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Catoctin Creek Week!
cap, captain miss america

Scott Harris of Catoctin Creek Distillery came up to New York City this week to celebrate the New York launch of Catoctin Creek’s spirits line, and I tagged along with him to a bunch of his events!

One of my oldest friends, Emily, has been working for them, and introduced me to their liquor about a year ago– she poured a little bit of gin into a metal thermos for me to take home with me after a lovely brunch. I started experimenting with it right away– their gin is very friendly to folks who aren’t crazy about strong juniper flavors, with a really nice mix of different herbs that gives it a unique profile. In November, Scott and Emily invited me to go out for a drink with them, and then Scott did an impromptu tasting of the rest of their line– and sent me home with a bottle of each of their flagship spirits– Mosby’s Spirit, a white whiskey, Roundstone Rye, and the Watershed Gin I mentioned above.

Then I went down to the distillery in January and met Scott’s wife, Becky, and got to sit in on a special session where they taught us about the distillation process. I already knew a little bit about distilling, but this really improved my knowledge. I also got to play with their bottling line, which was INCREDIBLY AWESOME, and reminded me a lot of playing whack-a-mole, but with gin!

So I was delighted when Scott told me he was going to be in town and asked if I could come to come of his tastings. I met up with him first at the Rum House on Tuesday– but there was a bit of a miscommunication, so no tasting, but we got a drink and some deviled eggs and then went over to Noorman’s Kil, where we got delicious grilled cheeses and beer, and I got to meet Scott’s New York brand ambassador, Kirsten, who was super nice. They had a huge crowd show up to taste the rye. I don’t have photos from that, because it was super dark, but there were loads of very enthusiastic whiskey aficionados. It was getting close to my bedtime, though, so I headed home, and met up again the next day at the Brandy Library.

At the Brandy Library, we had all three of the spirits, and that was really fun– I actually tasted along with the crowd, sort of, except that I got caught up chatting with folks from Scott’s distributor a bit in the process so it took me a while between the rye and the gin, but I eventually got through all three of them. I had a couple really nice cocktails, and then Mayur, who teaches the classes I sometimes take at Amor Y Amargo and who is spearheading the spirits division at Scott’s distributor, showed up, and it was cool to chat with him when he wasn’t behind the bar. I took a whole bunch of photos of that tasting, and one of them ran in Scott’s local paper!

After the Brandy Library, Scott and Kirsten and I went over to Ward III to grab a drink, and then I went home because it was my bedtime!

Then, on Friday, Scott had a tasting at The Whiskey Shop. I’d never been there before– largely because it’s in Brooklyn and a touch out of the way for me to go to buy spirits, but this place is awesome and if you live nearby, I highly recommend going in. I spent most of the time chatting with Jon, the shopkeeper, who is incredibly knowledgeable and incredibly fun, and let me taste a couple of samples of different things.

The people who came into The Whiskey Shop were all really interesting people who wanted to converse about spirits, which was fun. I talked to a whole bunch of different people there about different things. Once that was over, Jon suggested we go to Kinfolk’s Yuji Ramen around the corner, which was a perfect, delicious little meal. It was a great end to the week. I had so much fun getting to see all these different tastings, how different people taste spirits, and the kinds of questions people asked.

If you live in New York, or any of the other states where it is available make sure to try Catoctin Creek’s spirits!

Mirrored from Nommable!.

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I don't think I've ever had a rye before. I am generally unadventurous and stick with bourbon. Could you sub it into a bourbon cocktail or does it have a totally different profile?

Actually, most bourbon cocktails were originally rye cocktails. Sazeracs, Manhattans, old fashioneds...all originally made with rye. But after Prohibition, Kentucky made it very easy for the distilleries to re-open and the states that originally produced rye did not. There was a dearth of rye on the US market and most of the rye we dead get was from Canada and not always the best quality. So Americans started replacing rye with bourbon. It is absolutely recommended that you switch back now that rye is becoming more plentiful!

I always have to double take whenever I see my name as belonging to someone else a bunch of times, but it's exciting to see some perspective from the other side of the "liquor pimp" game (I am going to use all the awful things I heard on my awful rebound job to the fullest).

What gin would you compare the gin to?

I have maintained, since last I was in your neck of the woods, that white dog should be the next vodka in this country. I fantasize about seeing whole shelves of it in bars, a la ABSOLUT poopoo/lemon/hotdog or whatever else. Make me tired of it, jerks!

Haha, yeah, there was this moment where I invited Nina to one of the events and she did a little double take before she understood that I wasn't talking about you.

Scott is really pushing the Mosby's as a replacement for vodka, and it works very well for that; it has a fuller, richer favor than most vodkas.

The gin is a toughie-- the closest thing I can compare it to the Berkshire Mountain Ethereal batch #4, which was their previous batch (the yellow-green label batch) and batch #5 (purple label) is nothing like #4. They both have this nice smoke with a hint of sulphur although it's not as forward in the Catoctin gin and Catoctin has a bunch more herby botanicals that taste a little more like what you'd get in a white absinthe if you took the liquorice out. The gin is probably my favorite of their products-- it's challenging to mix with but not TOO challenging. They tend to compare it to stuff like New Amsterdam but I think they're doing that to go for the "we can win over vodka drinkers" comparison; I find New Amsterdam to be a bit boring-but-serviceable and would not make that comparison myself.

Most of my infusions are white dog infusions; I love that stuff and I think it gives infusions a richer, fuller-bodied flavor than when I use vodka. Although there are definitely a few newer American vodkas that I have become fond of. I mean, I'm not going to go out of my way to use them but they are fun to play with.

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