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Summer Sipping Tips From The Woodstock Inn & Resort

Jun 12, 2024 08:02PM ● By Corey Burdick Photos Courtesy of the Woodstock Inn & Resort
Summer is finally upon us, and that means taking some time to relax with friends, family, or solo with a cocktail or alcohol-free option in hand. Whether you’re thinking of doing some entertaining or want to go enjoy an outdoor space and have someone create a delicious beverage for you, the following recipes and tips from Food and Beverage Supervisor and Chief Mixologist Zachary Steinhart, who oversees the Woodstock Inn & Resort’s beverage program, have you covered.

Zachary has been working at the Woodstock Inn & Resort for more than four years and has been a bartender and bar manager for the past 15 years. He is originally from New Jersey, where he managed and bartended for restaurants and bars including the Cloverleaf Tavern (one of New Jersey’s premier craft beer bars). He has also managed the Wobbly Barn Steakhouse and Nightclub in Killington, Vermont.

Zachary shares that his passion for mixology began when he realized he loved hosting friends and family for parties. “My great-aunt lived across the street from my parents’ house where I grew up, so whenever they had their famous pool parties I would always offer to set up the bar and pick up ingredients. I would see what was for dinner and use fruits or vegetables for garnishes or juices for mixers. I really love to make a memory!”

Tips for Setting Up

If you’re getting ready to host a summer soiree, whether it be a small backyard gathering or something larger like a graduation party, Zachary’s top tip is to focus on quality ingredients. The higher the caliber, the better the drink will taste. If possible, source items fresh from your own garden then the cocktail or zero-proof beverage will “become more than a drink—it will be an experience,” Zachary says.

Zachary Steinhart shakes up a tasty cocktail in Kelly Way Gardens.

At the Woodstock Inn & Resort, the team often uses citrus and fresh ingredients from their Kelly Way Gardens in their cocktails. Zachary notes, “Whether for a garnish or flavor in your drink, simple things like freshly picked mint, basil, or blueberries bring your drink to the next level. These ingredients are top of the list to have on hand—and easy to grow at home, too. An edible flower is another great way to take your cocktail up a notch. We love bachelor’s buttons (cornflowers), violets, and nasturtiums, they’re all easy to grow in Vermont—and we have a beautiful variety in our flower beds at Kelly Way Gardens.”

His next tip involves premixing or batching ingredients to make the bar speedier, especially when there are a lot of guests. “If you do premix, just make sure it’s kept refrigerated as needed and shake before pouring,” Zachary stresses.

Finally, as the colors pop all around us during summer in Vermont, so too should your drinks. Zachary says, “a colorful, tasty, and great-smelling garnish goes a long way. Guests enjoy the smell of the drink before tasting, which makes their mouth water before they even take their first sip.”

Quality matters when it comes to liquor, too. At the Woodstock Inn & Resort, the team prioritizes serving Vermont-made spirits such as Barr Hill, Vermont Spirits, and Smugglers’ Notch. They’ve even added their own infused liquor to their menus. Zachary’s favorites include their rye whiskey infused with ginger, cinnamon rum that they used for their own eggnog this winter, and tequila and vodka infused with padron peppers from Kelly Way Gardens. When they do need to go outside of the state for liquor, their focus is always on quality.

A Growing Trend

Choosing an alcohol-free option when going out used to mean a juice, soda, or iced tea, but as the trend has grown in popularity, the offerings at retailers, restaurants, and bars have exploded. The Woodstock Inn & Resort is no exception. Zachary notes, “Spirit-free wines, beers, and even liquors are a large market and important to have as an option for guests who want to join in without the buzz. For those who want a fruity drink with no ABV, there are fun ways to add new flavors to their cups. Our Shrub Tea (see recipe on page 60) is a vinegary mix that admittedly isn’t for everyone, but many love it. Small-batch switchels and kombuchas are growing in popularity, even a simple freshly flavored homemade soda or tonic water makes a difference. There are lots of ways to make tasty drinks sans alcohol—it’s all about personal preference.”  However, if you’re thinking you might want to have someone else do the work for you since it’s summer after all, you can pop into the Woodstock Inn & Resort and the drinks featured in this article will be available on the menus in the Red Rooster and Richardson’s Tavern throughout the summer season, in addition to other fresh favorites. Zachary adds, “If we have all the ingredients, we happily can mix up any of your favorites, even if the drink is no longer on the menu.”

The resort’s outdoor lawn spaces, including Kelly Way Gardens, are the perfect places to enjoy any of their libations and alcohol-free refreshments during the summer. If you’re seeking some shade and relief from the summer sun, Richardson’s Courtyard is a perfect spot as well as the porches overlooking the South Garden (back lawn).

Entertain with Festive Recipes

All recipes are written by Zachary Steinhart with the exception of the Watermelon Fresca, which is from the resort’s Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage Matthew McClure. It was served at Taste of Woodstock last year and was a big hit.

The Sunset

1 oz Vermont Cassis
1 oz Pom juice
2 dashes orange bitters
Garnish: orange wheel
Fill a wine glass with ice, add the Vermont Cassis, Pom juice, and orange bitters. Gently pour in Prosecco to top the drink and create the sunset within your glass. Garnish with an orange wheel to add the sun to your sunset. We recommend a gentle stir just before your first sip.

The Botanical

2 oz Barr Hill gin
½ oz Bauchant orange liqueur
½ oz Lillet Blanc
½ oz lemon juice
Splash soda water
Garnish: edible flower
Fill a pint glass with ice, add the Barr Hill gin, Bauchant orange liqueur, Lillet Blanc, and lemon juice. Stir and strain into a martini glass. Add a splash of soda water on top and garnish with an edible flower.


1½ oz Casa Noble Blanco tequila
½ oz Casamigos Mezcal tequila
2½ oz Paloma Mixer (½ oz agave, 1 oz lime juice, 1 oz grapefruit juice)
Lime wedge
Maldon sea salt
Fill a shaker with ice and add the two types of tequila and the Paloma Mixer. Rim your rocks glass with the Malden salt by running the lime wedge around the rim and dipping the glass into the salt. Shake the drink mixture and pour into the rocks glass. Garnish with the fresh lime wedge.

Shrub Tea

1 oz Blake Hill Preserves Ginger & Turmeric Shrub Mix
Freshly brewed iced tea
Honey (optional)
Garnish: lemon wedge
Fill a pint glass with ice, pour in the Shrub Mix, and top with iced tea. Stir well or shake and garnish with a lemon wedge. Add honey as an all-natural sweetener if needed.

Watermelon Fresca

24 fresh mint leaves (removed from stem)
4 cups watermelon, cut into small cubes (approximately ½ a small watermelon) 
 ½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 lime, zest and juice
Garnish: lime wedges and fresh mint sprigs
Put mint leaves, watermelon, water, sugar, lime zest, and lime juice into a blender. Blend on high until all ingredients are well blended. Give your fresca a taste and add more lime or mint as needed. To serve, pour over ice and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and lime wedge.

Woodstock Inn & Resort
14 The Green
Woodstock, VT
(800) 448-7900 <>

The Red Rooster
Lunch: 12–3 pm, reservations recommended.
Bar Service: 12–9 pm (bar menu offered 3–5:30 pm), no reservations.
Dinner: 5:30–9 pm, reservations required. 

Richardson Tavern
Friday–Monday, 5–9 pm The team also hopes to extend their hours during the summer and add the Fairway Grill as a lunch and bar spot.

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