Local Liquor & A New Classic Manhattan

Buying local makes a huge impact in reducing our footprint on the planet.  We know our resources aren’t infinite and we know shipping from across the world uses more resources than shipping from our backyards.  So, no need to argue this point. Right? Right.

Why then has this not translated to the wonderful world of alcohol?  At a recent tradeshow, I was discussing the importance of buying local liquor with a colleague.  He wasn’t much older than me and believed that imported = better; a perspective passed down from his father. And I get it, maybe this has been proven true for cars or other products, but for alcohol?  In the film Bottleshock, America did beat France at their game with a blind wine tasting.  So let the record show, local has nothing to do with a better or worse flavor. Rather, it’s the quality and expertise we need to look at here.

If you search a little, you’re bound to find great liquors, wines, and beers local to your region.  In New York, we’re fortunate enough to have the Finger Lakes, a climate similar to Boudreaux, producing top of the line vino, many sustainably so, and at affordable prices—Wolffer Estate and Sherwood House being two of my very favorites. You can find both at Candle 79 in the Upper East Side, but if you are feeling adventurous head over to Long Island for a tour of the estates.  Wine takes on many new dimensions when you have the grapes and growers by your side.

 

Not only does Long Island have great wine, but if you are in the neighborhood, check out Long Island Spirits for a smooth shot of vodka produced using locally grown potatoes, and learn about Long Island’s rich potato growing history.

One of my favorite distilleries is Berkshire Mountain Distillers.  Located on a revived apple farm in Massachusetts, BMD is making top of the line liquors.  The Ragged Mountain Rum is a treat on the rocks, and the Greylock gin is pristine as a martini. Also try their vodka, corn whiskey, and bourbon.  Many of the ingredients are grown locally, however, the more exotic ones like sugar cane, are imported.  When purchasing the rum, you still reduce your carbon footprint because of the resources spared not having had the heavy contents traveling overseas.

 

NEW CLASSIC MANHATTAN
I love the Ragged Mountain Rum alone, but add a little depth with the following recipe:

  • • Start with a local rum like Ragged Mountain
  • • ½ oz of your favorite rich liqueur ( I used a Noccino, a walnut liqueur from Napa)
  • • A dash of bitters ( I used local bitters called Elemakule Tiki from Bittermans)
  • • Finish with a lemon twist and you have a great substitute for the classic Manhattan.

 

Written by EcoBartender Kyle Bullen

Kyle Bullen designs cutting-edge, artisanal cocktails, infusions, and full bar menus. He made his first trip to Sonoma Valley with his family and at 13 and grew a deep love and understanding of wine. He has worked with the world-renowned restaurant Millennium in San Francisco, and was Bar Manager and Beverage Director at New York City’s famous Candle 79. Today, Kyle Bullen is a leader in establishing business-smart and environmentally-minded beverage programs for high-profile businesses and clients. He also caters to private clients and companies throwing eco-parties across the United States.


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  • Brad Silk

    Know of any local Whiskey/bourbon/rye distilleries? Would love to make a local traditional Manhattan or Old Fashioned or just on the rocks–thank you.

  • Jennifer

    Thanks so much for supporting BMD. But we are located in Massachusetts, not Vermont (although it is a beautiful state)! jens@berkshiremountaindistillers.com

    • http://www.thediscerningbrute.com Joshua Katcher

      corrected! thanks!