How to Build a Drink

Laird's Apple JackToday’s Star!

Fall is here. Like… really here. This weekend marked the first Killin’ Frost through most of the state of Vermont, and minds turn at long last from Barbecues, Formal Garden Parties,[1] and frosty mugs of Mannaz to layered flannel and Autumn Cocktails.

As most of you know, Groennfell Meadery has a mixing with mead blog in addition to our normal blog. In the coming weeks we’ll be featuring a number of great fall cocktails, but before we fill your head with specifics, we wanted to teach you how to design your own tasty concoctions.

There are three ways we go about building a drink.

  1. For what are you developing the drink? (i.e. Is it for cocktail hour, pairing with dinner, or a special event?)
  2. Is there a particular liquor you wish to utilize?
  3. Is there a particular mead you have handy?


We’re going to assume that you have access to our full line-up of meads and a full bar, so let’s just focus on number one: It’s Fall and you need to drink.

Now, it’s time to Choose Your Own Adventure©:

  1. Line up your heartier base liquors. Push your tequila anejo and white rum out of the way, this is the season to reach for whisky, applejack, and spicier rums. Which one do you want?
  2. You grabbed a bottle of Laird’s Applejack. Great choice! Now think about the flavor profile: obvious apple notes, slightly sweet, fairly acidic, but lacking in bite and bitterness.
  3. Do you want to play up these features or balance them?
  4. You chose to balance them! That means adding complexity, and that’s a job for Valkyrie’s Choice and Bitters. Now what’s missing?
  5. You still need to add some bite, so you reach for a fresh lemon and some Aperol. Almost there, but you still need something…
  6. You almost forgot to garnish it! Even though it’s fall, you do have half a lemon. Do you garnish it with a lemon wedge?
  7. Phew, that was a close one. You realize just in time that a lemon is the wrong garnish for a fall drink, so you wisely drop in two of your homemade maraschino cherries.
  8. You’ve made it to the end safely, here’s your drink:

  • 2 oz. Applejack
  • 4 oz. Valkyrie’s Choice
  • 3 dashes Whiskey Barrel Bitters
  • 2 dashes Aperol
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • On ice in a rocks glass, garnished with REAL maraschino cherries

[1] Ricky put this in. The rest of us at Groennfell Meadery are quite aware that nobody throws Formal Garden Parties anymore, but we can’t bring ourselves to break it to the Meadmaker. 


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