Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Field Trip: Breuckelen Distillery

This past Saturday, my Craft Beer group held a meet-up at this fantastic distillery in Park Slope, Brooklyn called Breuckelen Distillery. Back in my heavier drinking days, I was the original Tanqueray girl. I loved gin. The heavy floral nose of juniper berries that punched you in the face, the distinct depths of angelica & coriander....Ah. Heaven! The other great thing about gin? Because it's such a distinct flavor, one needs a much more sophisticated palate to appreciate it. What does that mean to a 20-something year old out with her friends? It meant I didn't have my vodka guzzlers or Jameson lovers siphoning off my drink while I wasn't looking. (Yes, I hung out with a bunch of sponges.) They hated gin. Lucky me!

Well, Breukelen's gin is a lot more tame on the nose. As I walked from the subway, down 19th St, waiting to cross under the BQE, I could smell liquor-making in the air with heavy whiffs of yeast and fermentation coming down the street to greet me. I was very excited! The tour was fantastic and very informative. With our large group of 17, Brad answered every question, gave us a taste of the gin in various stages of production, and let us climb ladders and peek into various barrels and drums like nosy little kids. It was fantastic!

It ended with a tasting of gin and whiskey. While holding very interesting flavor with toned down notes of juniper (which is what makes gin Gin), they have their own blends of flavors and aromatics that creates a much tamer spirit with more subtle notes. Some of the other elements in their blend include rosemary and lemon- a combination inspired by a risotto dish the founder Brad had one night. Although not as domineering as my old friend Tanqueray, I can totally see myself making my gin drinks with Breukelen's spirit; a mere $38 for a bottle. After a night too heavily spent with Tanqueray, it's been nearly a year since I've had a sip of gin. My once beloved juniper, angelica & coriander bouquet that used to whet my whistle now makes my tummy do somersaults in ways a motion-sensitive girl cannot take. This lighter version of my favorite liquor seems a perfect new addition to my cabinet.

The whiskey was a nice surprise. I've been a Jameson's fan for almost two years now. I would describe Breuckelen's Whiskey as something that comes between Jameson's and Jack Daniels but with a heavier color and taste; closer to Jack. Nice oaky flavor...hints of smokey goodness. I was a happy girl! I didn't even need the Coke this time! It was perfect on it's own...the little taste that I got.

I strongly urge everyone to give them a visit at their Park Slope distillery, where you can get a tour and a tasting for $3. Brad and the rest of the staff is very friendly, knowledgeable, and inspiring. This business uses all local ingredients; their grains grown upstate. They try to be as green as possible, which is always a plus in my book. Support your local small businesses. If you're going to spend your money; put it someplace where it will do the most good! Like I mentioned, a bottle of gin is $38 and a bottle of whiskey is $41. (Prices are subject to change, of course.)

Breuckelen Distilling Co. gets a thumb up!

Breuckelen Distilling Company Inc
77 19th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232


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