Monday, January 05, 2015

Harvest Spirits Cornelius Cherry (NY)

Not long ago Serious Eats wrote about Harvest Spirits and their Cornelius Applejack, "When we talk about uniquely American drinks, bourbon gets most of the love, but if you really want to drink like a pioneer, you should be sipping applejack. This distilled product of hard apple cider may technically be a brandy, but it drinks and mixes like a whiskey, with oaky caramel and vanilla flavors coming through just as strongly as apple. Don't let the fruit base fool you: this stuff is fiesty enough to put hair on your chest. Located on a small Hudson Valley farm in Valatie, New York, Harvest Spirits makes an especially fine rendition of the stuff, full of bourbon-like flavor but rounded out by the distinctive flavor of apples. They also make exceptionally smooth apple vodka (straight and in multiple flavors), multiple eaux de vie, and a couple other brandies—all with fruit from their family farm and others nearby."

I think the world of Derek and Ashley. This is a family run distillery. It is not uncommon to see children, pets, and friends and family walking through at any times, and if you are visiting, especially in fall, it is hard to taste alcohol with the smell of hto cider doughnuts wafting through the buildings. Well, OK, maybe it's not.

But now Derek and Peter Upstill, the assistant distiller, have come up with a gorgeous new elixir: Cornelius Cherry! In this case Derek and Peter chose the freshest and ripest Bing Cherries and soaked them in Hudson Valley Apple Brandy, until, in their won word, "they have given up every last bit of flavor they possess." An then they rested the brandy for one more year in oak before releasing it. 

This is a revelation. You get all the rick, dark cherry flavor up front. It's like you can still taste the cherries themselves. But there is that whiskey/bourbon kinda thing going on, wherein you get that toasty oak and just a whiff of spice.

No surprise that Harvest Spirits was just named in the Best of Columbia County 2014 awards!

Congrats to Derek and Ashley, an to Peter! Great job folks!  

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