January 2021 NEWS

Happy New Year and welcome to 2021! We hope you've been able to enjoy the first few weeks of the new year, and are keeping warm in the wind and chill. Our favorite way to get through these cold nights is by the fire, with a delicious drink in hand. Here at the distillery we're trying our best to plan for the year ahead, and looking forward to brighter days ahead - the sooner they come, the better. Read on for the scoop on what's happening now!

New Virtual Classes!

Join us from home for some tasting, mixing & conversation

  • Mixing for Mardi Gras - Thursday February 11 @ 7 pm - join us on Zoom for an evening of great cocktails for Fat Tuesday - we'll share stories about the traditions and history of the drinks and holiday. 
  • Valentine's Day Drinks - Saturday February 13 @ 7 pm - join us on Zoom for a discussion of (supposed) aphrodisiacs and fun ways to incorporate them into your cocktails, as well as other delicious ideas for Valentine's Day. Order in dinner and make a date of it! 
  • Gin Geek Out Session - Saturday February 20 @ 7 pm - we'll taste and discuss a variety of styles of gin, talk about the history of this delicious spirit, and some of the best-loved classic cocktails for gin.
Have an idea for another class you'd like to see us offer? Let us know!

Tasting Room, Cocktail Kits & More

Right now, our tasting room bar is closed - we are open only as a store. Our region's Covid-19 metrics are looking better, so it is possible we will be able to reopen on a limited basis in the next few weeks - keep an eye on our website and social media for the latest. In the meantime, we are focused on creating fun cocktail kits, cocktails-to-go and other ways for you to enjoy our spirits safely at home. We also have a full cocktail archive on our website with lots of great ideas, especially if you're not in our immediate area or your bar is already well-stocked!

Here are a few of this month's new Cocktail Kits at the tasting room - citrus season is in full swing, so we're using these delicious wintry fruits in a number of drinks:
  • Distiller's Screwdriver - one of our new favorites, with North Shore Vodka, our new Vacation Curacao and fresh OJ (this week we have the juice of pineapple oranges in the kit - read on to learn why they're special!)
  • Grapefruit Gimlet - a bright, citrusy sipper with The Dearborn Gin and a new housemade grapefruit cordial
  • Tangerine Fizz - fizzy, fun and refreshing with either Twisted Citrus Vodka or Gin No. 6, tangerine-lavender-honey simple syrup, lemon and club soda
  • Midnight Sun - deliciously wintry, with Aquavit – Private Reserve, fresh lemon & grapefruit, simple and grenadine

Just Buy the Mix

Already have a bottle of our spirits, and just want the mix for one of our cocktail kits? We can do that! Get in touch with us and we'll put it together for you.

Our online store is also stocked with mixers, our cocktails-to-go, and our new cocktail kits. All online orders must be picked up at the distillery - we offer contact-free, curbside pickup.

Cocktail Insights

Citrus Season

'Tis the season! Citrus season, that is. January is known for being a quiet, grey month here in the Midwest, but every year we look forward to it, because it brings into season a wide variety of citrus fruits to experiment with! Currently we're loving orange and grapefruit, two different but delicious fruits that make amazing cocktails, and looking forward to tangerines and other citrus varietals later this month.

How Many Oranges Are There?

A lot of us probably have a very specific image in our mind of an orange - spherical, with bright orange, textured skin, and maybe a cute green leaf perched atop. It may surprise you to discover that there are hundreds of varieties of oranges! There are two main orange types - sweet and bitter.

Sweet Oranges

Sweet oranges are what we're most likely to see in the grocery store; popular varieties include the Navel orange, the lesser known Hamlin orange, and the later-arriving Valencia orange. These oranges are delicious for eating, and their peels are aromatic and flavorful, too. Right now, we're loving the Pineapple oranges we're getting - they are so incredibly sweet and flavorful when in-season.


Bitter Oranges

Bitter oranges are prized for their peel, not for the juice/flesh of the fruit, which is often very sour. For example, Bergamot oranges, grown in Italy, are used primarily for their peel. The oil from these peels is used as a scent to make perfumes, and also to provide flavor to Earl Grey tea. We use a variety of bitter oranges in our spirits as well, as they add additional depth and complexity to the orange flavors we create in our spirits. 

Using Fresh Oranges in Distilling

Since we use fresh oranges for several of our spirits, we always pay close attention to what specific type of oranges we are getting, where they are coming from, and how they taste - each variation will potentially impact our spirits, so we have to closely monitor what we are getting.

Each batch of fresh oranges we use starts out in our production space, where our distilling team carefully washes and then peels the fruits by hand. The peels go into Ethel, our still, with other ingredients - perhaps to help give Twisted Citrus its classic citrus flavor, or for Scofflaw Old Tom Gin to give it the fruit notes that pair so well with the juniper and floral notes. Then, the oranges head to our tasting room, where we juice them to use in cocktails. In these pandemic times, we've been enjoying fresh-squeezed orange juice at home more often, too.


Don't Forget About Curaçao!

We make several spirits with oranges, but one in particular features oranges as the star of the show - our seasonal curaçao! Each year, we start with the basic concept of a Curaçao, which is a style of orange liqueur created on the island of Curaçao using the peel of their local Laraha oranges (descendants of the Seville oranges planted by the Spanish). The Laraha is a bitter orange, so only the peels are used. 

For our curaçaos, we always use a number of different types of oranges, including several bitter and sweet varietals. The oranges give the spirit its classic bright, deep orange notes, which are the main notes of the spirit - then each year we add a different complementary note, like the aged rum and delicate spice notes in this year's Vacation Curaçao
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