Our apre ski columnist reviews the best local spirits to try after a glorious day of Vermont skiing.
By Katie Nichols
Maple syrup, ski resorts, craft beer, artisan cheeses, cows – all common thoughts when you say Vermont. What about craft distilleries? Everyone covets the hand-made, locally crafted, ‘from me to you’ concept these days, especially in Vermont and why not extend it to whiskeys, vodkas, and other spirits that people have a taste for.
Blue bird conditions always make us happy in Vermont., even when its freezing, at least the sun is there to shine on our faces. Those picture perfect ski days, (hopefully not bulletproof) deserve the right cocktail to celebrate because lets face it…we aren’t in Colorado with 300 days of sunlight. Bring on the Sunshine. Green Mountain Distillers have been around since 2002 producing vodka, gin and delicious maple liqueur all with 100% certified organic grain. Not only are they crafted meticulously but are then distilled six times producing pure high quality spirits. Celebrate your perfect day with a perfect dose of Vermont known as the Sunshine Mapletini; Sunshine Vodka, Green Mountain Organic Maple Liqueur, and a little Maple Sugar for pizzazz! If the –tinis aren’t your style, try adding a splash of bubbles with a Sunshine Turbosa; Sunshine Vodka, Champagne, Orange Liqueur, and Orange Juice.
In the wave of new distillers, Smugglers’ Notch Distillery from Jeffersonville, VT is coming in hot! A father and son team are producing it all with award-winning Vodka, true distilled Gin, single-barrel extra aged amber Rum and a new straight Bourbon Whiskey. Select any of these for your Après cocktails and you can’t go wrong. When you ski in Vermont you always will endure the days of brutal winds and crippling cold. Nothing like a bit of Bourbon to thaw you out….and even better a hot toddie to melt the icicles dangling from your nose. Try this favorite known as ‘End of Time’ from Prohibition Pig; 2 oz. Bourbon, 0.5 oz Maple Syrup, 0.25 oz Apple Cider Vinegar, 3 dashes of Pechaud’s bitters, 6.5 oz. hot water, star anise, and flamed orange peel. Maybe now you’ll enjoy tea-time!
Now whether you’re celebrating your awesome day or trying to thaw out your toes, everyone loves a fun new drink. Sometimes you just need a little extra to jazz up your favorite cocktails. Caledonia Spirits, while known for their incredible Barr Hill Gin and Vodka, also produce the Elderberry Cordial- a great addition to cocktails or your glass of bubbly! Other great mixers– Eden Ice Cider, Eden Ice Orleans, Green Mountain Distillers Maple Liqueur, etc.
Après or not, these locally crafted spirits are worth the taste. Just ask your bartender…maybe they have another specialty cocktail for your après needs as well!