One of the comfortable seating options at Batson River’s Biddeford location. Photos by Angie Bryan

I don’t spend much time in the Biddeford area, but now when I do, I know I’ll have a place to hang out, especially when I’m seeking some holiday cheer: Batson River just debuted a new location at the bottom of the recently opened Lincoln Hotel, a luxurious boutique hotel in an old mill in Biddeford.

The hotel is beautifully decorated to begin with, but Batson River once again takes it to the next level with its Holiday Camp décor. The spacious bar and restaurant has a wide variety of comfortable seating options, a cozy fireplace, a game room and a long bar area with purse hooks underneath. Holiday music plays at a reasonable volume, the lighting is perfect for a date or for people having a bad skin day, and the service was excellent, with everyone we encountered seeming really happy to be there.

I entered in a bit of a cranky mood after a series of things had gone wrong in my day. Even before I sat down, I was already feeling better, and things only improved from there.

Holiday Camp includes a seasonal cocktail menu, some of which can be found at all of four of Batson’s locations (Pecan Old Fashioned, it’s good to see you again!), but four of which (all priced at $15) are unique to the Biddeford one. They are: the Charlie Brown (Clock Farm vodka, house-made gingerbread syrup, Coco Lopez cream of coconut and nutmeg), the Kevin McCallister (Langsford Road bourbon, mulled syrup, egg, oat milk and cinnamon sugar), the Snowmiser (glittered Amado 33 agave spirit, Combier orange liqueur, white cranberry and lime), and the Tinseltini (Riparian gin, Clock Farm vodka, Prosecco and Lillet Blanc, a French aromatized aperitif wine).

Batson River is both a brewery and a distillery, and many of the spirits served are its own. Some tough choices had to be made, but my drinking companion and I were up to the challenge. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, there is also a Heatmiser cocktail on the menu, available at all locations: house-spiced Dixie Bull rum, habanero syrup, cranberry syrup and ginger beer.

Charlie Brown, front, and Tinseltini cocktails at Batson River’s Biddeford location.

My friend opted for the Tinseltini, essentially a Vesper with bubbles added. Unable to resist the lure of gingerbread syrup, I succumbed to the Charlie Brown. Santa, if you’re listening, please bring me a bottle of that syrup. It was a revelation. My friend’s cocktail was lovely, but mine was glorious – perfectly balanced and not cloyingly sweet like some holiday cocktails. Both our drinks arrived in specialty martini glasses imprinted with a holly design, hers with cranberry garnishes and mine with a skewer of mini gumdrops.


We ordered way too much food for two people, including one of the signature pizzas, a $17 enormous thin crust sausage pizza with garlic chili oil, rosemary, pear, grana (a hard mature Italian cheese), bacon, shallot and Taleggio cheese. We also loved the polenta fries, the seared broccolini and the duck fat cornbread with maple butter, which we were pleased to see was among the $5 happy hour specials. Happy hour runs from 4-6 p.m. on weekdays and 2-5 p.m. on weekends, with all draft beers, wines and ciders priced at $5.

Holiday Camp also involves a series of themed evenings. Mondays are for reindeer games, including Christmas Cribbage. On Tuesdays, anyone in holiday gear receives 10% off their bill. On Wednesdays, they show classic Christmas movies; on Thursdays, Batson River donates $1 from every cocktail and beer sold from their holiday menu to Community of Caring; and on the weekends, there’s a holiday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Holiday Camp runs until New Year’s. For more details, go to

Retired diplomat Angie Bryan writes about Maine’s cocktail bars while making as many puns as her editor allows.

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: