Mavericks On Tour: New York Distilling Company

A full year on from my first trip to NYC, I was lucky enough to go again (I love my job), along with fellow Mavericks David Smillie and James Goggin. It was a two-day pit stop on our way to New Orleans for Tales Of The Cocktail. We hit too many incredible bars and restaurants to mention here, but no trip to the Big Apple is complete without swinging by Williamsburg in Brooklyn to see our very good friends at New York Distilling Company.

You know it’s going to be a good day when you have breakfast hand-delivered to your Airbnb by NYDC Founder, Master Distiller and absolute gent, Mr Allen Katz. The biggest bagels, some incredible smoked salmon and literally a bucket of cream cheese would keep the gang going for a few hours at least.

Once we had our fill of bagels, we piled into the Katzmobile and headed to the distillery at 79 Richardson Street. We entered the building through The Shanty, the bar attached to the distillery, and one of the first of its kind in the United States. We were greeted by Production Director, Chris Murillo, and after a quick cup of joe, were ready to get our geek on.

The tour began with a sip of Ragtime Straight Rye Whiskey finished in applejack casks for three to five months. You may have tried the two-year expression of this wonderful spirit bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Co. in 2017. Next it was on to where the magic happens and to meet Bernadette, a 1,000-litre copper pot hybrid still with related column. She is the only still at NYDC, which also has two 3,000-litre fermentation tanks. There was a fresh run of Dorothy Parker Gin in the pot during our visit.

Yes, we tried it right off the still.

Yes, it was bloody lovely.

Barrel blending at The Shanty

Barrel blending at The Shanty

Along with Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin and Chief Gowanus New Netherland Gin, NYDC are currently laying down around 1,000 barrels of Ragtime Rye a year, with most of the maturation done about an hour north of New York at a larger ageing warehouse. There’s even some experimenting going on at the distillery with different rye strains and a number of cask finishes.

After the tour, it was back into the comfort of the air-conditioned bar to catch up with Chris, who took us through the art of barrel blending. With Wu Tang on in the background, we got to try six Ragtime Rye single cask samples ranging in flavour profile from mixed spices and fruity to sweet butterscotch and fudge. Then we were let loose to create our own blends to take away. Such a great experience and it’s always nice to come away with a souvenir… Especially one you can drink!

If you ever find yourself in Brooklyn, you must book yourself on a tour of the NYDC facility or, at the very least, stop by for a couple of drinks at The Shanty, where they hold weekly events with great live music. It’s a truly impressive setup run by some really lovely people.

That was the end of another top visit to see NYDC and Allen directed us to Hometown BBQ over in Red Hook, just a quick cab away*.

*He failed to mention it was closed on Mondays, but what you gonna do, ey? When in Brooklyn there’s always somewhere that’s more than decent to eat. Until next time, New York!

Alexis Self