By in Uncategorized Comments Off on Bartender Spotlight Series: Kate Wise of Juniper Bar at Hotel VT

Bartender Spotlight Series: Kate Wise of Juniper Bar at Hotel VT

“For the love of god please refrigerate your vermouth!”. That was the one thing Kate Wise of Juniper Bar at Hotel Vermont wanted to make sure I put in this piece about her, so there you go Kate!

It was a warm and sunny Wednesday in October when myself and Josh, our Burlington Tasting Room Manager, went to go visit Kate Wise, a Bartender at Juniper Bar located at Hotel Vermont. A rustic and modern home away from home nestled in downtown Burlington, VT overlooking beautiful Lake Champlain. They’re known for their cocktail program that is oriented around using local ingredients. They pride themselves on stocking their bar with the finest craft spirits from all over the state of Vermont. Patrons will find Rum, Whiskey, Brandy, Gin, Vodka, and more, all produced in our little state alone. Look closer at their cocktail menu and you’ll see that the ingredients paired with the spirits are also locally sourced, coming from Vermont farmers, foragers, and other producers. They really do stay true to their mission of highlighting the finest products in Vermont, and do a great job of it. One of our favorite cocktails currently on the menu is their ‘Sweater Weather’. It features our Maple Cask Rum, Ploughgate Creamery Butter and Cold Hollow Cider. It’s a perfect concoction of local ingredients that will warm you up during this cold Winter. We are fortunate enough to have a great relationship with Juniper Bar, and have almost every single one of our spirits on their bar shelves. Therefore it was a no brainer to go visit our friends there and ask them what their favorite Mad River Cocktails were!

A PX Rum Negroni

When we arrived it was pretty quiet, meaning we had Kate all to ourselves. We sat down at the copper bar and said our hellos to the staff and then got right to the point; we asked Kate to make us her favorite cocktail using one of our spirits. Without hesitating she chose to make a PX Rum Negroni. The PX Rum happens to be my personal favorite spirit of ours, therefore I was very excited for her to make something with it. The PX Rum is distilled from Fair Trade Demerara Cane sugar, aged in oak barrels for 6 months, and aged in PX sherry barrels for another 6 months. The result is a nutty, fruity, and subtly smokey spirit that currently claims our highest award, a Double Gold Medal from the World Spirits Competition in San Francisco.

We decided to take the photoshoot and interview outside since it was such a nice day. Out on the hotel patio she started pouring the ingredients into her mixing glass while I started to snap photos, and she started to share the story of how this cocktail came to fruition. It was actually inspired by one of her favorite patrons, Kim, a familiar patron at our own Burlington Tasting Room as well. Kim has been a fan of ours almost since day one, so it’s no wonder she went into a local bar asking for a cocktail specifically using the PX Rum. She asked for it to be boozy, a little bit bitter, but still smooth on the palette, and the answer was a PX Rum Negroni. The ingredients included the PX Rum, Campari, and Dolin Rouge. The Campari provides the bitter component, the Dolin Rouge adds spice notes, and the PX Rum adds that little bit of sweetness to balance it all out. It was the perfect cocktail for a Fall day, but I honestly would have it any time of year. I had Kate pose with her creation, and from the pictures you can really tell that she loves what she does, and is just super photogenic it’s almost unfair.

Kate is the kind of Bartender that usually gravitates towards making classic cocktails with her own twist on them. She has been bartending for over 17 years but has been with Juniper for only a short time. She absolutely loves working there because of the people she’s with every day. The team there is great; they are supportive, fun and love what they do. She also enjoys the customers she gets to meet everyday; they come from all over the world and share their stories and ask all about Vermont. On the side she has her own business where she teaches private cocktail classes and does consulting. We definitely recommend a visit to Hotel Vermont or booking her for a class. She will be able to stir you up the perfect drink that you are looking for without hesitating.

Written by Isabelle Federico, Marketing and Communications Coordinator

By in Uncategorized Comments Off on Bartender Spotlight Series: Emily Morton of Deli 126

Bartender Spotlight Series: Emily Morton of Deli 126

Have you discovered what’s inside the walk-in yet?

Located at 126 College Street is Burlington Speakeasy Deli 126. Step through the freezer door and inside you will discover a bustling cocktail lounge filled with soft jazz music, the sound of cocktails being shaken, and patrons enjoying the libations (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) made by the excellent Bartenders. Opened in April of 2018, Deli 126 has quickly become a staple watering hole in Burlington. You will even find other local Bartenders there, among the other customers, enjoying their time off the clock. With a great cocktail menu, draft list, wine and cider options, as well as a Temperance Menu, Deli 126 has something for everyone. Events like movie marathons, food pop-ups, jam sessions, and live music round out the great experiences that they provide for the community.

The manager of this wonderful bar is none other than Emily Morton, 2019 Vermont Bartender of the Year. Emily describes herself as one part Bartender and one part historic preservationist (she earned a degree in this field!). She loves researching how the history of food and drink trends have evolved and shaped our world over the years, and what that means for current trends. She is always curious about learning more from the past so that she can apply them to the present. One passion of hers is to curate a menu at Deli that caters towards people who don’t drink alcohol, but still want the ability to go out and socialize and enjoy a delicious beverage. A lot of the people around her choose not to drink so she wanted to provide a whole menu of options for them. Using ingredients like brewed tea, distilled non-alcoholic spirits and homemade shrubs, she has been able to create an impressive array of Temperance Cocktails available at the bar.

She of course is still a very big fan of creating cocktails with alcoholic spirits. Given her curiosity about cocktails in the 20s, and the theme of Deli, she is steered towards classic cocktails using traditional ingredients. Being based in Vermont though, where Vermont-produced ingredients are plentiful, she always tries to incorporate them onto the menu. Being a big fan of our Bourbon Whiskey, she wanted to use our spirit in one of her original cocktails for the current menu.

The Donchester Arrow

Located in one of the bathrooms of the bar is a framed print depicting ‘The Donchester Arrow’, a type of evening shirt that was popular back in the 20s and worn by many men who ventured into speakeasies. Under the image it reads; ‘immaculate and in its place’, describing the classic and everlasting nature of the style. This quote is what specifically inspired Emily to create The Donchester Arrow cocktail. She wanted to create something that could withstand the test of time, that used old and new techniques, and included ingredients that haven’t been more widely used since the 20s. She decided to base the framework of her cocktail off of THE classic cocktail, The Old Fashioned. Known as the ‘original cocktail’ this drink is one of few that has certainly stood the test of time. It is still widely consumed to this day, and is the inspiration for other cocktails. Emily knew she also wanted to use sherry as one of the ingredients because it was used regularly in cocktails in the 20s, but hasn’t made quite the comeback since then. She’s a fan of the nutty flavor and rich taste they bring to cocktails, and the fact that they pair well with Bourbon, the traditional spirit used in Old Fashioneds. Our Bourbon Whiskey in particular is a mash of corn, wheat barley and oats, and is aged for about 1.5 years in new oak barrels. Due to the amount of corn in the mash, the finished spirit is extremely smooth on the palate with a distinct corn sweetness.

After tinkering with different ratios, Sherrys, and other complimentary ingredients, she finally nailed down the recipe. The Donchester Arrow includes our Bourbon Whiskey, Amontillado sherry, Asuncion Oloroso Sherry, Angostura Bitters, and Demerara sugar. Upon first sip you immediately get the rich, nutty flavor of the sherry, but roll it around on your tongue and you can taste the distinct flavor of our bourbon. The bitters and the sugar balance everything nicely in the end so that it all goes down smoothly. With this cocktail Emily certainly was able to bring old and new together. With the ingredients, methods, and flavors, she brought a classic 20s cocktail to the 21st century to be enjoyed.

Be sure to visit Emily Morton and her team at Deli 126 for delicious libations (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), great local music, and a great atmosphere to hang out in.


Written by Isabelle Federico, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

By in Uncategorized Comments Off on Win a pair of ski tickets!

Win a pair of ski tickets!

Did you know that March is traditionally the biggest snowfall month of the season in Vermont? 

Do you want to ski for free? Mad River Distillers is giving away pairs of tickets to some of Vermont's best mountains! 

To win a pair of tickets: 

  1. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook and post your best Mad River Distillers inspiration picture.
  2. Tag Mad River Distillers and your mountain of choice; Sugarbush, Mad River Glen or Okemo
  3. Include the hashtag #true802

 Winners selected on Friday, March 2. Good luck!  

#madeinVT #craftdistilling #skiVT #rideVT #true802 #madrivervalley