This summer my husband and I made a visit to Finger Lakes Distilling in Burdett, NY while we were on vacation wine tasting on Seneca Lake. He has been a big fan of the bourbon for a while, so he was very excited. I had previously read about the distillery in local and national publications including the New York Times, Another NYTimes article, Edible Manhattan, New York Magazine, AM New York, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living and the Wall Street Journal The view is incredibly beautiful as you enter the tasting room.
After we made our way into the tasting room we tried a wide variety of spirits. Their products include: the above mentioned bourbon, a gin distilled from local grapes (I found to be really delicious, and they sell it at Exit 9 in Halfmoon, NY, a vodka distilled from grapes (with a very interesting and distinctive flavor), a white whiskey, and a range of liqueurs. I bought the Maplejack liquor, which according to their website, “starts as an apple brandy made from New York State apples. It is aged in oak barrels and sweetened with local maple syrup. Aromas of caramel and mulled cider greet you. The palate is round, with just a touch of sweetness from the maple syrup.” I thought I would keep it tucked away for a cold, dark autumn evening when I can bring it out as a delicious reminder of our summer vacation. My husband bought the McKenzie Pure Pot Still Whiskey, which he calls more of an Irish style. He also bought the McKenzie Rye Whiskey “made from NYS grain and distilled using old-time techniques”, and while he says they are both very delicious the rye was his favorite.
As we were standing around the tasting room gushing about the products, the distillers walked by. The informative woman helping us waved them over to us, and it was great being able to talk to them directly and ask them questions. The Finger Lakes Distilling is run by two men with last names McKenzie (Brian and Thomas Earl) who are in fact not related, but who met at a distillers conference. We got the sense that Brian is more the financial side of the business while Thomas Earl does more of the actual distilling. They seemed like really cool guys, and we were happy to get to talk to them and give our feedback on the products. We enjoyed that you can actually see the copper still inside the tasting room, which rises up to the second story. We also enjoyed that most of the raw materials that go into the production of the spirits are local, and many are organic.
The products at the Finger Lakes Distillery are made in small batches and it is clear that a lot of care goes into making them so delicious. We can’t wait to visit again next time we are in the Finger Lakes!