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Festive Cocktail (And Mocktail) Recipes From VPR Underwriters

Aqua ViTea's 'Brave Little State' Holiday Cocktail is a festive, delicious and easy-to-make cocktail.
Aqua ViTea's 'Brave Little State' Holiday Cocktail is a festive, delicious and easy-to-make cocktail.

To provide some much-needed cheer to this season, the VPR Corporate Support team invited our underwriters in Vermont’s restaurant and beverage industry to share their favorite craft cocktails and mocktails. We hope you enjoy learning how some local pros create their beverages and they inspire you to toast the upcoming new year with your favorite.
Bistro de Margot, Burlington: The Paris Correspondent (Lemongrass Martini)
Contributed by Chef Hervé Mahé

Lemongrass sorbet can be purchased at Bistro de Margot or substitute lemon or lime sorbet with a sprig of tarragon for herbal scent.

2 oz Ketel One Vodka
1 oz Hendricks Gin
Shake, pour on top of lemongrass sorbet in a martini glass.

Vermont Division of Liquor Control: Maple Bourbon Mudslide
Contributed by Theresa Burrows in collaboration with Boyden Valley Winery

2 oz. Vermont Ice Maple Bourbon Creme 
1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Kahlua

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake well and strain into rocks glass.

Frozen mudslide alternative: add one cup of ice in a blender to ingredients, blend, pour half into glass, add a layer of chocolate syrup, top off glass with remainder.

The Green Mountain Mule by SILO Distillery.
Credit Courtesy / SILO Distillery
SILO Distillery
The Green Mountain Mule by SILO Distillery.

Silo Distillery, Windsor: SILO Green Mountain Mule
Contributed by Chelsea Mojallali in collaboration with Mark Addison, author of Cocktail Chameleon.

Vermaro is available to order from but can be substituted with your favorite amaro.

1.5 oz. SILO Vodka
.5 oz. SILO Vermaro 
.5 oz. fresh lime juice
Bar spoon of your favorite Vermont maple syrup
Ginger Beer

Add vodka, Vermaro, lime juice and maple syrup to a shaker with ice. 

Shake hard to break down the maple syrup. Strain into a glass with fresh ice. Top with ginger beer. Optional: garnish with candied ginger.

Aqua ViTea, Middlebury: Aqua ViTea ‘Vermont Edition’ Mocktail
Contributed by Peter White

Aqua ViTea's “Vermont Edition Mocktail'' is the perfect drink for cooler months. Aqua ViTea’s Tumeric Sunrise flavor offers the perfect pairing for maple. WIth a smooth start and a spicy finishing kick, the earthy beverage's bright and bubbly notes provide the perfect contrast to rich maple, creating a satisfying and special “mocktail” beverage.

Aqua ViTea's 'Vermont Edition' mocktail.
Credit Courtesy / Aqua ViTea
Aqua ViTea
Aqua ViTea's 'Vermont Edition' mocktail.

4 oz. Aqua ViTea Turmeric Sunrise Kombucha
4 oz. Sap! Maple Soda
Garnish: Fruit and herbs of your choice

Pour Aqua ViTea Kombucha and maple soda into a glass over ice. Garnish with fruit or herbs. We recommend range slices, berries, and a stick of cinnamon for added color and festive flavor!

Aqua ViTea:Brave Little State’ Holiday Cocktail
Contributed by Peter White

The “Brave Little State Holiday Cocktail" is a festive, delicious, and easy-to-make cocktail. AfterGlow's Apricot Dream hard kombucha is the perfect pairing to vodka. Garnished with festive fruit and herbs for an aesthetically-pleasing sipper.

4 oz. AfterGlow Apricot Dream Hard Kombucha
4 oz. Your Favorite Vodka
Garnish: Fruit and herbs of your choice

Pour AfterGlow Hard Kombucha and vodka into a glass over ice. Garnish with fruit or herbs. We recommend orange slices, berries, and a stick of cinnamon for added color and festive flavor.

Caledonia Spirits, Montpelier: Friday Night Fizz
Contributed by Sam Nelis, Barr Hill Beverage Director

Our tribute to Ray Vega and Friday Night Jazz!

Caledonia Spirits' 'Friday Night Fizz.'
Credit Courtesy / Caledonia Spirits
Caledonia Spirits
Caledonia Spirits' 'Friday Night Fizz.'

1.5 oz. Barr Hill Vodka
0.5 oz. Branca Menta
1 oz. cream
.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
.75 oz. Maple Syrup Syrup (two parts maple syrup, one part water)
Whole egg
Soda water

Into a chilled, empty collins glass pour soda water 1/4 of the way up. Combine other ingredients into mixing tin, shake without ice for 30 seconds, then shake with ice for 15.

Slowly strain into the glass. It will fizz up, stop pouring when it almost reaches the top.

Wait 2 minutes, now slowly pour the rest of it through the middle of the foam. The foam should slowly rise up over the glass. Serve without garnish nor straw.

Three Penny Taproom, Montpelier: An Eye On This Guy
Contributed by Wes Hamilton

1.5 oz. Barr Hill Gin
.5 oz. Creme de Violette
.25 oz. Lillet
.25 oz. Orgeat syrup
Squeeze of lemon

Pour ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.Serve with a lemon twist, and a wink!

Guild Tavern, South Burlington: The Olde Checkered House
Contributed by MK Daley

The OCH has been on our cocktail list since day one. There is a seasonality to cocktails. Given that this is a bourbon drink, one would think of the cooler months. However the crispness makes it work in the summer as well. A very complex cocktail that works well with Guild Tavern cuisine.

1.5 oz. Bourbon
.5 oz. Amaro Abano
.5 oz. Honey Syrup
.5 oz. Lemon Juice
3 dashes of orange bitters
8(ish) drops of lavender tincture

Shake ingredients over ice and double strain.

Hotel Vermont, Burlington: Sweater Weather
Contributed by Kate Wise 

This general crowd pleaser includes ingredients from three amazing Vermont producers and is super easy to batch out for smaller groups. The Sweater Weather feels like the hug we all need right now.

1.5 oz. Mad River Distillers Maple Cask Rum
1 oz. Cold Hollow Cider apple cider
.5 oz rich Demerara syrup (two parts Demerara sugar, 1 part water)
.5-1 Tbsp. Ploughgate Cultured Butter
Half pinch of salt
Optional: 3 drops Fig & Cinnamon Bitters

Combine all ingredients in your favorite mug. Top with hot water and finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

ZenBarn, Waterbury Center: The Mary Jane
Contributed by Ari Fishman

This cocktail is a mellow winter warmer. Local Barr Hill honey can be purchased at most liquor stores with the vodka.

1.5 oz. Barr Hill vodka
1 oz. local honey simple syrup with Zenbarn Farms Mocha Mint CBD oil*
1 Tbsp.matcha green tea powder
Hot water 
Whipped cream 

Rinse mug with hot water to warm. Add vodka, CBD syrup & matcha in a large mug. Top with piping hot water; stir to combine. Garnish with whipped cream and matcha green tea powder.

*CBD syrup: bring 1 cup water and 1 cup Barr Hill honey to boil in a saucepan. Stir until honey dissolves. Add 500-1500 mg. of Zen Barn Farms Mocha Mint CBD oil, depending on desired strength. Stir to combine. Let cool and store in a tightly sealed jar refrigerated for up to 4 weeks. Shake well before using.

A Single Pebble, Burlington: Sazerac du Fourrage
Contributed by Jim Martin

.5 oz. Fernet-Branca
2 oz. WhistlePig 10 Year Rye Whiskey
2 Dashes Coastal Roots Husk Cherry Bitters or any cherry bitters
2 Spritz Alice & the Magician Citrus Blossom Harvest Aromatic Mist
Lemon Twist

Pour .5 oz. of Fernet-Branca in a small rocks glass and swirl to coat the glass. Pitch (or drink - waste not, want not) Fernet-Branca.

In a cocktail shaker, measure 2 oz. WhistlePig 10 Year Rye Whiskey and 2 dashes of Coastal Roots Husk Cherry bitters, over one cube of sugar. Allow sugar to partially dissolve.

Add ice to mixture and stir using a chopstick. Strain ice out over Fernet-Branca coated glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and top with 2 spritzes of Alice and the Magician Citrus Harvest Aromatic mix.

Lesli worked at Vermont Public from 2012 through 2023 on the development team.
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