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Drink to your health: Portland juice bar offers organic cocktails with a punch

Posted July 24, 2013, at 3:36 p.m.
Last modified July 26, 2013, at 10:14 a.m.
Roost House of Juice owners Kathleen Flanagan and Jeanette Richelson (from left) are bringing a healthy cocktail hour to downtown Portland. This is the shaketini sangria and the governor made with fresh pressed juice and wine.
Kathleen Pierce | BDN
Roost House of Juice owners Kathleen Flanagan and Jeanette Richelson (from left) are bringing a healthy cocktail hour to downtown Portland. This is the shaketini sangria and the governor made with fresh pressed juice and wine. Buy Photo

PORTLAND, Maine — Two yoga instructors walk into a bar.

Ordering a fresh glass of beet, apple and blueberry juice, one turns to the other and says “let’s add some wine.”

The result is the shaktini sangria at Roost House of Juice.

What’s a raw, vegan restaurant doing slipping vino into the V-8? Creating a healthy happy hour in a city with no shortage of watering holes.

“We are helping to promote a balanced lifestyle,” said Kathleen Flanagan, co-owner of Roost House of Juice and a yoga instructor.

The Free Street restaurant has been juicing organic fruits and vegetables for health-conscious customers since it opened last August, but this month, Flanagan and co-owner Jeanette Richelson decided to add some zing to their offerings.

“This was essentially an experiment that went right,” said Flanagan, a former mixologist in Manhattan who added red zinfandel to one of her favorite juice blends and “came up with a new take on sangria.”

These restorative cocktails take the essence of health — think liquid kale, romaine, celery, apples, orange and lemon juice — and add a subtle splash of prosecco served on the rocks (the governor, $10).

“This is the next level. This is what we want people to start enjoying,” Flanagan said.

Inside the relaxing terracotta space with light wood, flickering votive candles and Paul Simon singing through the speakers, Roost feels more like a spa than bar.

“We wanted to provide the opportunity for people who don’t drink to belly up to the bar and have a fancy juice cocktail and have the experience,” said Flanagan.

“Cocktails are anything created with care and enjoyed after a day of working. That’s what we are are doing here.”

Filled with antioxidants and vitamins B and C, Roost’s cocktails are a counterpoint to triple, dirty martinis with extra olives. There are no simple syrups, sugary mixes or corn syrup solids, just fresh produce from local farms topped with sparkling white or red wine.

“You are not only getting your prosecco and red wine, but you are getting the nutrients and minerals and vitamins from fresh-pressed juice,” said Flanagan.

Roost House of Juice at 11 Free St. in Portland holds cocktail hour 5-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Specials, including a drink and a small plate, range from $12 to $15. For information, call 899-4275.

Kathleen Pierce can be reached at kpierce@bangordailynews.com and via Twitter @PierceNews.

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