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.
Maker’s Mark bourbon, Fernet Branca, Vya sweet vermouth, house-made brandied cherry and brandied cherry juice
Three Olives vanilla vodka, creme de cacao, heavy cream, pumpkin pie spice
Camarena silver tequila, Triple Sec, cranberry-ginger shrub, lemon juice
Bourbon infused with sugar-pie pumpkins, nutmeg, a cinnamon stick and vanilla beans, over ice with a splash of house-made vanilla simple syrup
Brandy, Cointreau, Maine apple cider, fresh lemon juice