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September 7th, 2013
Metro New York Mixology
Craft distilling in the New York/Metro area has gone from a backyard hobby to a multi-million dollar industry in just a few years.
Why should we pay attention to craft distillers? We should be interested because of the range of flavor as exemplified by these small producers of spirits. Here is a nice list of some of the craft distillers at work in the New York/Metro area. It is by no means complete!
Small is usually better in my opinion!
There is a new product named Sorel that is produced in New York. This is a most unique product. The myriad of exotic ingredients like the tropical hibiscus is part of the base of this healing tonic. Sorel shows many of its influences local medicine healers who brought their recipes from the Caribbean Islands. There is a surfeit of Cassia, Ginger, Clove and Nutmeg all that speak deeply to this decidedly mixable liqueur. Sorel is neither hot in the glass nor overly sweet; it is well balanced and memorable in every sip. Jackie Summers (Jack from Brooklyn) is the entrepreneur behind this expressive liqueur and he exemplifies with this spirit his determination to bring these exotic tropical flavors and historic authority into your tumbler.
- 2 oz. Greenhook Distillery Gin
- ½ oz. Sorel (Jack from Brooklyn)
- 4 dashes of Angostura Bitters
- 2 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
- Jack Rudy Grenadine
- Mix all the ingredients in a cocktail glass with ice
- Swizzle together all ingredients EXCEPT for the Perrier (otherwise it will foam wildly)
- Add to a frosted glass with one cube of hand cut ice
- Garnish with a home-cured cocktail cherry
Greenhook Distillery produces some pretty gorgeous gin and a product that is based on the historic sloe (read sweeter) gins of yore. Their Beach Plum based gin is stunning, with flavors that speak to the history of distilling. Their signature gin is highly aromatic and bold with the juniper berry right up front in your nose and your palate. There are botanicals that are only released because of their proprietary distillation method using a vacuum system. This is reminiscent of early French perfume methods. I like mine in a snifter with one cube of hand-cut ice. Greenhook is gin for those of us who hold pure flavor in our hearts!
Uncouth Vermouth. Bianca Miraglia is on a mission to expose flavor. With her deliberate background in the wine business it was only natural for her to produce wine and herbal based, decidedly distinctive Vermouth. Each of her hand-produced products speaks clearly to her passion to extract the pure essence of haer mostly hand gathered goods. From her all organic ingredients like deeply aromatic Beet and Eucalyptus to the lovely and poignant Apple Mint, these are elixirs meant for powerful healing and possibly deep cocktail augmentation. I like mine in a glass with nothing more than air as a mixer.
Atsby Vermouth is another micro-vermouth brand from the New York area. Vermouth is hot, not only as an ingredient in cocktails, but also alone in a glass. The Amberthorn includes Chinese medicinal herbs such as anise along with French Lavender and Holy Basil. The Armadillo Cake is a blend of roots with aromatic herbs and enthralling spices. This is an untamed blend of ingredients meant for enjoyment alone or as a complement to your favorite liquor or seltzer. I like to mix the Armadillo Cake with a splash of Perrier Mineral Water with a pinch of sea salt to finish.
Tuthilltown Distillery in Gardiner, NY is one of my favorite places to relax and recharge my taste buds. The drive up to the distillery, passing by Storm King and DIA Beacon on the way up is always a treat. The majestic cliffs that surround Gardiner, NY was the original reason why father and son came to this area in the first place; for the world-class mountain climbing! At Tuthilltown, most of their ingredients are grown within a dozen or so miles of the distillery.
White Whiskey Old Fashioned Cocktail
- 4 oz. of Hudson NY Corn Whiskey 2 oz. of Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth
- 2 oz. Wilkes and Wilson Lime Mint Simple Syrup
- 4 Drops Basement Bitters from Hudson Spirits A couple of home cured cherries (essential to make them yourself, pour bourbon over cherries and let them steep for 2-3 weeks in the fridge)
- Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (lemon essence)
- Add to a cocktail shaker ¾ with ice
- Add two oz. of the Wilkes and Wilson simple
- Add about four drops of the Basement Bitters
- Muddle the bitters and cherries around
- Add 2 oz. of the Hudson Corn Whiskey
- Add a splash of Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water to the mixture
- Stir some more then add the Sweet Vermouth and the remainder of the Hudson Corn Whiskey
- Stir again, taste for balance and serve in a glass without ice
Barrow’s Intense Ginger liqueur is a lovely way to create ginger based cocktails with ease. Made with the best ingredients possible, Barrow’s is a wonderful base liqueur for all sorts of healing elixirs. My own creation for Barrow’s was featured in Men’s Health Magazine as one of their top six cocktails at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic.
The New Frontier
- 1 bottle Half Moon Orchard Gin
- 2 bottles Barrow's Intense Ginger Liqueur
- 2 bottles Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (lemon)
- Garnish: mint sprigs and lime wheels Glass: Martini 7 oz. Ice: Cubes
- Combine Barrow’s Intense and Half Moon Orchard Gin in a punch bowl with one large block of ice.
- Add lime wheels.
- Ladle over a tablespoon of crushed ice in a martini glass.
- Add Poland Spring Lemon Seltzer separately.
- Garnish with mint sprig.
Busted Barrel Rum from Jersey Artisan Distillery in Fairfield, NJ is the first new distillery since prohibition in New Jersey. Located in a former Curtiss-Wright building near the airport, the modified pot stills churn away 24 hours per day. Some of the brilliant Louisiana Cane is aged in oak casks, yet other batches go into their signature Silver Rum. With an Agricole nose and soft, mouth-filling finish, Busted Barrel is perfect all alone in the glass or augmented by always fresh juices and seltzers. Less is more with this quality product. Now on the shelf in limited locations in New Jersey, Busted Barrel’s aged version will follow in a few months time.
Down the Mississippi River
- 3 oz. Busted Barrel Silver Rum
- ½ lime, in chunks
- 2 oz. Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Roses
- 3 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Pink Grapefruit
- In a cocktail glass, muddle the chunks of lime gently with the Rose Simple Syrup
- Add the Busted Barrel Rum
- Fill the glass ¾ with ice and stir briskly, add the Perrier and mix a few more times to chill
- Strain over hand cut spears of ice in a Collins glass.
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