• Publishers' Note Spring 2013

    Publishers' Note Spring 2013

    Maybe you’ve noticed that the “spirits” of Vermont are on the move and showing up at liquor outlets, farmers’ markets, restaurants—even your friends’ homes—throughout the state. Are they friendly spirits, you ask? You bet! As with local food, Vermont is quickly becoming a state with a flourishing locally distilled spirits industry.

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  • The Story of Bread

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  • Classy Wheat

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  • Set the Table with Maple Mixed Drinks

    Set the Table with Maple Mixed Drinks

    While Vermonters know that maple flows well beyond the breakfast table, we don’t regularly take it behind the bar. So when, at the request of Local Banquet, I started on the quest of tippling the tree, I had some good starting points, but mostly got to invent. Some of the creations were immediately delicious, while others needed to stick to their day jobs.

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  • Down Home Distilling

    Down Home Distilling

    Here’s the first thing you should know about making specialty liquors: cupcake vodka is not made by fermenting cupcakes. Likewise for the cotton candy, cookie dough, whipped cream, and caramel vodkas all lining store shelves today. These trendy varieties are made by adding flavoring after the vodka is distilled; it’s why we can have cocktails that resemble a dessert buffet. For many consumers today, this is the most familiar way to make a vodka stand out from the rest. But it isn’t the only way.

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  • Winemaking in Barre

    Winemaking in Barre

    I was drinking a glass of wine with a colleague when she told me that she and her husband make wine. In a garage. With friends. I was intrigued. I know plenty of people who brew beer in their bathtub (so to speak) but I’d never met anyone who makes wine at home. When I expressed interest, she invited me to join their next winemaking season. So I put a reminder in my Google calendar and eight months later, voila: “Call Marianne about winemaking” popped up.

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  • Vermont Distillers Map

    Vermont Distillers Map

    Vermont is home to a thriving spirits industry. Our in-state distillers are producing a wide variety of products from vodka and maple liqueurs to gin and rye whiskey. Many of them are winning national acclaim and international awards for their fine quality and appealing flavor. A number of the distilleries have their own tasting rooms where the products they make can be sampled and purchased. You may also find local distillers at farmers’ markets, special events, or festivals around the state.

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  • Hopeful on Hemp

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    “Hemp For Victory!” the poster reads.

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  • Farmers' Kitchen—No Kid Left Behind

    Farmers' Kitchen—No Kid Left Behind

    Tannery Farm Cashmeres is a small goat farm located in the Northeast Kingdom. My husband and I breed and raise Spanish goats that produce high-quality cashmere fiber and have healthy, robust bodies. Our focus is breeding for quality cashmere on quality meat goats, with the farm’s primary products being cashmere-producing breeding stock and chevon (goat meat), which is handled through my other company, Vermont Chevon.

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  • Seventy-Two Is Not Thirty-Five

    Seventy-Two Is Not Thirty-Five

    I spent seven hours yesterday at my daughter’s house
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Set the Table with Maple Mixed Drinks

Artesheady Punch

Written By

Claire Fitts Georges

Written on

April 03 , 2013

While Vermonters know that maple flows well beyond the breakfast table, we don’t regularly take it behind the bar. So when, at the request of Local Banquet, I started on the quest of tippling the tree, I had some good starting points, but mostly got to invent. Some of the creations were immediately delicious, while others needed to stick to their day jobs.

•••

The most immediate and obvious way to imbibe with maple is just to swap maple syrup for simple syrup in an existing recipe. Or add a splash of Grade B to your favorite spirit on the rocks. But you can go oh-so-much farther, and contrary to assumption, maple syrup isn’t just for the sweet drinks. My new favorite evening go-to (as of starting this article) is Vermont Sazerac, my New England version of the New Orleans staple. It is herbaceous, sharp, smooth, and scrumptious. The traditional version is made with Peychaud bitters, but in all of my bitters experimentations I keep going back to Vermont’s own Urban Moonshine, made in Burlington. Their organic bitters is hands-down my favorite. (A little goes a long way, so it’s well worth the organic penny.)

Vermont Sazerac

1/2 tsp. absinthe
2 oz. WhistlePig rye whiskey
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. Vermont maple syrup
1/4 tsp. Urban Moonshine bitters
Swirl the absinthe in a rocks glass to coat the glass.
In a shaker, shake the rest of the ingredients with ice and
pour everything into the prepared glass.

Speaking of WhistlePig, a little while back I met the folks from this Shoreham-based whiskey maker at a party and one of them recommended a WhistlePig mixed drink that sounded kind of interesting (in both senses of the word). They didn’t give me ratios or a name for the drink, so I went home and came up with the recipe, while my fiancé came up with the name. This drink is shockingly good and appears to be liked by sweet and savory drinkers alike. It’s a great cocktail to make pre-dinner when you’ve just opened a bottle of red wine to add to the pasta sauce.

Red Whistle

1 oz. WhistlePig rye whiskey
1 oz. red wine
1/2 oz. Vermont maple syrup
1/2 oz. lime (or lemon) juice
Shake everything over ice and pour into a rocks glass.

•••

Bars usually cook up simple syrup in large quantities to have at the ready for many a mixed drink, but we in the maple world have sugar-peeps to do that for us. Still, there are some mixes that benefit from planned preparation. When citrus is in season (during our cold winter months), I now buy bags and bags of the stuff. With a simple hand juicer, I press out fresh lemon, lime, and orange juice to make large batches of maple sours mix. Then I keep mason jars full of the sweet and sour goodness in the back of my fridge for whenever the need arises. 

This delicious variation on the sugary college staple can be added to just about anything. Your favorite distilled spirit + sours is simple and refreshing any time of year. My fiancé has taken to adding it to his rum and Coke in place of a squirt of lime. Meanwhile, my sours-du-jour has become a Gin Sours. There are more types of gin created in our region than of any other spirit besides vodka. That makes this gin lover very happy, but if you’re not a gin lover, I encourage you to take a second taste of our new regional delicacy. Green Mountain Distillers, Caledonia Spirits, and Smugglers’ Notch are making gin in Vermont (with Vermont Spirits Gin coming soon), while Flag Hill Distillery in New Hampshire (not to be confused with Flag Hill Farm in Vershire) is making Karner Blue Gin out of apples, and there is a Quebec flavored gin made just north of the border called Ungava. Mix any of these very different gins with tonic, sours, or just ice and see which becomes your go-to. 

Maple Sours Mix

juice of 2 lemons (1/2 cup)
juice of 2 limes (1/2 cup)
juice of one large orange (1/2 cup)
1 cup Vermont maple syrup
Mix all the ingredients together and store for later use.

Before we leave the tastiness of homemade maple sours behind, I have to mention a delicious drink that you could totally defend as a health tonic. At a recent delicious dinner at Montpelier’s Kismet restaurant, I was introduced to the Kombuchita. I immediately needed to re-create it at home so I could partake at a moment’s notice. 

Kombuchita

4 oz. kombucha (cranberry or your
favorite flavor)
1 oz. Vermont maple sours
1 oz. tequila
Mix all ingredients and pour over ice.

•••

My friend Helen was tasked with writing a companion article to this one, so we decided that we needed to have a “work meeting” to “collaborate.” Yes, that did mean creating many, many mixed drinks with maple, and in this experimentation we came up with some surprisingly yummy drinks. One I wasn’t expecting to like was the Artesheady Punch. Beer doesn’t always belong as a mixer, but the Alchemist’s famously good Heady Topper out of Waterbury rises to the task. Artesano is a meadery in Groton with a well-honed palate. I’ve been creating many mixed drinks with the various flavors of their local honey mead.

Artesheady Punch

4 oz. Heady Topper
2 oz. Artesano original mead
1/2 oz. Vermont maple syrup
Mix all ingredients with ice and for an added flare, pour into a glass rimmed with cocoa powder and cinnamon. 

Another mead-inspired favorite that I’ve named the Mt. Mansfield Sunrise is tart, sweet, and refreshing. Or you could stay on the Heady Topper side of things and go with the drink that Helen named Unethical, for how good and easy to drink it is.

Mt. Mansfield Sunrise

3 oz. Artesano cranberry mead
1 oz. Green Mountain Distillers
orange vodka
1/2 oz. Vermont maple syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and enjoy. 

Unethical

1 can cold Heady Topper
1 oz. Vermont maple syrup
1 oz. Vermont vodka
Stir all ingredients together in a tall beer glass. 

•••

Sometimes you just need to go a little crazy and mix in a bit of everything. Fortunately, Vermont is producing a greater and greater variety of spirits, which give us more room for creativity and the ability to create this “everything” drink that I named with geography in mind.

Grand Isle Iced Tea

1 oz. Green Mountain Distillers gin
1 oz. Flag Hill Farm’s Pomme De Vie
1 oz. Vermont maple syrup
1 oz. Green Mountain Distillers orange vodka
1 oz. WhistlePig rye whiskey
1 oz. Smugglers’ Notch rum cola
Shake all ingredients, except cola, with ice. Pour, with the ice, into a glass and top with cola to taste.

And when the holidays come around again, or whenever your chickens or your neighbor’s chickens are happily popping out eggs, I wholeheartedly recommend this eggnog.

Maple Eggnog

8 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
8 eggs yolks, beaten until light
1 cup Vermont maple syrup
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup aged rum
1/4 cup Cointreau or Triple Sec
1 1/4 cup cream
1 3/4 cup milk
Whisk all ingredients together and store in mason jars in the fridge until ready for use, keeping in mind that this mixture includes raw eggs. As the air settles out, the mixture will decrease in volume.

So, imbibe in maple, tipple the tree, and take a little sap behind the bar. This centuries-old local sweetener is primed for your post-Prohibition pleasure.

About the Author

Claire Fitts Georges

Claire Fitts Georges

Claire Fitts Georges is the owner of Butterfly Bakery of Vermont, a mom of two wee ones, and a recipe developer in Montpelier.

Check out her recipe blog at Goodgrub.ButterflyBakeryVT.com.

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Home Stories Issues 2013 Spring 2013 | Issue 24 Set the Table with Maple Mixed Drinks