Kings County Distillery
Kings County, for those who don’t know, is Brooklyn. Kings County Distillery was the first legal distillery after Prohibition which was founded in 2010. The laws had changed and if 75% or more of the materials and ingredients originated from New York State, it was easier to get a distilling license.
If you look out past the window, across the street you will see where Al Capone had his headquarters before he moved out to Chicago. This was the same area which was captured in movie The Gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese starring Leonardo DiCaprio. As the story goes, Al Capone moved into this Irish neighborhood, gathered stories of distilling and bootlegging and decided to make it a business once he knew all the ins and outs of the business. While some say Capone was chased out of New York due to rivals and enemies, others simply attribute it to good business sense to get out of the heat where police enforcement was tough and into the midwest where he could more easily get whiskey smuggled in from places like Indiana.
Whichever the case, this whiskey is the real deal. Of all the craft distilleries, this one is my favorite. Its the best tasting, the most complex, and its thick, not just in flavor, but viscosity too. This matters when you are drinking a more clear, thin, watered down whiskey.
These guys are working all day, every day. They even came up with things I would have never thought of and even scoffed at like Chocolate whiskey which is the famed Mast Brothers chocolate cacao husks infused during the distilling process to create something like a very bitter chocolate whiskey (not sugary like one might think), and my new favorite, a grapefruit and jalapeño whiskey. I drank this straight, but I can only begin to imagine the possibilities in a high-end cocktail.
These guys are pulling out all the stops, from Barreled-in-Bond to bourbon finished in Cabernet casks, and even rye, which is probably the most difficult whiskey to achieve successfully.
As you are going through the tour, I noticed numerous bottles of whiskey in the same flat 200-350ml flasks labelled with maker on masking tape as to which experimental approach they took to each.
Whiskey might be a business, but for Kings County Distillery its clearly a passion of their art. Money and figures are left somewhere in the background. They must be doing something right as they are now the oldest distillery in New York and have numerous awards for their whiskey to solidify the legitimacy in the ever growing, ever popular whiskey craze.
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