Cocktail Mary’s Netflix and Chill kit comes with multiple drinks and snacks. Photo courtesy of Cocktail Mary

It’s no secret that the pandemic has forced bars and restaurants to completely reinvent how they do business. First they pivoted to doing takeout, then to-go cocktails (PLEASE let us keep that development long after the pandemic is behind us!), then to socially-distanced outdoor dining. As the end of outdoor dining weather approaches, bar and restaurant owners are working hard not only to maximize their revenue before they must move indoors (which for many means shutting down), but also to find innovative ways of expanding their revenue stream by providing new products and services – and the drinks to go with them.

Take your rum tasting on a boat with Three of Strong’s rum sails. Photo courtesy of Three of Strong

Rum distillery Three of Strong Spirits has been doing rum sales since it opened in East Bayside, but now it also does rum sails. Every other Tuesday at 5 p.m., the distillery gets together with Portland Schooner Company for $69 two-hour sails during which they talk about the history of the rum trade and conduct a tasting of Three of Strong rums. They’re not sure how long the weather will allow them to continue the sails, but they’re definitely planning to do one on Sept. 29. Get tickets at portlandschooner.com/special-events.

Cocktail Mary had been open on Portland’s East End only briefly when the pandemic hit, but luckily owner Isaac MacDougal has one exciting idea after another. The Cocktail Mary website (cocktailmary.com) currently offers a $60 Netflix and Chill kit, available for pickup or delivery, which contains a cocktail for two, a bottle of wine, two cherry vodka shots, the house hummus, trail mix, movie candy and MacDougal’s grandmother Mary’s oyster bites (which he describes as going best with “a very cold vodka martini, a very long cigarette and an absent husband”).  He’s working on putting together another kit that would divide Sundays up into segments differentiated by what you eat and drink during each one, such as a mimosa and a pastry for breakfast, white wine and a nibble for lunch, a classic cocktail such as a Manhattan or a martini along with some local bread and a dip for the apéritif hour, red wine for dinner, and some Jameson nips for after dinner. Now that’s what I call a perfect Sunday!

Pair your farmers basket from Sur Lie with cocktail mixers or wine for a complete meal. Photo courtesy of Sur Lie

Sur Lie has long been a favorite stop for creative cocktails and small plates, but doesn’t have a pandemic-friendly layout, so it had to pivot quickly. Only a few weeks into the pandemic, the Portland restaurant started offering farmers baskets to not only maintain vendor relationships, but also provide value to and remain in touch with its own customers.  There’s a meat and veg option as well as a purely veg option; both come with bread from Standard Baking and a local cheese. Add-on items (which can also be purchased on their own) include fish from SoPo Seafood, ready-to-grill marinated meats, occasional desserts from Chaval’s Ilma Lopez, and some of Sur Lie’s most popular salads. Customers can also add on $6 cocktail mixers (each of the four choices serves four people) as well as opt for a weekly wine pairing (one red and one white curated to go with that week’s basket, complete with tasting notes). Order at sur-lie.com/sur-lie-farmers-basket.

Angie Bryan is a former diplomat who is enjoying getting acquainted with her new home in Portland, one cocktail at a time.


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