Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happy July 4th!

Meet some of our tasting room staff and friends of FLD! They hail from all over the country, from New York to Alabama to Texas, and represent many different backgrounds and aspirations. We will periodically feature staff members on the blog, so even if you can't literally make it into our tasting room, you can at least meet us virtually. In honor of July 4th, a couple staff members share their favorite Independence Day memories and some awesome cocktail ideas to help you and your friends and family celebrate the holiday.

This year on the Fourth, Loretta will be holding down the fort in the tasting room, helping customers decide the best way to celebrate the holiday with her creative cocktail concoctions. For the Fourth, she recommends the RED, WHITE, AND BLUEBERRY (came up with the name m'self, thank you very much!). This fruity cocktail is a perfect party drink, and a great complement to Loretta's favorite part of the Fourth— watching fireworks.

Red, White, and Blueberry
1 part Vintner's Wildberry Vodka
2 parts Stirrings Wild Blueberry Martini Mixer

A few drops of Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters

Pour, stir, and enjoy!

Loretta has worked in the tasting room part time for about a year, and works as a paralegal as well. Her favorite part of FLD? The people. "My favorite part about working here is being able to find the right spirit for every customer," she says, "and making a connection with the people who come into the tasting room through the spirits." After work this Fourth of July, Loretta plans to watch fireworks on the beautiful Seneca Lake.

While Loretta helps keep things running smoothly at FLD, Jerry will be traveling downstate to visit friends and family for an annual Fourth of July celebration. You might find him around the pool with his cousins, a glass of McKenzie Bourbon on the rocks in hand. "I won't be drinking anything fancy," says Jerry— "no martini glass or anything." Jerry recommends drinking his favorite spirit on the rocks or in an Old Fashioned.

McKenzie Old Fashioned
2 oz McKenzie Bourbon
A few drops Fee Brothers Angostura bitters
1 splash water

1 tsp sugar
1 maraschino cherry

1 orange wedge

Muddle sugar, bitters, cherry, and orange in a glass. Fill glass with ice, and add bourbon and water. Stir, and enjoy!

Jerry is a rising senior at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, and hopes to someday work as a restaurant's beverage manager. Like Loretta, his favorite part of the Fourth is firework-related— although he prefers to set them off himself rather than just watch! He too has been at FLD for a year, and his favorite part is educating customers about the spirits, and also learning about them himself. "I love that I can learn new things every day, and talk about it with interested customers," he says.

For another festive cocktail idea, check out the FLD spotlight on the Edible Finger Lakes Blog!

Happy Independence Day, from all of us at FLD!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Spirit of Our Spirits

Since we have been a bit negligent about maintaining this blog for the past several months, we feel it's necessary to introduce ourselves and our spirits so you all can get a sense of who we are and what we do here. To start out the reintroduction process, some notes on our spirits from our Master Distiller, Thomas Earl.

(To get the real spirit of the spirits, try saying all of the following with an Alabama accent to truly emulate our Distiller Extraordinaire!)

Vintner's Vodka, or the winemaker's vodka, is made from a blend of local grapes. It is fruity and floral, with notes of orange blossom, cantaloupe, vanilla, and lychee. Says Thomas: "As a whiskey guy, I never understood why somebody would want to drink a totally tasteless liquor. That's why we've created a vodka with taste. These local grapes sure do make some fine stuff!"

Vintner's Wild Berry Vodka is made by macerating local strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries in our Vintner's Vodka before a second distillation. Aromas of fresh-picked berries rise from the glass. Thomas says, "Boy, we took what was already good and made it even better, by adding fresh fruit. This stuff is so jammy, I believe you could put it on biscuits."

Peach, Pear, and Currant Brandies are European style eaux-de-vie. We capture the true essence of the base fruit through distillation in our copper still. We were proud to be selected to re-create George Washington's Peach Brandy at Mt. Vernon in October 2010. "We think George would be proud of our Peach Brandy," says Thomas. "Our Pear Brandy has a butteriness to it that makes me want to put it in my grits, while the Currant has a nice flowery aroma to it, almost like lilacs."

Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and Riesling Grappas are unaged pomace brandies made from locally-grown white grapes. We crush and ferment the entire grape- seeds, skins, and all- then distill to concentrate the flavors typically associated with those varietals. From our Master Distiller: "A lot of people think grappa is harsh and tastes like gasoline. Not ours. Each grappa is a true representation of the grape it came from."

Seneca Drums Gin is an award-winning London-style dry gin, distilled from our own local grape spirit and a signature blend of 11 botanicals, including citrus peel, juniper, cucumber, clove, and anise. "I do not know how we got this stuff to taste so good," muses Thomas. "It is extremely smooth and reminds me of a walk in the woods."

Glen Thunder is a true American corn whiskey. The aroma of this whiskey is reminiscent of pulling back the husk from an ear of sweet summer corn. Thomas says, "Corn whiskey is a true Southern favorite. This is an honest, true corn whiskey, made like they do it in the hills and hollers of south Alabama. It smells like Duncan Hines cake mix comin' off of the still. Yankees beware, put some south in yo mouth!"

McKenzie Bourbon Whiskey is a very rich, double pot-distilled bourbon. It is aged in 10 gallon new charred barrels and finished in local Chardonnay casks, which gives the bourbon a round, buttery finish. "Some folks think you can only make bourbon in Kentucky. Bull. We went way back for this bourbon, double pot-distilling it and aging it at a lower proof for that good old fashioned bourbon flavor," says Thomas.

McKenzie Rye Whiskey is made from local rye grain, aged in new charred oak quarter casks, and finished in sherry barrels from local wineries. Notes of orange peel, cardamom, mint and butterscotch stand out on the palate. Says Thomas, "A fine, old-fashioned rye: spicy and full of character. See what ya'll think; I ain't feelin' too poetic today."

Maplejack Liqueur starts as an apple brandy made from New York State apples. It is aged in oak barrels and local maple syrup is added for just a touch of sweetness. "I just love our apple brandy," Thomas says. "And then Brian said, let's put some maple syrup in it. I thought he was crazy, but it made it even better. Tastes like pancakes with apples on top."

Cassis, Raspberry, Cherry, and Blueberry Liqueurs
are made in the same manner, by soaking the fruit in a neutral spirit, then sweetening to taste. Each remains true to the character of the fruit, with no added or artificial flavors.

For the full official descriptions of our spirits, check out the "Our Products" section of the website- or stop by our tasting room in Burdett, New York and see for yourself!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

aaaand we're back!

Well, it sure has been awhile since our last update. The weather is getting warmer, and business at FLD is heating up too. We're going to try to update our blog more regularly, to keep you all informed of the new and exciting goings-on around here!

As summer on Seneca Lake sparkles into the tasting room, Father's Day is right around the corner. If you are still searching for the perfect gift, look no further than these FLD gift ideas for the spirit-loving dad in your life:

If dad likes spice in his life, he'll love a bottle of McKenzie Rye Whiskey paired with Brooklyn Brine's Whiskey Sour Pickles, made with our White Dog un-aged Rye. Both share the signature spicy bite of our Rye, and we can hardly keep em on the shelves.

Get dad ready to play some golf this Father's Day, with FLD golf attire and tools, all featuring our snazzy logo. With a new FLD polo, hat, ball, and divot tool, he'll be all set to spend a day out on the course!

Enjoy some of Dad's stories while sipping on a G & T together this Father's Day. Pair Seneca Drums Gin (voted New York's #1 spirit by the NY Wine & Food Classic) with the smooth and fizzy Q Tonic to top off story time. This simple set is sure to show dad how much you appreciate all of his fatherly wisdom! (not to mention his hilarious jokes, of course...)

For the whiskey-loving dad, a couple of trios:

Top: the FLD whiskey package, complete with McKenzie Rye, Glen Thunder un-aged corn whiskey and McKenzie Bourbon. A perfect set for the man who loves his whiskey!

Bottom: On the rocks? This set includes smooth McKenzie Bourbon, an FLD rocks glass, and a set of soapstone whiskey rocks (pop em in the freezer and then into his drink— he will never complain about watered down whiskey again!). This combination is everything dad needs for a perfect whiskey on the rocks.

For the dad who hates asking for directions:

Hand him the reigns and let him create his own aged rye with the White Dog aging kit, complete with a barrel and two bottles of our un-aged rye whiskey. After adding the White Dog to the oak barrel, he can be his own Master Distiller and age it according to his own taste.

The gift possibilities are endless. The best Father's Day gift might be to let dad choose for himself with a visit to our tasting room in Burdett, New York, open 11am-5pm. Here he can try up to three of our spirits for himself, and check out all of our awesome accessories, while enjoying a beautiful day on Seneca Lake with the family.

Now that's what dad really wants.