Ringing in the holiday season with family and friends is a big part of what makes the months between Thanksgiving and the New Year so special. Whether your drink of choice involves whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, or something else, our selection of cocktails from experts at three North Shore distilleries will ensure you have the perfect drink in hand all season long.
Short Path Distillery, Everett
At Short Path Distillery in Everett, the aptly titled “B’Autumns Up!” is is full of fall vibes. Featuring Short Path’s Autumn Gin and Myrtle Liqueur, it’s like drinking the flavors of fall (on the rocks, of course). When it comes to a well-crafted drink, Alycia Rovner, chief operating officer at Short Path, advises at-home bartenders to play by their own rules. “Don’t feel like you have to follow recipes exactly how you read them. If you prefer your daiquiri extra tart, turn up the citrus and tone down the sugar. If you like your Old Fashioned with muddled oranges, go for it. Just make sure to always use fresh citrus. It makes a world of a difference,” she advises.
Rovner is a fan of batching up a punch or spirit-forward cocktail ahead of a holiday gathering. “By batching ahead of time, I’m not stuck shaking drinks or taking orders all night as a host. I’ll mix the drinks into punch bowls or pitchers and make a sign that lists the cocktail name and ingredients. I add 20 percent water into each batch to ensure it is diluted properly since I’m not shaking or stirring.” And it turns out that drinking whiskey this season could even be considered sustainable! Last year, Short Path Distillery supported 21 acres of Northeast farmland through whiskey production alone, and every bottle of their New England single malt whiskey directly supports 68 square feet of farmland.
1½ oz. Short Path Distillery Autumn Gin
½ oz. Short Path Distillery Myrtle Liqueur
½ oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ oz. allspice syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1. Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake
2. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice
3. Garnish with a cinnamon stick
Deacon Giles Distillery
In Salem, Deacon Giles Distillery knows its way around a bar. Cofounder Jesse Brenneman and bartender Peter Marsala agree that “the best holiday drink is one steeped in memories” and that “it’s never too late to make new memories with Deacon Giles.” A great way to put a new spin on an old favorite is to try one of their spirits in your drink of choice to give it a refresh.
At Deacon Giles’s on-site bar, The Speakeasy Lab, Marsala says drinks are approached “from their foundation—we build cocktails starting with as many fresh ingredients as we can find.” Marsala explains that The Lab is inspired by pre-prohibition, featuring classic cocktails from a time “when handcrafted, local spirits were all anyone really knew.” The goal is to bring back the idea of a watering hole with great local craft cocktails that people can gather and enjoy.” This fall, The Lab has featured a frozen apple-based beverage, “How do you like them apples?” that patrons have been loving. Another aim of The Lab is to use local and fresh ingredients. Cocktails are a fun way to explore an exotic ingredient and they also make great vehicles for fresh and local ones, including rhubarb, beets, and more.
2 oz. Deacon Giles Amber Rum
1 barspoon (1/2 oz simple, equal parts sugar and water) sweetness, or to taste
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
¼ oz. Deacon Giles Scarlet Absinthe
1. Stir over ice
2. Strain into a rock glass with a few cubes.
3. Garnish with a lemon peel
Also in Salem is Rumson’s Rum, where president and founder Eric Glass loves taking tried-and-true drink recipes for a new spin, and holiday drinks are no exception. Glass says that “a great holiday drink is something everyone will enjoy. I want people to enjoy the taste and have fun.” For sitting around the fire with family and friends, Glass recommends Rumson’s Grand Reserve or Rumson’s Spiced Rum with an ice cube and orange wheel for added flavor.
Espresso or Coffee Martini
1½ oz. Rumson’s Coffee Rum
½ oz. Irish Cream
2 oz. cold coffee or espresso
1. Shake vigorously with ice for 30 seconds to make frothy when strained into martini/cocktail glass
2. For added flavor and pop, drizzle chocolate syrup stripes in glass before adding cocktail
3. Optional: ground coffee bean and sugar rim as well as coffee bean garnish in glass
Privateer Rum Distillery
At Privateer Rum in Ipswich, director of sales Bob McCoy believes a good “fall drink is all about comforting, seasonal ingredients.” Privateer’s Harvest Punch is a seasonal hit this time of year because it combines the festive flavors of apple cider, rich maple syrup, and bright lemon juice for a cozy cocktail that’s still refreshing. McCoy credits the North Shore’s maritime climate for “allowing us to age in charred, new American oak barrels and create rums of outstanding flavor, texture, and balance. They “make perfect sippers for quiet nights by the fire and are just as fun in cocktails with your crew,” he says.
2 oz. Privateer New England Reserve Rum
2 oz. local apple cider
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. local Grade A amber maple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1. Combine in a glass filled with ice
2. “Roll” (pour back and forth between two glasses to blend ingredients)
3. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg
Whatever you choose to enjoy, the season for merriment and good tidings is upon us all. Cheers!