Thursday night was the first Annual Holiday Spirits tasting event hosted by The Village Voice fittingly on the 80th Anniversary of Repeal Day. With a DJ, live jazz band, photo booth, and every spirit and cocktail (many of them seasonal) you can imagine, the event, which was held at Studio Square in Long Island City, not surprisingly turned out to be an outstanding evening.
Here are just some of the highlights from both local and national distillers:
-Tito’s Vodka served a delightful concoction of Vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh lime juice, ginger beer and min. The mint really highlighted the key flavors of the cocktail.
-Breuckelen Distilling poured a strong drink of Breukelen Distilling 77 Whiskey, dark rum, port wine and a dash of bitters and orange bitters. A nice warming cocktail perfect for the cold season.
-Widow Jane Distillery came with tastes of both their bourbon and rum. The rum is distilled with with half organic sugar & half organic molasses then aged in a rye barrel. The rye barrel brings out whiskey notes in the rum making it very smooth.
-Brooklyn Gin served a citrusy cocktail of Gin, wildflower honey, fresh lemon juice and sparkling wine garnished with thyme.
-Black Dirt Distillery wowed us with their 100% apple brandy aged a minimum of 4 years in new charred American Oak barrels. They served it with ginger beer which was the perfect accompaniment.
-Van Brunt Stillhouse put a spin on a traditional gin cocktail, The Bee’s Knees. They made it with whiskey based moonshine and added lemon and honey. The taste was wonderfully unusual and reminiscent of a cold cure.
-Finger Lakes Distilling just might have given us the best Bloody Mary we’ve ever had. The whiskey is very mixable and they proved it by adding it a Bloody Mary mix, highlighting tasting notes that vodka isn’t capable of doing.
-Tuthilltown Spirits came with both their Maple Bourbon and Half Moon Gin. The gin gets its unique flavor from almonds, lemon peel, coriander, and elderberry.
-Ole Smoky Moonshine had a bar set-up serving not 1, not 2, but 4 cocktails. We tried all of them including their peach-flavored moonshine. The cocktails included Shine ‘n Seven (Blackberry Moonshine & 7Up), Electric Lemonade (White Lightnin’ Moonshine, lemonade and garnished with a lemon and cherry), and the dangerously delicious Southern Hooch (Apple Pie Moonshine and sweet tea).
-Bootlegger Vodka mixed their gluten free vodka with blackberry jam. We also gave it a taste-test and concluded that it's extremely smooth.
-Owney’s Rum fittingly made the seasonal Hot Buttered Rum. Using a kettle, they added nutmeg and cinnamon to the rum.
-Dutch’s Spirits served up a Fat Apple (hot mulled cider and sugar wash moonshine topped with a dollop of cinnamon whipped sugar that melts in it adding to the flavor).
-You can’t go wrong with an Old Fashioned and Long Island Spirits kept it simple and classy with their perfected recipe.
(Photos & Content Courtesy of Laura Englander & Nikita Scott)