Stir it Up!  Vermont Spirits Make the Best Springtime Cocktails

Words by Myra Foster

Unlike white shoes, spirits aren’t really limited to a season.  But springtime does invite us to put a fresh twist on cocktail hour with lighter liquors like vodka, gin and rum.

We’re lucky to live in Vermont where some of the world’s best brews and spirits are crafted;  you are lucky that many of the finest are shipped well beyond our borders.

You may have sampled a selection at Stratton in March when Vermont purveyors were here for Specialty Food Days, or enjoyed one of last winter’s  spirits pairing dinners.   Stay tuned because we have more in the works;   sign up for email and you’ll be first to know.

A few of my Vermont made favorites are SILO Vodka,  Mad River Rum and Barr Hill Gin, especially their which I prefer to drink neat but find that the oak aging and raw honey make for an inspired take on the Dark and Stormy.

Photo courtesy of  Calendonia Spirits

Stormy Cat

1.5 oz Tom Cat Gin

.75 oz Ginger Beer

.25 oz Ginger Simple Syrup

Fill your shaker with ice, add the gin and simple syrup, shake, pour over the rocks, top with ginger beer and serve with a lime wedge.

Honey is a signature ingredient for Caledonia Spirits, the storied distillery set atop Barr Hill Nature Preserve. That view inspires their vision to support the working landscapes at the heart of these Gold Medal gins. You’ll recognize them by the honey bee on the label.

While we may have our standbys, it’s always fun to mix it up with botanicals and seasonal ingredients. Last summer,   I pondered the future of a big bunch of rhubarb at the center of my garden.  It happened to be surrounded by an even bigger patch of mint.  The light bulb went off.  Rhubarb mojito!   And when the strawberries were ripe?  Strawberry rhubarb mojito of course.  Much better than pie.

I’m a fan of Mad River Distillers First Run Rum for my mojito mixing.  Aged with raw cane sugar, it has a distinct flavor that brightens your drink, unlike the heavier,  and more common, molasses based version. With the mantra “Think Globally, Distill Locally,” Mad River’s  catalog also includes award-winning bourbon, rye, and the Maple Cask Rum, which makes one truly tasty Dark and Stormy.

Mad River’s Max Overstrom-Coleman  has created some outstanding cocktails for Ski Vermont and Stratton events, and here’s one of his rum recipes you’ll love.  No umbrella needed.

Photo courtesy of Mad River Distilleries

Mad Hemingway

1 part First Run Rum

1 part grapefruit juice

1 part Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Shake rum, grapefruit juice, and maraschino liquor.  Pour over ice and garnish with a lime.

It’s the ideal accompaniment  to a day on the deck, with a six-toed cat and your first edition of  “The Sun Also Rises.”

While flavored vodkas have been around for a while,  no one does it quite like Silo.

SILO vodka  is a classic example of  the farm-to-barn-to-bottle movement  in the Green Mountain state and I’m looking forward to trying the lavender version.   They had me at foraged lavender flowers. Actually, they had me at 100 percent Vermont corn, gluten free and non-GMO …

This one sounds light and delicious – and you’ll only need a few simple ingredients.

lavendar bottle.jpgSilo Lavender Collins

2 oz. SILO Lavender Vodka
1 oz. Lemon juice
1⁄2 oz. Honey
Soda water

Shake first three ingredients with ice, pour into glass with rocks. Top with soda.

Or how about this one, sure to impress the friends!

Photo courtesy of SILO

Don’t Fret.

1 1⁄2 oz. SILO Lavender Vodka
1 oz. Elderflower liqueur
1⁄2 oz. Elderberry
1⁄4 oz. Lemon juice

Shake on ice until cold. Strain into a  martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

With a few of these new cocktails on my playlist , I’m inspired to find a way to incorporate this summer’s  bumper crop of zucchini.  How about a pickled spear in that Sunday brunch bloody, with your choice of Silo Vodka or maybe swap in some Barr Hill Gin.  Game on!

About the Author | Before veering off into journalism, Myra was a chemistry major  who now loves experimenting with seasonal ingredients, local botanicals and Vermont spirits, mixing them up in a shaker. Or a beaker.

lavendar bottle.jpg

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