News & Events

Shelburne, VT: 11th Annual VT Cheesemakers Festival

The 11th Annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival is held at Shelburne Farms on August 11, 2019, from 10 AM to 4 PM. This perennial favorite Vermont food festival has been picked as a “Top Summer Food Festival in the United States” for the past 5 years and sells out every year. With over 40 Vermont cheesemakers and 100 food and artisanal beverage producers in attendance, the event is sure to please all tastes. Located at the historic Coach Barn on the grounds of Shelburne Farm next to the shores of Lake Champlain, this festival provides a great opportunity to connect with makers and producers in Vermont’s most iconic working landscapes. This year in addition to the Festival, we are offering Educational Programs on Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM at Shelburne Farms. Tickets are limited for the Saturday Educational Programs. Finally, on Saturday night, we will offer our 3rd Annual Vermont Cheese Dinner at the historic Round Barn in Waitsfield, VT.

Tickets:

-General Admission tickets are $65 and include a festival bag and a festival wine glass, and off-site parking. with busing to the event site. General Admission starts at 11 AM until 4 PM.

-Patron Tickets are $100 plus ticketing & handling fees and include an insulated festival bag, festival wine glass, and admission beginning at 10 AM until 4 PM for Patron Ticket Holders. Patron Ticket includes on-site parking.

Golden Tickets are $300 plus ticketing & handling fees and include exclusive Saturday educational programs at the Farm from 10 AM to 3 PM, the Annual Vermont Cheese Dinner at The Round Barn in Waitsfield, VT from 6- 10 PM, and the Sunday Festival at the Farm from 10 AM until 4 PM. Ticket includes an insulated Festival Bag and a festival wine glass with decorative lanyard, and on-site parking.

– Tickets for children 4 to 12 are $20.00. Teenagers and young adults are charged the General Admission prices.

-Children under 3 are admitted free.

PLEASE BE AWARE:

1. This is a rain or shine event. Weather in Vermont is unpredictable, so check the weather forecast and come prepared. Due to state laws, In the event of lightning or severe wind, all attendees will be asked to exit the tents and make way into the building or to their cars at the festival site. All attendees who were bused in will be asked to move into the building until any severe weather danger has passed.

2. Alcoholic beverages are being consumed at this event. The drinking age in Vermont is 21 years old. All attendees are asked to bring a valid drivers license, passport or state issued ID with them. There is no discount or reimbursement if you do not/ cannot consume alcoholic beverages. There are water stations and non-alcoholic beverages available throughout the venue.

3. Large crowds congregate in small areas throughout the event site on a mid-summer day. If you are unable to endure crowds in close proximity, this may not be the event for you. However, there are multiple areas to enjoy, so we suggest moving to another area of the festival if it gets too crowded or too hot for your taste.

4. Many of the exhibition areas are on grass or hard packed gravel, making strollers, wheelchairs, and walkers occasionally difficult to maneuver. Crowds make getting through the tents and the building somewhat difficult.

5. Dogs and pets are not allowed on Shelburne Farms property. Please keep your pets safely at home out of cars and out of the heat.

6. Refunds are available up to 7 days before the event. After that, we will be happy to provide you with a trade for the following year.

Q2 Womenprenuers Night Out

Mad River Distillers is excited to host VT Womenprenuers next Night Out Event! Join us for spirits and great food! It’s a night out for all you hardworking womenpreneurs. A time to put your hustle on hold and connect other women bosses. Bring your business cards and radiant presence.

Get a discount on your ticket and future events when you become a VT Womenpreneurs member. Learn more about membership benefits and how it works at: www.vtwomenpreneur.com/membership

General Admission: $20
VTW Members*:
Supporter – $15.00
Community Member – $10.00
Sustaining Member – Free

New York: Bar Convent Brooklyn 2019

Driven by an appreciation and passion for premium and craft spirits, Bar Convent Brooklyn (BCB) is a welcoming and collaborative environment in which the pioneers of the bar and beverage community gather to celebrate and sculpt the future of liquid culture through education, sharing best practices, and initiating [or generating] business opportunities. It is a curation of the most premium brands driving the cocktail movement.

June 11 & 12, 2019
Brooklyn Expo Center
www.barconventbrooklyn.com

**Bar Convent Brooklyn is a trade-only event for qualified bar and beverage industry professionals only. Attendees are required to provide documents demonstrating their trade affiliation during the registration process. You must be 21 or over to gain admittance to Bar Convent Brooklyn.**

Burlington: Cocktail Class with Matt Farkus

Join us for our May Cocktail Class taught by our friend Matt Farkus! You might recognize him from his time at Mule Bar and his current role at Hotel Vermont! He’ll be going over some great summer themed drinks to prepare you for warm weather ahead.

Cocktail Classes at Mad River make for the perfect gift or group activity. Learn cocktail history and fundamentals while sampling the subject matter. Classes are $60 per person and include a cocktail, and a number of samples.

Classes will be available (1) Sunday a month and will be capped at 10 people.

If you have a larger group or want a private class (minimum 4 people) let us know and we can work with you to arrange it.

Classes are 90 minutes long, interactive and to some degree hands-on. They’re a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon while gaining some new skills and knowledge. Check out our upcoming classes and reserve your spot now!

Burlington: Spring/Summer Cocktail Menu Release

Winter, its been real (cold), but we think it’s time to move on and welcome warmer weather. And seasons changing means a new cocktail menu!

Join us as we launch our Spring and Summer Cocktail Menu! We’re bringing back some of your favorites and adding some awesome new ones. You are not going to want to miss it!

We’ve got all of your warm weather classics from Daiquiris, to Negronis, Punch, Juleps and more! Come check it out!

Burlington: International Trivia Night with VT Council on World Affairs

Test your knowledge of world affairs, history, and culture at International Trivia Night! Join us after work or stop by after class to enjoy the great flavors of Mad River Distillers and play some trivia.

The future of Vermont depends upon the world beyond our borders. The Vermont Council on World Affairs, in cooperation with the public and private sectors, promotes an awareness and understanding of the world and its people through public forums, hosting international visitors and working with our educational institutions to develop programs for students, faculty, staff and community.

By in Cocktails, Maple Cask Rum Comments Off on Goodbye to Winter

Goodbye to Winter

  • 2 oz Maple Cask Rum
  • .25 oz Nocino Liqueur
  • .25 oz Cinnamon Syrup
  • 1 Dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Combine in a mixing glass over ice, stir briefly. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass and garnish with an orange twist. Recipe Courtesy of Carlo Caroscio, Back Bar, Somerville, MA

By in Media & Events Comments Off on Vermont Bartender of the Year!

Vermont Bartender of the Year!

Josh Wilcox, the bar manager of our Burlington cocktail shop, was runner up in the Vermont Bartender of the Year finals. The competition took place at Main + Mountain Restaurant in Ludlow, Vermont, on March 28, 2019.

Six bartenders competed in the finals, where they were tested on their service skills and bar demeanor. Three guest judges sat at the bar chatting with the competitors while they prepared drink tickets for seated guests in the restaurant. This is Josh’s second appearance in the competition, and his best finish to date. Congratulations to Emily Morton from Deli 126 in Burlington, who came in first, and Jackson Zieper from Monarch and the Milkweed in Burlington, who finished third.

Burlington: Boozy Hot Chocolate Bar

Come into our Tasting Room and warm up with some free Lake Champlain Chocolates Hot Chocolate! Those 21+ can add our Rum or Whiskey for $5. We’ll be serving until the chocolate runs out!

Burlington: Slopes and Spirits

We’re in the thick of the winter season and we want to help get you ski bums and boarders to the mountain! Every week on Thursdays we’ll be giving away Day Passes to your favorite mountains, and celebrating with drink specials!

This week we are giving away 3 tickets to Jay Peak Resort! Free tastings and drink specials for the evening will be featuring our PX Rum; The Ibero Old Fashioned and the Spanish Negroni for $7!

Just come into the Tasting Room anytime between 12-8 to receive a raffle ticket, and for every extra item purchased you will receive an extra raffle ticket!

By in Media & Events, MRD BTV Blog Post Comments Off on What are Bitters?

What are Bitters?

“So what’s the deal with all those little bottles?” a gentleman asks in a hushed voice leaning across the copper bar top in between sips of his Mad River Rye Manhattan.

“Bitters” I whisper back.

I point to the shelves lined with obscurely sized, shaped, and colored bottles, “We sell bitters from all around the world” now speaking at a higher decimal level.

“So what exactly are bitters?” he asks loud enough to catch his neighbors attention.

“Bitters are like spices for cocktails, a dash or two can elevate a cocktail to something beyond just the sum of its parts”, is the jist of my normal response.

For the majority of our patrons this serves as a satisfactory explanation, but occasionally a curious customer such as this gentleman, will push for more, to ponder between sips.

Sympathizing with their curiosity and relishing the opportunity to further the knowledge of bitters in the world I often jump into a long winded version of the following.

Bitters, like many things alcoholic, have roots in medicine, or what might be more accurately described as faux medicine. They are made by infusing or macerating roots, barks, fruit peels, seeds, spices, herbs, and other botanicals in high proof alcohol or glycerin.

Bitters were often billed as cure-alls for ailments ranging from headaches and indigestion, to malaria. They were consumed not in a dash, but gulped down as medicine. These “medicinal” tinctures made from flavoring agents like gentian root, cinchona bark, orange peel, anise, clove, and other spices were said to have magical healing powers.

In the 1850’s America saw a bitters boom not dissimilar to what we have seen in recent years, but at this time bitters were still considered medicinal. The burgeoning bitters industry was being spurred on by both social and political forces.

The temperance movement was making inroads in their quest to deem social drinking as unacceptable. However, proving that cognitive dissonance is not a modern phenomena, the daily consumption of bitters for “medicinal benefits” was normalized despite the high alcohol concentration.

Additionally, the government was levying higher taxes on alcohol sales, but bitters being considered a non-potable item, were exempt from the higher taxes and therefore cheaper option for one to get their fix.

Soon enough hundreds of bitter varieties were available, and as the selection grew so did the marketing campaigns and dubious promises about the power of bitters. The habit of taking a morning drink for health reasons only seems to have foreshadowed the pill popping country we would eventually become.

So how did some 19th century “snake oil” weave its way thru history to become an essential ingredient in any serious bartenders arsenal?

What many people don’t realize is that bitters were an essential part of the original cocktail, defined as; “a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters”. At the time the word cocktail referred to a specific sort of drink, alongside other varieties like juleps, toddies, smashes, and fizzes. Today that definition would more aptly apply to an Old Fashioned, as the word cocktail has become a more general term for any variety of mixed drink.

Bartenders rely on a bottle of bitters the way a chef relies on salt. In recent decades these old drinks and their ingredients have been brought back to life as the art of the cocktail has been revitalized. As we continue to glamorize the history of these drinks and bring them into the modern world, bitters have tagged along, as a vital, but at times underappreciated sidekick.

The bitters commonly dashed into a Bourbon Manhattan are considered non-potable, due to their high alcohol content and concentrated flavor. These days there has been an explosion in the variety of non-potable or “cocktail bitters” on the market and behind the bar. The most famous and ubiquitous examples of these would be the yellow topped Angostura bitters from Trinidad and Tobago, Peychauds from New Orleans, and Regans Orange.

Other popular brands include Bitter Truth, Fee Brothers, Bittermens, Dr. Adam, and Scrappys. We happen to sell them all and many more in our tasting room.

Bitters designed to be sipped instead of dashed are considered potable bitters. They are commonly consumed before or after a meal to stimulate appetite or ease digestion. Well known examples of potable bitters would be Campari, Fernet Branca, and Jagermeister. These often include added sugar to bring some balance, and increase their sippability.

Humans like many animals are hardwired to be averse to bitter flavors. It’s often a warning signal that you’re about to ingest something toxic, but bitter can also be an alluring taste found in popular foods like grapefruits, chocolate, eggplant, coffee, and various herbs. It offers a sort of cleansing taste that spurs you on to the next bite (or sip).

Many people assume that the purpose of bitters is to simply make a drink bitter. While understandable, this isn’t an accurate description of the essential role bitters plays in elevating, and deepening flavors in a cocktail. Bitters can reduce sweetness, slice thru richness, meld disparate ingredients, as well as add an aromatic spiciness. All of that from a couple drops from a little bottle!

“What do you think?” I ask as the gentleman sits back into his bar seat, appearing to be deep in thought and finishes the last sip of his manhattan. He starts to nod approvingly and says “I think I need another manhattan”. As I walk down the bar to prepare his drink he calls half-jokingly “and don’t skimp on those bitters!”

 

Written by Neil Goldberg

Burlington: Slopes and Spirits

We’re in the thick of the winter season and we want to help get you ski bums and boarders to the mountain! Every week on Thursdays we’ll be giving away Day Passes to your favorite mountains, and celebrating with drink specials!

This week we are giving away 5 tickets to Middlebury College Snow Bowl! Free tastings and drink specials for the evening will be featuring our Vanilla Rum; The Pink Drink and the Winter Punch for $7!

Just come into the Tasting Room anytime between 12-8 to receive a raffle ticket, and for every extra item purchased you will receive an extra raffle ticket!

Burlington: Slopes and Spirits

We’re in the thick of the winter season and we want to help get you ski bums and boarders to the mountain! Every week on Thursdays we’ll be giving away Day Passes to your favorite mountains, and celebrating with drink specials!

This week we are giving away 2 tickets to Mad River Glen! Free tastings and drink specials for the evening will be featuring our First Run Rum; The Winter Daiquiri and The Colonial Old Fashioned for $7!

Just come into the Tasting Room anytime between 12-8 to receive a raffle ticket, and for every extra item purchased you will receive an extra raffle ticket!

Burlington: Cocktail Class

Cocktail Classes at Mad River make for the perfect gift or group activity. Learn cocktail history and fundamentals while sampling the subject matter. Classes are $50 per person and include a cocktail, and a number of samples.

Classes will be available (1) Sunday a month starting in February 2019, with the potential for more depending on demand.

Classes will be capped at 10 people.

If you have a larger group or want a private class (minimum 4 people) let us know and we can work with you to arrange it.

Classes are 90 minutes long, interactive and to some degree hands-on. They’re a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon while gaining some new skills and knowledge. Check out our upcoming classes and reserve your spot now!