Milk Bottle Mixers Go Down Easy, With or Without Booze

Sold at Greater Portland farmers markets and online, the Maine-made mixers often feature seasonal produce.

milk bottle mixers
Photo by Jenny Bravo
By Katy Kelleher
From our May 2023 issue

When Maine restaurants started selling to-go cocktails early in the pandemic, Caitlin and Dillon Houser, two newly unemployed Portland food-industry vets, saw the plastic waste generated by individual drinks and wondered about packaging bigger batches. “But liquor laws in Maine can be quite prohibitive,” Caitlin says, “and I didn’t want to leave out the nondrinkers. So, instead, we started making mixers.” The pair called up restaurant friends for taste tests, and donations from friends and family helped buy their first palette of reusable glass milk bottles. “The challenge is to create something that will be good with alcohol and taste equally good on its own,” Caitlin says. They developed a core lineup of four Milk Bottle Mixers, sold at Greater Portland farmers markets and online. It includes Lime-Aid (Maine sea salt, organic agave, lime, and mint — add tequila for a spin on a marg) and In Bloom (made with local lavender, organic citrus, and hibiscus — pairs well with bourbon or rum). One-offs often feature seasonal produce. Last summer, for instance, the Housers honey-roasted husk cherries from Liberation Farm, in Wales, and matched them with lemon. Dialing in a recipe, Caitlin says, is “like creating a little magical spell.” 

Depending on liquor-to-mixer ratio, a pint ($14) makes four to six drinks, and a quart ($26) makes eight to ten. Bring back the reusable bottles for a $2 refund.

April 2024, Down East Magazine

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