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September 28, 2012

Grazing: Drinking As If You're Still at the Harbor Hideaway

Grn_mountainLet's do some word association. If I say "boy," you might say "girl." If I say "sun," you might say "moon." And if I say, "creme de menthe," you say... "blech."

Who the hell uses creme de menthe anymore? Well, at the now-demolished Harbor Hideaway in Shelburne, it was a signature spirit behind the bar, and formed the basis for one of two drink "concoctions" listed at the top of the menu, at least in 1957: the Green Mountain Boy.

The ingredients of the Green Mountain Boy are few but wince inducing: "Heavy Dark Rum," creme de menthe and lime. "This One Is Masculine!" proclaims the menu. (The other drink, the Harbor Cocktail, calls for New England rum, maple syrup and lemon — a more palatable but less interesting drink).

Intrigued, I set out to re-create the Green Mountain Boy. I assumed the cocktail drew its name in part from green creme de menthe, which is a nature-defying neon. Unfortunately, I only had clear creme de menthe on my bar, a bottle that had been bestowed on me by a neighbor cleaning out his liquor cabinet. I've had it for three years and haven't used it until now.

At first, I tried a light, aged local rum. The result was truly disgusting. The bartender who created this was on to something: dark, chocolate-colored rum — such as the Cruzan Black Strap Rum I eventually used — is necessary to stand up to the minty force of creme de menthe.

With dark rum and a generous spritz of lime — and no modern bells or whistles — this drink is actually decent, wisps of caramel flavors from the rum jostling against the vibrating menthol of the liqueur. And once you whip up one of these, you might pair it with one of the other Harbor Hideaway specials, such as "Consommé Madrilene" (.35) or Barbecued Chicken with Exotic Sauce ($2.25).

Green Mountain Boy
Makes one drink

2 ounces black-strap rum
1 ounce creme de menthe
Juice from half a lime 

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake until blended. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with lime wedge (not shown) and serve.

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