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Cocktail Recipes That Support Local Business

At Mad River Distillers, we ferment, distill and bottle all of our spirits right in our home state of Vermont. Supporting other local businesses, and helping to grow our economy, is very important to us. There are so many amazing products made here that we are always excited to incorporate local ingredients in our cocktail recipes.

Below, we wanted to share some of our favorite cocktail recipes using other Vermont-made products:


If you’re a fan of Sazeracs, this cocktail will pleasantly surprise you, because instead of using a traditional rye whiskey, we use our Vanilla Rum. For the Absinthe in this recipe, we use Absinthe Arcana, which starts as a locally prepared herb kit you can find at our Burlington Tasting Room. To make it, you combine 13 oz. of a spirit (we recommend First Run Rum) with the herbs in the kit, set it aside in a closed container, then wait 10 hours. Afterwards, strain the herbs from the spirit and you have your very own locally-made absinthe.

Ingredients - Yields 1 Cocktail
-2 oz. of Vanilla Rum
-1/2 oz. of simple syrup (we use Demerara sugar simple syrup)
-4-6 dashes of Strongwater Creole Bitters
-Spritz of Absinthe (we used Absinthe Arcana)

In a mixing glass, add the rum, simple syrup and Creole Bitters. Spritz a rocks glass with Absinthe, or add a few drops and swirl until the glass is coated. Add ice to the mixing glass and stir until the mixing glass is cold to the touch. Strain into a rocks glass (with no ice). Add a twist of lemon for garnish.

Winter Maple Mojito and ingredients on a table


This refreshing mint mojito combines our Rum 44 with mint simple syrup, a Vermont-made mint maple syrup, and mint bitters.

Ingredients - Yields 1 Cocktail
1.5 oz. of Rum 44
-3/4 oz. of fresh lime juice
-3/4 oz. of Mint Simple Syrup
-1/4 oz. of Baird Farm Mint Infused Vermont Maple Syrup
-2 dashes of Fee Brothers Mint Bitters
-Club soda or seltzer to top

To make a mint simple syrup, first combine 3 cups of simple syrup (a 1:1 ratio of sugar dissolved in hot water) with 1 cup of pressed mint leaves. Blanch the mint in boiling water for 15 seconds, then immediately remove the mint leaves and immerse them in ice water for 1 minute. Strain the leaves from the ice water. Blend the cooled simple syrup with the mint leaves for 1 minute, then strain well. You can store the cooled mint simple syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks. To make the mojito, combine all ingredients except for the club soda (or seltzer) in a tall glass filled with ice. Stir to incorporate ingredients, then top with the club soda or seltzer. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Cider Punch cocktail and ingredients on a table


Combining our Maple Cask Rum with a hard and dry cider made right in Vermont, this cocktail is both simple to mix and very flavorful.

Ingredients - Yields 1 Cocktail
-1.5 oz. of Maple Cask Rum
-2 oz. of Champlain Orchard’s Fresh Apple Cider
-1/4 oz. of Vermont maple syrup
-1/2 oz. of fresh lemon juice
-1/2 oz. of fresh orange juice
-5 dashes of Angostura Bitters
-Stowe Cider Dry & High (hard cider to top)

To make a single cocktail, combine all ingredients, except the hard cider, in a shaker with ice. Strain into a Collins glass, then top the glass with hard cider. (If you can’t find Stowe Cider Dry & High, another hard dry cider will work). Add an orange and lemon wedge for garnish.


This delicious twist on a sour is made using a stout simple syrup made from 14th Star Brewing's Maple Breakfast Stout. It takes a few hours of preparation, but it makes for a delicious and noteworthy cocktail using either our Straight Bourbon or Maple Cask Rum.

Ingredients - Yields 1 Cocktail
-2 - 16 oz. cans of 14th Star Brewing Maple Breakfast Stout
-2 to 2.5 cups of sugar
-2 oz. of Straight Bourbon or Maple Cask Rum
-1.5 oz. of stout simple syrup
-1 oz. of fresh lemon juice

To make the stout simple syrup, bring 2 - 16 oz. cans of the Maple Breakfast Stout to just below a rolling simmer in a saucepan. Heat for 2-3 hours, whisking every 1/2 hour. Remove the froth that forms at the top. Once you have reduced the stout to about half (16 oz.), add sugar and stir until it is fully dissolved. Set the simple syrup aside to cool. In a shaker, combine Straight Bourbon or Maple Cask Rum, the stout simple syrup and lemon juice. Add ice to the shaker, and shake hard for about 15 seconds. Strain contents into a chilled coupe, and enjoy!


A riff on a traditional Dark and Stormy recipe, our Frozen Vermont & Stormy features our First Run Rum along with a local Venetian Ginger Ale and a local Ginger Liqueur.

Ingredients - Yields 1 Cocktail
-2 oz. of First Run Rum
-2 oz. of Venetian Ginger Ale
-1.5 oz. of fresh Lime Juice
-1.5 oz. of Putney Mountain Winery & Spirits Ginger Liqueur

In a blender, add all ingredients and blend on a low setting until ice is finely crushed. Pour all contents into a copper mug. Add a lime wheel for garnish.


Our version of a Penicillin cocktail combining our Burnt Rock Bourbon with a Vermont-made maple syrup and honey, and Alice & The Magician's Bonfire Smoke mist.

Ingredients - Yields 1 Cocktail
-2 oz. of Burnt Rock Bourbon Whiskey
-1/2 oz. of Vermont Maple Syrup
-1/2 oz. of Vermont Honey
-1 oz. of fresh Lemon Juice
-4 dashes of Angostura Bitters
-1 spritz Alice & The Magician Bonfire Smoke Mist

Combine the Burnt Rock Bourbon, maple syrup, honey and lemon juice in a shaker over ice. Shake briefly. Strain contents into a Double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with 4 dashes of Angostura Bitters, and 1 spray of Alice & The Magician Bonfire Smoke mist.

While some of these recipes will take a bit of preparation, each is tasty and unique, and definitely worth trying. Some of the recipes above utilize specific brands, but there are so many wonderful options when it comes to Vermont-made syrups, honeys, drinks and more, so we encourage you to experiment and see what you like best. Whichever products you choose, we’re glad to have you join us in supporting Vermont-made businesses and products. Cheers!

Written and published by Brianne Lucas on May 8, 2023.

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