Johnny Cocktail has been VERY busy!

There are many more posts to come so stay tuned. This Blog is getting ready to see quite the face lift!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Catoctin Creek Distillery

In a Shot: I got to go on a tour to Catoctin Distilleries and ended up a fan while making fabulous cocktails.

Discovered by my wife, I was surprised one Saturday morning after my birthday to be delivered to the Catoctin Creek Distillery located in Purcellville, VA (Loudon County). Upon entering the distillery, you are taken to a small office space reminiscent to a dentist office only instead of little pictures of teeth or smiles, here numerous bottles of rye whiskies and Catoctin Creek memorabilia with a small couch on the right side, a little round table and some chairs on the other side next to a small office desk and computer.


Then there is the small door opening to what would be described as a small storage warehouse. That's when you realise you are somewhere personal and very special. Three things you first notice after acknowledging how small the space is; One, the room is filled with an intense, thick smell of rye malting; Two, In the distance a bright blue containment unit where the rye grain malts is zipped up in a silver fabric making it look similar to a small space ship; Three, the giant German still. An Ulrich Kothe Eislengen (Click the American flag and check out the website: http://www.kothe-dt.de/) - The machine produces very high quality spirits along side a very superior grain, a 100% organic rye, a grain that they strive to obtain locally and utilize domestically. The thing that separates it from any other distillery is this clean "white dog" that comes off the still, a product that most people recognize as moonshine and know it for it's high alcohol and bastardised version of gasoline. THEIR STUFF, is fruity, flavorful and incredibly smooth.
Before I get too lost in talking about the product, I want to discuss the small tour and the wonderful bottling experience I had at Catoctin Creek. Becky walked us through the tour, first directing us to the small space ship looking malt room where the rye was becoming suitable "distiller's beer" - We were all given a chance to climb up and smell the product as it develops. From there Scott excitedly showcased a batch of Gin in the works where what looked like a keg of his organic rye spirit was being flavored with a gigantic version of a tea bag filled with juniper berries, anise, orange peels and other Catoctin Creek ingredients steeping much like a very large tea. We were then shown the extra cool German built still, a little catching basket for the spirit and a giant tub where the volatiles and excess grain was being stored. These guys, to not waste any of the product, actually go and feed cows this left over mash. Check out this cool video I found on Youtube! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3L93D3MuQOE
The whole reason I came to Catoctin Creek, was my thoughtful wife, Mary who knew I was a fanatic for spirits. She also knew I was a huge supporter of the organic and local movement and the gift she gave me was not only the tour, but a fantastic bottling party experience! Every once in a while, Scott Harris will invite fans, supporters and guests to come and help with the bottling of freshly made new spirit. I happened to come on a day they were bottling Roundstone Rye, their flagship 100% organic all rye barrel aged whisky. Check out this great video of me using the famous "whisky cow" to bottle some rye:

video

I think the greatest thing about it all is they say thanks by giving the group free pizza! I mean, how personal and impressionable are they to not only give you a free tour of their very personal space, but to include you in the bottling (They allow you to sign the bottle labels so things like "Check out http://www.thenextroundsonme.blogspot.com/" appear on bottles across the great state of Virginia, you also get soda and pizza?????? This is a no brainer guys, you all need to take time out and check out the amazing website (Scott Harris took his own photos during last year's blizzard) as well as their awesome youtube videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQnTwa19WWs

http://catoctincreekdistilling.com/

Now that you've done that you need to check out the great distillery itself. It's too cool and the people that come there are all on your level.

Oh and hay! Not to toot my own horn but you should definitely read this next link:

http://catoctincreekdistilling.com/enjoy/events/230-food-matters

WAAAHOOOO! Come by and be sure to check out the already well recieved cocktails from my brand new Food Matters cocktail list. The cocktail of the month is the Catoctin Concoction, a white Old Fashioned inspired drink utilizing muddled tangerines, fresh seasonal grapefruit juice, thyme and a thyme syrup that sings to the Watershed Gin Catoctin and then a popular twist on my list - the Gin & Johnic which is my modernised and fragrant version of the famous G&T using Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin, lime juice, Cointreau, Elderflower liqueur, citrus bitters and orange blossom water

So, the 21st of this month also marks the historical moment when The Next Rounds on Me, Food Matters and Catoctin Creek join forces where both Scott and Becky Harris come to Food Matters to showcase their amazing spirits, with me creating hand crafted libations and the forever renowned food by Chef Tom Przystawik all at once! I thank all of our supporters first off but I thank Mary for the remarkable experience at Catoctin Creek and I thank the Harris family for giving me an amazing opportunity to be apart of something so great, I'm only jealous I can't experience it everyday forever, THANK YOU.


Cheers!





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