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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod@mainetoday.com On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: November 1, 2013

Drink seasonally in Portland: five fall cocktails to keep you cozy

Written by: Susan Axelrod

Photos by Ted Axelrod/Axelrod Photography

It’s autumn in Maine, easily our second-favorite season of the year — after our famously wonderful summer. Now’s the time to stack firewood on the porch, dig out the turtlenecks, pull the warm boots up to the front of the closet and — perhaps most importantly — trade in summer’s cooling cocktails for more seasonally appropriate libations.

When it’s chilly and darkness falls early, we want cocktails that make us feel all warm and cozy, with deeper, richer flavors and ingredients like apple cider, cranberry juice and honey.

Of course if you’re inclined to go on ordering gin & tonics, hey, it’s a free country. But shouldn’t what’s in your glass be as seasonal as what’s on your plate? Portland bartenders think so. Here are some examples from five local cocktail menus.

Central Park Manhattan — The Salt Exchange

Maker’s Mark bourbon, Fernet Branca, Vya sweet vermouth, house-made brandied cherry and brandied cherry juice

Pumpkin Martini — Inn by the Sea

Three Olives vanilla vodka, creme de cacao, heavy cream, pumpkin pie spice

Calavera — Cantina El Rayo

Camarena silver tequila, Triple Sec, cranberry-ginger shrub, lemon juice

Pumpkin Bourbon Cocktail — East Ender

Bourbon infused with sugar-pie pumpkins, nutmeg, a cinnamon stick and vanilla beans, over ice with a splash of house-made vanilla simple syrup

Maine Cider-Car — Five Fifty-Five

Brandy, Cointreau, Maine apple cider, fresh lemon juice

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