There was an IPA version too, but it sold out.)  Crispy, snappy, gently hopped, with a subtle lime and herbal character.

The #2020Sucks from Gritty McDuff’s Photo courtesy of Gritty McDuff’s

When you’ve lost your job, you’re suddenly not feeling well, and you’ve watched so many COVID updates you feel like Dr. Shah is your best friend (what’s up, Nirav?), you’ll want to throw back three or four of these while you’re waiting for the locusts to arrive.
Find it at: Gritty McDuff’s, Portland, $8
Ingredients: Vodka, gin, rum, tequila, Blue Curacao and sour mix

The Apocalyptical from Sagamore Hill Lounge Photo courtesy of Sagamore Hill Lounge

Don a hazmat suit, grab your skateboard, and let’s go order one of these.
Find it at: Sagamore Hill Lounge, Portland, $15
Ingredients: Rittenhouse Rye, Fernet Branca, Green Chartreuse, simple syrup, lemon

The label for Virtual Hang, a new beer that will be released in time for July 4 by Foundation Brewing Co. Photo courtesy of Foundation Brewing Co.

Virtual Hang
This beer will be released just before the Fourth of July holiday, in time to celebrate the country’s birthday virtually with all the friends and relatives who would normally be together at a cookout. Skip the indoor fireworks, please.
Find it at: Foundation Brewing Co., Portland
Style: Double IPA

The Quarantined Dude from Gritty McDuff’s Photo courtesy of Gritty McDuff’s

The Quarantined Dude
A White Russian for fans of “The Big Lebowski.” Rent the movie, and make sure you have a pint of MDI Ice Cream’s The Dude in your freezer for later.
Find it at: Gritty McDuff’s, $8
Ingredients: Vodka, Kahlua and milk

The N95 or Bust from Stroudwater Distilling Photo courtesy of Stroudwater Distilling

N95 Or Bust
For toasting health care workers on the front line of the pandemic.
Find it at: Stroudwater Distilling in Portland, $32.40 (Each ready-to-drink, cocktail to-go makes three to four drinks.)
Ingredients: Vespertino, Espolon Blanco Tequila, Campari, Yellow Chartreuse, blueberry

Onward, a new beer from Rising Tide Brewing Co. Photo courtesy of Rising Tide Brewing Co.

For toasting the gradual reopening of Maine’s craft breweries. This beer was brewed specifically to celebrate the reopening of Rising Tide’s patio in June.
Find it at: Rising Tide Brewing Co., Portland, $13/four-pack or $7 pints and $5 pours (10 ounces) at the tasting room.
Style: Double India Pale Ale, 7.3% ABV. Big mango character followed by sweet fruit cup, with a light and spicy bitterness on the finish.

The Cure from Mason Brewing Co. Photo courtesy of Mason Brewing Co.

The Cure
For when you just need to feel better. Drink it with an Aporkalypse pulled pork sandwich from the brewery’s kitchen.
Find it at: Mason Brewing Co., Brewer, $11
Ingredients: Pisco, Campari, honey-lime shrub, grapefruit, red jalapeno, Hawaiian black salt

From left to right: Too Close; Swab Me, Baby; Can’t Touch This; and Mask Off Photo courtesy of The Oak and Table

Mask Off; Can’t Touch This; Too Close; and Swab Me, Baby
For when you’re feeling particularly neurotic and want drinks that fit all of your moods.
Find them at: Oak Table and Bar, Augusta, all $13. These cocktails were recently replaced on the menu with new specials, but bartender Kyle Neilson will make one for you if you ask (a little notice would be nice, too).
Ingredients: Mask Off – Fresh-juiced watermelon, mint, Tito’s
Can’t Touch This – Muddled blackberry, Hardshore Gin, Bully Boy Amaro, Campari, Owl & Whale Cranberry Bitters
Too Close – Muddled blueberry, fresh lime, Don Q Crystal Rum, Owl & Whale Blueberry Bitters
Swab Me, Baby – Fresh mango juice, habanero syrup, jalapeno juice, house-made sour, Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila

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