It’s Maine’s official soft drink. There’s a festival in Lisbon Falls every summer that celebrates it. It has been in production since 1886, making it one of the oldest mass-produced beverages in the country. And yet Moxie — it makes Mainers mighty — remains a divisive treat. Some love its bitter herbal bite. Some can’t stand the stuff.
That said, whether or not you like it on its own, Moxie makes a great ingredient for cocktails. Moxie is flavored with extracts from gentian root, an ingredient found in many liqueurs and cocktail ingredients, from European aperitifs such as Aperol or the more obscure Cocchi Americano to Angostura bitters, a standard part of any bar setup. Its unusual flavor profile means it can pair with an array of spirits and liqueurs to create something truly unique. And the cult status of the drink — along with its distinctive name — means there are lots of opportunities to come up with fun drink names.
Here are six Moxie cocktails based on recipes established by folks, including us here at the Bangor Daily News, The Great Lost Bear in Portland, The Fiddlehead Restaurant and Nocturnem Drafthaus in Bangor, even from the folks at Moxie headquarters.
The New Englander
Taken from the official Moxie website, this drink is one of the oldest Moxie cocktails on the books. Combine 2 parts Moxie to 1 part gin, squeeze in a slice of lime and add a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Yes, you read that correctly: Worcestershire sauce. It cuts the sweetness and allegedly makes some people think it tastes like Necco wafers. You be the judge.
Inspired by the Jager Bomb — in which the drinker drops a shot of Jagermeister into a glass filled with half a can of Red Bull, then immediately downs the whole thing in one gulp, which is something we here at the BDN cannot possibly condone doing — this is another one-and-done drink, dreamed up by the folks at Nocturnem Drafthaus in Bangor. Drop a shot of Jager into half a can of Moxie. Down it. Reflect on your poor decision-making skills.
The Burnt Trailer
This drink has been on the menu for years at The Great Lost Bear in Portland and might be the most Maine cocktail ever invented. It simply comprises one part Allen’s Coffee Brandy to two parts Moxie. Best enjoyed with a lobster roll and a slice of blueberry pie while wearing a T-shirt that either features a moose, a lighthouse or Stephen King — or all three.
A slightly classier beverage, this is best served in a lowball glass and requires a bit of mixing — not shaking — to combine. Blend 1.5 ounces of American rye whiskey with 4 ounces of Moxie. Garnish with a lemon twist and a slice of lemon. The smokiness of the rye offsets the sweet-yet-bitter herbal taste of the Moxie.
We asked barkeep Nastassja Francis of The Fiddlehead Restaurant what she would use in a Moxie cocktail, and she suggested a Mox-i-fied variation on a Cuba Libre: 1 part dark rum to 3 parts Moxie and a generous squeeze of lime. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding a teensy splash of grenadine.
This is a variation on the Sazerac, one of the first cocktails ever made, which combines rye whiskey, absinthe, bitters and sugar in a classic New Orleans treat. Our version skips the bitters and sugar and substitutes it with Moxie. Blend 2 ounces Moxie with two shots rye whiskey in a glass. In another glass, coat the bottom and sides with a few drops of absinthe — or Pernod. Then pour the whiskey-and-Moxie blend in. Garnish with a lemon twist.