Behind The Bar at 45 North:
By Gabrielle Martin
45 North, located in the heart and soul of the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, is a warm and welcoming escape from the elements open year-round. The interior evokes instant feelings of comfort with an aura of quaint coziness, from the assortment of colorful, mismatched chairs to the flickering fireplace and wrap-around wood-paneled walls decorated with scenes of a vintage Sugarloaf.
Craving creature comforts? Look no further than 45 North. In addition to guaranteeing alluring ambiance, the restaurant offers guests an authentic Maine menu that emphasizes the value of using the freshest local ingredients while celebrating the diverse abundance and wealth of Vacationland’s harvests through the seasons; this incredible attention to detail extends to 45 North’s impressive curation of custom craft cocktails, high-end bourbons, local beers, and fine wines.
This afternoon, we’re going behind the bar at 45 North with house bartender Justin Clark to make, in a true Maine twist, a Maple Old Fashioned. This unique drink brings an instant warmth with it while offering a singular sweetness. Those who have ordered one know there’s nothing quite like it, and we’ll be learning how to make it from the best of the best.
First, Justin places an orange and Amarena cherries in a cup; he then adds a dash of bitters. The use of the Amarena cherries in this cocktail exemplifies 45 North’s investment in using top-tier ingredients: unlike Maraschino cherries, which are sweetened, these rich Italian black cherries add an elevated, well-rounded, and whole-bodied element to the drink. Next, he then fills the glass with ice. Justin then begins to pour the Maine maple syrup over the ice to milk it, which guarantees you’ll taste the sweetness of the syrup in your first sips. He then adds the finishing ingredient, finalizing the Old Fashioned with 2 ounces of Maker’s Mark.
Still, there’s no substitute for the 45 North experience that, above all else, is defined through the staff’s commitment to delivering excellent and tailored customer service, taking hospitality to new heights. For Justin Clark, being a bartender is so much more than mixing drinks: he makes a concentrated, complete effort to learn the names of his patrons, the ins-and-outs of their lives and to develop a rapport with his regulars, a camaraderie with all customers, to ensure that guests find 45 North familiar and personable. What more could we want than connection in an ever-isolating age?
Justin chimes in, “It’s like Cheers—you want to go where everybody knows your name!"