New England Spirits & Specialties, Winter 2018

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A special publication of The Brattleboro Reformer & The Berkshire Eagle | Winter 2018

Spirits & Specialties


Spirits & Specialties Winter 2018 Edition

Spirits rising: Destination distillery and brewery The (very) basics of barware Fantastic pairings to make your holidays sing A cider celebration Upcycling your empties

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New England Spirits & Specialties is a special advertising publication of The Berkshires Eagle and The Brattleboro Reformer.

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UpCountry Magazine

SPIRITS RISING Destination distillery and brewery

Adventures in the Berkshires and Southern Vermont Nov/Dec edition on newsstands now!

By Cicely M. Eastman Brattleboro Reformer U.S. distilleries have grown at an astounding rate, with sales upp 24 percent and a 1155 percent increase in distilleries across the nation from 2017 to 2018 18 alone, according ttoo tth the he American Craft Spirits Association. Vermont distilleries are quickly catching up with the explosion of Vermont brewpubs and microbreweries since the 1990s. Today, according to the Brewers Association of Vermont, craft beer totals $378.2 million in overall economic impact; of that, $126.7 million is direct to tourism. To keep up with the ever-increasing demand, two Brattleboro businesses have sought larger facilities to expand their business. 2 • New England Spirits & Specialties

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Christian Stromberg, owner and operator of Saxtons River Distillery, shows his new space on Chickering Drive. Photo: Kristopher Radder, Brattleboro Reformer

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Saxtons Distillery Christian Stromberg, founder and head distiller of Saxtons River Distillery (aka Saxtons Distillery) crafts fine liqueurs passed from generation to generation, combining old-world heritage with the flavor of Vermont. In October 2018, he purchased the Woodman's Athletics building on Chickering Drive, just off Putney Road, increasing his present production area from 3,000 square feet at 485 West River Road, to 10,000 square feet. This new capacity has opened up opportunities for Stromberg to make products he has wanted to, such as malt whiskey, and aged products such as 10-year-old bourbon, aged Perk and Snowdrop, plus different spins on gin. The extra storage gives him plenty of space to age his products. Stromberg said not only is the size an advantage, but having access to city water and sewer is a big plus.

Stromberg plans on keeping the retail sales and tasting room at the high-traffic West River Road location open. In addition, he is building a 25-square-foot tasting room at the Chickering Drive location to be open to the public, where he will also offer tours. “The tours are an exciting opportunity for people who know us to bring friends and family to visit. It will be educational,” Stromberg said. He expects to be open in the new location in January.

Whetstone Station Brewery In early October, David Hiler, owner and general manager of Whetstone Station Restaurant & Brewery, purchased the former property of Glenwood Collision at 39 Frost St. to convert it into a brewery. The Whetstone produces over 1,000 kegs of its Whetstone Craft Beers each year on

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KRISTOPHER RADDER — BRATTLEBORO REFORMER Christian Stromberg, owner and operator Saxtons River Distillery, sweeps in the pit that will be used to store the distilling tanks.

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KRISTOPHER RADDER - BRATTLEBORO REFORMER Connor Busch and James Branagan test the gravity of the beer using a hydrometer at the Whetstone Station Restaurant & Brewery’s present location.

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site at 36 Bridge St., but Hiler said, “We could not produce enough to keep up with demand (at the restaurant). It is a good problem to have.” The equipment will be arriving in February. Once the new brewery is up and running in late spring, Hiler said he will be able to have more tap lines in his restaurant, produce more 32-ounce can Crowlers and participate in events like brewfests that he has had to turn down, because he wasn't sure he could produce enough. He also hopes to add his taps to key spaces in town. The Frost Street location will also have a tasting room in the front, making it a destination retail space. Hiler said he is happy to become a part of the Frost, Elm and Flat Street neighborhood, noting his childhood friend, Pierre Capy, recently purchased the building next door to expand his coffee roasting business, Mocha Joe's.

If you go... Whetstone Station Restaurant & Brewery 36 Bridge St., Brattleboro, Vt. 802-490-2354 Su.-Th.: 11:30 a.m.- 10 p.m. F.-Sa.: 11:30 a.m.- 11 p.m. Brewery tours: first Sunday of the month at noon.

Saxtons River Distillery 485 West River Road, Brattleboro, Vt. 802-246-1128 M.-F., 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sa.- Su.: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

“I am looking forward to being a part of enlivening the area, to be more vibrant and inviting for visitors,” he said.

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The (very) basics of barware A quick-start guide to outfitting your home bar By Kimberly Kirchner The right glass showcases a drink the way a tasteful frame sets off a photo, accenting flavor, texture and aroma to enhance the drinking experience without distracting from the beverage itself. While the glassware market is overflowing with carefully-engineered, highly specific vessels to fit every drink, a well-outfitted home bar can cover most drinking needs with only a few glasses. When choosing barware, consider what kinds of drinks you’ll most often be serving, then look for features that best fit your tastes. Some things to look for:

Capacity: Obviously, a high-

er-volume drink is going to require a higher-volume glass. A glass that is too big, however, can lead to serving drinks too large to finish in the optimal time and encourage over-con-

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sumption, so maybe reconsider that fishbowl-sized wine glass.

Width: A narrower glass means a smaller exposed surface area, keeping bubbly drinks bubbly for longer. Shape: Glasses that curve inward at the mouth trap the aroma from the drink and allow for spill-free swirling, while glasses that flare out at the top disperse scents quickly and are often easier to drink from.

tecting cold beer from the consumer, and the consumer from hot drinks like Irish coffees. With those basics in mind, here is a brief overview of some of the most common, versatile glasses available.

Stems and handles: The long stem on a classic martini glass isn’t just an aesthetic choice; it keeps cold beverages from warming up too quickly by insulating the drink from the drinker’s body heat. This is especially important for drinks like the martini, which is traditionally served chilled but contains no ice to keep it that way. Handles are the heartier counterpart to the long stem, pro-

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For wine Red wine glasses feature a wide, rounded bowl, allowing the drinker to aerate their wine by swirling it in the glass. White wine glasses, designed for more delicate white and rose varieties, have a taller, narrower bowl and mouth. This decreases the surface area of the wine and prevents unwanted oxidation. Champagne flutes, as the name suggests, are most often used for sparkling wines. The especially narrow shape prevents the bubbles from escaping too quickly and causing the drink to go flat. CHAMPAGNE FLUTE


For beer Pint glasses are by far the most popular glasses for beer drinkers. With a conical body that widens slightly from base to mouth, the pint glass can be used for just about every beer variety from heavy ales and stouts to pilsners, lagers and pale ales. Weizen glasses have a distinctive tall and curvy shape designed to accommodate the head on wheat beers. The large mouth allows the beer’s sweet, fruity aromas to escape. Tulip glasses look like a heavier, thicker version of the white wine glass, and serve a similar purpose. The narrow mouth traps effervescence to maintain the head on pale ales and similar highly-carbonated beers. Traditional beer mugs features thick, insulating walls and a handle, both meant to protect the cold beer within from the drinker’s body heat. They are often frozen ahead of time to up the chill factor. 8 • New England Spirits & Specialties

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For cocktails and liquor Cocktail glasses are ideal for mixed drinks like martinis and cosmopolitans, which do not contain ice, thanks to their distinctive long stem. Traditionally, the term refers to a shallow, cone-shaped glass — also called a martini glass — but can also refer to a rounder-bowled version known as a coupe glass. The coupe version is less likely to spill, and has replaced the martini glass in most situations. Highball glasses are a tall, cylindrical tumbler used for high-volume drinks containing a large percentage of mixer compared to the alcohol content. The large size — usually eight to nine ounces — holds plenty of ice, making it a good choice for gin and tonics, mojitos and other cold drinks. For larger drinks, the highball can be substituted with the taller, narrower Collins glass, which contains twelve to fourteen ounces. Lowball glasses are a short, stocky cousin of the highball, also referred to as rocks or Old-Fashioned glasses. With heavy sides and an especially thick bottom, the glass can stand up to ingredients being muddled in-glass. It can be used for smaller cocktails as well as serving liquor neat or on the rocks. Shot glasses come in a range of shapes and sizes, but average one and a half ounces of volume. Typically, shot glasses are thicker than other glasses, particularly on the bottom. Short, wide varieties are easier to drink quickly, while tall, narrow options showcase layered concoctions. HIGHBALL GLASS



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Unusually fantastic spirit, wine and brew pairings to make your holidays sing!

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By Jim Nejaime

Owner of SPIRITED, Lenox Mass. Exploring cultures, history, people, food and drinks from all over the world is a spectacular way to enhance your own life, and expand your horizons. The unique libations listed here are some of the most unusually fantastic — yet very affordable — that you will ever experience. The best part is that you can do so without having to pay for air-fare to each country in order to enjoy them!

WORLD-CLASS WINES pagne. The perfect accompaniment to welcoming canapes.

Bernard Massard ‘Selection’ Brut Sparkling


This beautifully unique bubbly made from chardonnay, pinot blanc, chenin and riesling showcases freshness and elegance with a dry, lovely finish. Produced in the “Méthode Traditionelle” as is Cham-

Peter Lauer ‘Barrel X’ Dry Riesling GERMANY Fantastic winemaker Peter Lauer is making stunningly precise riesling in the Mosel. His flagship Barrel X is an untamed, dry riesling with beautiful aromas,

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delicious fruit, minerality and a laser-like dry finish. Pairs magically with Asian dishes.

Ca di Pesa ‘Tramonto’ Sangiovese Rosato TUSCANY, ITALY

100-percent sangiovese rose, extraordinarily elegant, gorgeous Provencal-style rose. Striking flavors and a delicate, dry finish. Perfect aperitif for holiday gatherings!

Dominique Piron Morgon Cote Du Py Cru Beaujolais BURGUNDY, FRANCE

Foodie wine alert! Cru Beaujolais at its finest! Focused, precise fruit, lovely aromas of dusty terroir, silky black cherry fruit, and a classic Burgundian, dry finish. Pairs

wonderfully with cured meats and washed rind cheeses.

Terre Rouge Syrah Cote L’Ouest SIERRA FOOTHILLS, CALIF.

Lovely Rhone-styled syrah. Dark, seductive, balanced fruit and lovely earthy spice, classic terroir and complex structure. World-class winemaking. Pair with braised short ribs.

Domaine Gardies ‘Les Milleres’ Rouge LANGUEDOC, FRANCE

Highly rated, yet little-known red–blend of grenache, syrah and mourvèdre. Full body, silky red fruit, lovely terroir and a finesse-driven ‘wow’ wine — perfect with roast leg of lamb.

Dominique Piron Morgon Cote Du Py Cru Beaujolais + Washed Rind Cheese + Cured Meat Winter 2018

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Weihenstephaner Festbier GERMANY

From the oldest existing brewery in the world. A full, rich, seasonal lager. Deep gold color, great Bavarian flavor profile. Prost!

Singlecut Beersmiths 18 Watt IPA QUEENS, N.Y. Hopheads rejoice! A sessional IPA with wonderful grapefruit citrus aromas, an unfiltered, cloudy body full of citrus, mango, papaya and a dry, complex, hoppy finish. This is one helluva IPA.

Solmen Oath Brewery’s ‘The Most Important Drink of the Day’ Imperial Coffee Stout with Orange Peel

Full-bodied, creamy mouthfeel with fluffy cocoa alongside roast and coffee notes. Dark and delicious, this will pair perfectly with a holiday brunch of sausage biscuits and chicken fried steak.


Fantastic Imperial stout. Decadent aromas of rich chocolate and coffee balanced by citrus and orange brightness.

Jack’s Abby Smoke & Dagger Black Lager FRAMINGHAM, MASS.

Banded Brewing Pepperell Pilsner BIDDEFORD, MAINE Light, elegant Pilsner – a perfect session brew made with German Hersbrucker hops. Fresh, bready malt, dry and crisp. A true, classically perfect lager.

Cloaked in mystery, this black lager is brewed with traditional old-world ingredients. Dry, roasted malt, nicely hopped and full of smoky nuances… this toasty, dark beauty is perfect for cold weather sippin’! Solmen Oath Brewery’s Imperial Coffee Stout + Chicken Fried Steak + Sausage Biscuits

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Michter’s Unblended American Whiskey


Wonderfully complex pre-Revolutionary War recipe from Louisville Master Distiller. Butterscotch aromas, ginger and Christmas spices, smooth as silk texture.

Antica Torino Amaro della Sacra TORINO, ITALY Amaro has always been a part of Italian culture. A beautiful, layered, fascinating digestive that is wonderfully finessed, balanced and has a beautiful, bitter finish. The perfect libation to enjoy after a glorious holiday meal!

Saxton’s Distillery Sapling Vermont Maple Liqueur + Coffee + Vanilla Ice Cream

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Saxtons River Distillery Sapling Vermont Maple Liqueur VERMONT From the verdant maple forests of the Green Mountains comes this small batch maple syrup exceptional liqueur. Enjoy this elixir neat, in coffee or over homemade vanilla ice cream.

Monkey 47 Dry Gin


Unique, complex gin from the Black Forest of Germany. Winner of World Spirits Gold Award.

Jim Nejaime has travelled the world for over 30 years seeking the finest, most interesting and delicious libations crafted by artisan producers. Photo by Judy Marzotto.

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A cider celebration A staple of New England life since the earliest colonial settlements, hard apple cider comes into its element when the temperature drops.

Stone Fence

The colonial Stone Fence was originally made with New England rum, but after the British blocked the supply of cheap Caribbean molasses in the early 1800s, the recipe was adapted to use the more readily-available whiskey. 2 ounces rum, brandy or bourbon 5 ounces apple cider Dash Anagostura bitters

Fill a tall glass with ice. Add ingredients and stir. Garnish with a mint sprig. For extra New England character, add ¼ ounce of maple syrup before stirring.

Hot Buttered Rum and Cider

Great for warming up after a day in the snow, this hot cocktail is prepared in a large batch, to be enjoyed with friends and family. ½ gallon apple cider ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg ¼ teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon salt Rum Cinnamon sticks

In a large pot, bring the cider to a simmer. Turning the heat to low, add in the butter and stir until melted. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Carefully ladle the hot mixture into mugs. Finally, pour in a shot of rum, garnish with a cinnamon stick, and serve hot. Makes 8 servings. Winter 2018

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Upcycling your empties Give beer, wine and liquor bottles a second chance as home decor By Kimberly Kirchner Americans have a glass problem. The EPA reports that the U.S. generated 11.5 million tons of glass waste in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. Of that, 62 percent was made up of beverage containers. Beer and soft drink bottles alone constituted over five million tons of glass waste, while discarded wine and liquor bottles came in at just under two million tons. Fortunately, glass is an almost infinitely recyclable material with a long list of industrial uses. Unfortunately, only 38 percent of the country’s used glass made it through the recycling process in 2015; a full 50 percent wound up in landfills. Some of this is due to the economics of recycling. Glass is heavier than other materials, making it much more expensive to transport, and changes in the international market for recycled materials have decreased demand and lowered values. Shattered glass in a mixed recycling bin can render the whole container useless, further complicating the process. So what does one do with one’s empty bottles? One crafts. Pinterest is teeming with bottle-based projects, some more practical than others. Here are a few of the simpler ideas.

Lamps You can pick up a lamp-making kit with all the necessary fixtures at most hardware stores. The 18 • New England Spirits & Specialties

most difficult part of this craft is cutting a hole in the bottle to pass the cord through. For a less ambitious (but less dangerous) alternative, replace the lamp fixture with a string of battery-operated mini lights. Simply lower the lights into the bottle, add some ribbon around the neck to hide the battery pack and let the Instagram likes pour in.

Soap Dispensers It turns out liquor bottles with screw-on tops are often the perfect size for a standard soap dispenser top, in which case you can simply pull the pump out of a cheap bottle of hand soap and twist it onto your bottle. If the mouth is too narrow, you can drill a hole in the existing cap and slide the straw through so the pump rests on top, securing with a dab of glue. This can also be done with wine bottles, if you’d rather not have to refill the soap bottle any time soon.

Vases The humble wine-bottle vase is a classic for a reason. Strip off the labels and leave bottles naked for a rustic look, or go crazy with the decorations. Wrap a bottle in lace, paint it with chalkboard paint or bundle together three or more bottles of different heights with ribbon and glue on a base. If you’re planning on sticking with artificial plants, you can pour a small amount of paint directly into the bottle and swirl it around to coat the inside, leaving the glossy, glassy exterior texture intact. Winter 2018

Of course, most of us have a limited amount of space for wine lamps and whiskey soap dispensers, so eventually those leftover bottles will have to go. To help prevent your empty bottles from ending up in a landfill, don’t mix them in with your other recyclables. Shattered glass is difficult and dangerous to filter out of other materials, so keeping bottles separate through the entire recycling process protects workers and cuts down on Winter 2018

waste from contamination. If your town or city uses a single- or dual-stream recycling system — meaning materials are either collected together in one bin, or split into one bin for paper/cardboard and one for glass/metal/plastic — consider bringing your bottles directly to a redemption center. The glass will be less likely to fall in with other materials, and you’ll get some pocket change back as a reward. New England Spirits & Specialties • 19



Courtesy of Methuselah Bar & Lounge, Pittsfield, Mass. 2 ounces of gin (Methuselah recommends: nds: Berkshire Mountain Distillery gin) ¾ ounce of fresh lemon juice ½ ounce of maraschino liqueur (Methuselah uselah recommends: Luxaro brand liqueur) ¼ ounce of Creme de Violette Luxardo maraschino cherry (not the fluorescent red one you find at supermarket) for garnish

Put all ingredients in a shaker, fill it with ice, shake and double strain pour into a coupe glass. ass. Add cherry. Voila! For a quick tutorial — and a delicious drink — orth St., visit Methuselah Bar & Lounge at 391 North Pittsfield, Mass. Learn more at

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Photo courtesy of Methuselah Bar & Lounge

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