The crafted winter cocktail

By Julia Donnini

In a state plush with artisanal spirits, the use of local ingredients now extends beyond food on the plate. One tilt of the glass reveals local appertifs and handcrafted infusions. Green Mountain farms, breweries, and distilleries use careful, collective hands to ensure quality and spunk down to the very last sip. Even local berries and the state’s much-sought maple often sneak in to the equation. With endless panache, this chilly season’s bartenders tip Vermont ingredients into their house-made sodas and bitters—a perfect antidote to the season’s nip.

During the warmer months, the streets bustle with an urgency to bask in the sun. Accordingly, patios spring from restaurant fronts like pop-up picture books. But as the pavement fluffs with fresh snow, friends and couples flutter indoors. In this haven, local restaurants are embracing the use of Vermont-made, artisanal ingredients. With one sip, any locovore’s tongue will sing the praises of the well-crafted spirit’s ability to soothe.

Such innovation on the beverage menu finds self-made sodas easing their way in to the dining experience. Simultaneously simple and sophisticated, the task can take as little as one day. Some of the best additions can be picked straight from the garden. And with raspberries on the bush well into October, a frozen bunch can be easily thawed. This fruity treat is the ideal addition to a ready mason jar. Similarly, ginger complements almost any effervescent tonic.

True artists of the glass, Vermont-based distilleries utilize the environment with an inspired sense of responsibility. Some distilleries in the state incorporate maple into the typically tropical rum. Others tweak the simple delight of gin using the sweet work of bees. Like the pies on your grandmother’s windowsill, local haunts promise to sweeten and warm your day with one spicy swallow of comfort and cold-weather courage.

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