Distilleries in the Hudson Valley are popping up like mushrooms. Wow! Here’s one of the newer ones I am just getting to….Albany Distilling. They are a great outfit!
Now, I am a massive William Kennedy fan, and any business that names something after Ironweed has to have some real cajones as far as I am concerned. Kennedy's novels came out while I was in college and they are still among my favorites, and brought to live a town and an era long gone, and indelible. So, I thought to myself this better be good.
The Albany Distilling Company is a modest operation, producing craft spirits one small batch at a time. It is located in downtown Albany, not far from the site of the city's original 18th century distillery. Owners John Curtin and Matthew Jager are proud to be a part of New York State's rich heritage of spirit production. They are located right next to the Pump Station in downtown Albany.
They have several products…but I’m only going to write about two of them today.
Recently they released Quackenbush Still House Rum. Albany has a long history of rum production which dates back to the 18th century, when the Quackenbush Still House produced rum for both local residents and wayfaring soldiers. Back then, Caribbean molasses were mixed with water from the Hudson River and allowed to ferment with wild yeasts in huge, open wooden vats (the remains of which can still be seen at the New York State Museum) before being distilled and bottled. Albany Distilling’d Original Albany rum follows this tradition, with a recipe from that era and molasses from the Caribbean - but with an updated production line (and different water).
They plan on other small-batch rums that will be similar in nature to this one, with different stylings. Something to look forward to.
Another one I like from Albany Distilling is Ironweed Whiskey. Nearly a century after Prohibition ended Albany's rich tradition of distilling spirits, Ironweed whiskey captures the both the essence of a bygone era and the spirit of modern innovation. Made exclusively from whole grain, water, and yeast, Ironweed acquires its rich color and much of its distinctive flavor from time spent aging in oak. It is produced in small batches using New York State grain, and great care is taken on every step along the way; it is truly a craft spirit, from mill to bottle.
Albany Distilling is making some killer stuff. Legs Diamond and the whole cast of characters may now stand down. Now, I think I'll pour myself a glass of Ironweed, and read some William Kennedy.