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Drink This Weekend Edition: Small-batch spirits to make the drink scene bright

December 9th 03:12pm, 2011

120911_pickneyIn the wide world of alcoholic beverages, the word “small” is in big-time fashion. Tiny wineries and microbreweries are cropping up across the country, offering drinkers some tasty tours of avenues off Main Street. In the case of spirits, the explosion of small-batch, artisan distilleries gives drinkers the opportunity to explore myriad expressions in practically every spirit category. Case in point: Pinckney Bend and Dry Fly, two distilleries new to the St. Louis scene.

Located in New Haven, Mo., about 50 miles west of St. Louis, Pinckney Bend Distillery launched its first product last week: a small-batch gin made with American grain and infused with the flavors of nine certified organic botanicals, each distilled separately. Distillery co-owner Ralph Haynes explained the decision to limit the number of botanicals. “If you load them up, things can become muddled,” he said. “Our goal was to create a gin that merged the dominant juniper more gracefully with citrus, to create crisp layers of flavor, without losing focus.” Thus Pinckney Bend dialed back on the juniper and coriander and kicked up the citrus with sweet and bitter orange and lemon peels.

Pinckney Bend gin is one of the few Missouri-made gins on the market and joins Spirits of St. Louis gin as one of only two made in the region. In addition, the craft distillery partnered locally with 2nd Shift Brewing, also in New Haven, for its grain mashing and fermentation.

Also new to the region: Dry Fly Distilling, a craft distillery in Spokane, Wash., which produces a line of vodka, gin, whiskey and bourbon using only locally grown grains and botanicals. The company was founded in 2007 but its products finally arrived in St. Louis this September. The vodka, made of winter wheat, tastes of butter and has a smooth, creamy texture. Dry Fly gin is infused with the flavors of six botanicals – juniper stands out, as do licorice and lavender. It’s a lively gin and a nice expression of a spirit that is meant to be mixed, so be sure to try this one in a classic gin martini. Dry Fly’s 100-percent wheat whiskey, aged for 18 months in new American oak casks, is a superb sipper. Sniff caramel and butterscotch and savor the soft taste of ripe stone fruit and a dash of warm cinnamon. Dry Fly Washington bourbon, the first-ever commercially produced bourbon from Washington State, just hit the area market.

So, how can you track down a bottle of these new-to-The Lou spirits this holiday season? You’ll find Dry Fly and Pinckney Bend on shelves at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton. A 750-milliliter bottle of Pinckney Bend gin retails for $23, while the Dry Fly gin and vodka both clock in at $33. Dry Fly whiskey sells for $50 and the bourbon is $65. If you enjoy these offerings, keep an eye out, because more are on the way. Dry Fly Brand X, a whiskey made from triticale (a rye-wheat hybrid grain) and aged in French oak, should arrive in fall 2012. Also look for a Pinckney Bend malt-based whiskey to debut next summer.

By admin

One Response to “Drink This Weekend Edition: Small-batch spirits to make the drink scene bright”

  1. Sauce Magazine Blog » Blog Archive » Area distilleries make big splash at San Fran World Spirits Competition Says:
    April 4th, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    [...] for its Pinckney Bend Gin. Founded last year, the distillery is one of the few in Missouri with gin on the [...]

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