The Ultimate Maine Bar Cart
Elevate your spirits this holiday season with a curated selection of Maine-made liquors that belong on the top shelf.
Between the pandemic era shift to at-home cocktail hours and the recent boom in new distilleries across the state, this holiday season is the perfect time to upgrade your bar cart selection. Whether you’re a novice entertainer or a professional mixologist, we’d like to offer a 2-0-7 twist that will make your inventory deliciously one-of-a-kind. Try one of the recipes below—or concoct your own—snap a picture, and tag @themainemag on social media!
Tree Spirits Knotted Maple
While there are a few micro-distillers producing maple-flavored spirits, Tree Spirits Knotted Maple is different because it’s made from the Central Maine winery and distillery’s popular Maple Picnic Wine. Using syrup from Bacon Farm in Sidney, the 80-proof spirit fits the rich flavor profile of a true brandy and is delicious on its own, but click here to check out their recipe collaboration with Vena’s Fizz House.
Hot tip: Tree Spirits is the only absinthe distillers in New England, so be sure to grab a bottle of the green, aniseed-flavored spirit while you’re at it.
Three of Strong Acadian Rum
Three of Strong is a values-driven distillery in Portland that emerged from a conversation between two friends while sipping rum. The brand’s sustainable and inclusive practices reflect its values, which include protecting Maine’s natural resources, agriculture, and communities. Their rums are made with 100 percent organic evaporated cane syrup, molasses, and yeast, and pure water from Sebago Lake. The bright and citrusy Acadian white rum is distilled from cold-pressed sugarcane juice and has zero artificial flavorings or colors. Not sure how to mix it? Check out their cocktail recipes here!
Cold River Potato Vodka
Triple-distilled using Maine potatoes and water from its namesake Cold River, this award-winning vodka is gluten-free and perfectly refined, making it ideal for a premium quality martini or whatever vodka-made beverage your heart desires. Craving something savory? We recommend trying the Stonewall Kitchen Legal Sea Foods Down East Bloody Mary Mix.
Blueshine Blueberry Liquor
Blueshine is crafted by hand at Maine Craft Distilling in Portland. Made from Maine barley, the grain is fermented in a large wooden fermenter and then run through a copper still. Once the “shine” is ready, they add in Maine wild blueberries and a subtle helping of Maine maple syrup. Blueshine makes the perfect addition to a refreshing, ice-cold lemonade, a combo Maine Craft Distilling sells at the ready at their public house, on their website, and at stores across Maine.
Allen’s Coffee Brandy
Did you think we would forget this Pine Tree State classic? Rooted in Maine heritage and tradition, Allen’s Coffee Brandy first earned its popularity among fishermen who’d put hair on their chests every morning with a swig of the coffee-flavored liquor. Now, Allen’s is the number one selling spirit in all of Maine. They even sell collectible ceramics in the shape of famous Maine lighthouses, only available for purchase at select liquor stores. Here in Portland, we recommend Bow Street Beverage.
Hardshore is a distilling company that expands how we think about gin by experimenting with new tastes and textures. Released in 2016, their flagship product Hardshore Original Gin is crafted from their own family-grown grain, with water sourced directly from Sebago Lake. The gin itself is flavored with fresh rosemary and mint, giving it a leafy-green profile.
Check out owner Jordan Mine’s exclusive Grapefruit Sage Collins recipe below, which features Hardshore Original Gin. The drink strikes the perfect balance between complexity and simplicity, using ingredients that are easily sourced at your local grocery store.
1 ½ oz. Hardshore Original Gin
1 oz. of sage simple syrup*
¾ oz. fresh grapefruit juice
Combine gin, syrup, and grapefruit juice.
Top with seltzer.
Garnish with grapefruit wedge and sage sprig.
*To make sage simple syrup, blanch one bunch of sage in boiling water for 10 seconds and immediately cool in ice water. Blend with 1 cup of simple syrup and strain.
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