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The Spirits of Fall
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Maine Distilleries Create Cocktails to Reflect Local Harvest

As mayor of Portland in 1851, prohibition advocate Neal Dow lobbied the Maine state legislature to ban alcohol sales for all but medicinal, mechanical, and manufacturing purposes. In 1858, he gained a seat in the legislature and continued to agitate for stricter prohibition laws. In 1880, Maine Republicans refused to pass more anti-alcohol legislation, and Dow quit the party to join the Prohibitionists and be their presidential candidate in that year’s election. While Dow lost to James Garfield, the legislation he worked to enact set the stage for a countrywide debate on the topic of temperance until the 21stAmendment was ratified in 1933, bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol in America.


Dow might frown upon the fact that the Maine Distillers Guild stands 20 strong in 2020. We, on the other hand, celebrate the Maine-sourced agave, bourbon, fruit brandy, gin, maple liqueur, rum, rye, vodka, and whisky being distilled as far south as York, north to Etna, and east to Gouldsboro. We asked guild members to send us the recipes for their favorite fall sippers. 


Cuddly Cabin

Recipe submitted by Round Turn Distilling, Biddeford


1 ounce Round Turn Distilling Bimini BR1

1 ounce Aperol

1 ounce unsweetened cranberry juice

2 dashes black walnut bitters

Glass: rocks

Garnish: grapefruit peel


Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Place 1 large cube of ice in a rocks glass. Strain cocktail into glass. Express the oils of a grapefruit peel into the drink and drop the peel in as the garnish.


Hibernating Honey Bear

Recipe submitted by Wiggly Bridge Distillery, York


2 ounces Wiggly Bridge Bourbon

¾ ounce honey sage simple syrup (recipe below)

Glass: rocks

Garnish: orange peel, sage leaf


Add all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice, cover, and shake for 15–20 seconds. Place 1 large cube of ice in a rocks glass. Strain cocktail into glass. Rub the rim of the glass with orange peel and drop it into the drink. Clap the sage leaf between your hands to activate the oils and lay the leaf on top of the cocktail.


Honey Sage Simple Syrup: 

Combine 1 cup water, ½ cup honey, and 10 sage leaves in a small saucepan. Place pan over medium heat, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and strain.


Maine Leaf Peeper

Recipe submitted by Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery, Union


4 ounces dry hard apple cider

1 ounce Sweetgrass's Maple Smash (a Maine maple liqueur)

Glass: martini

Garnish: apple peel

Combine cider and Maple Smash in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with apple peel.


Salted Cider Mule

Recipe submitted by Tree Spirits Winery & Distillery, Oakland

Recipe created by Meagan Kaarto, Beverage Manager at Nonantum Resort, Kennebunkport


1 ounce Tree Spirits Applejack
1 ounce Stolichnaya Salted Karamel Vodka
2 ounces apple cider
Maine Root Ginger Beer
Glass: copper mug

Garnish: sea salt, cinnamon stick

Rim one side of a copper mug with sea salt. Add Applejack, vodka, and apple cider to mug. Add enough ice to nearly fill the mug. Float 1–2 ounces ginger beer to top of cocktail. Garnish with cinnamon stick.


Wry Smile

Recipe submitted by New England Distilling, Portland


2 ounces New England Gunpowder Rye

1 ounce pear juice

½ ounce lemon juice

¼ ounce sesame orgeat syrup

Glass: martini


Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker, cover, and shake for 15–20 seconds. Strain into a martini glass.

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