Indy Spirits Expo NYC

18 05 2011

Monday night at Soiree on the Bowery, the Indy Spirits Expo took over with dozens of the most unique, new and independent spirits brands. Old favorites like Templeton Rye and Hudson Whiskey showed up to serve generous pours of their fantastic whiskeys. It is incredible how far these brands have come; not even two years ago the only way to get Templeton outside Iowa and Illinois was to order it by the case from Binny’s. I got my last order from them in December 2009 just before their supply dried up completely.

Steve pimping the Templeton

From Bourbon to Rye to 4 grain to White Dog, Tuthilltown has built up a great range all from their operation in upstate NY

Now that they’ve ramped up production and are backed by Southern Wine & Spirits in NY, Templeton has exploded and can be found everywhere from Astor to the Korean liquor store four blocks from my door. And this is a large part of what Indy Spirits is about: discovering and promoting smaller brands so that everyone can enjoy them.

Both Brooklyn and Breuckelen gin were in attendance, not two tables apart, and I’m happy to report they didn’t duke it out. Well, happy and disappointed. A two gins enter, one gin leaves, Thunderdome-style death match would’ve been entertaining. I mean, at least pelt each other with juniper berries or something! (A little background) In any event, they both make great, and distinctly different gins, so I say the more the merrier.

I like vodka. So shoot me.

One of the great surprises of the night for me was Dry Fly Distilling‘s Washington Wheat Whiskey and Gin. An American whiskey that drinks more like an Irish or a Genever, it is truly unique and something I plan to play around with. The gin too distinguishes itself in an increasingly crowded market by using their excellent wheat vodka as base, which they thankfully did not distill to death. Neutral vodka’s have their place (nothing I’d rather have with herring and caviar), but it definitely makes it more interesting for cocktails when the base grains can come through.

Tennyson also made a very strong showing with their Absinthe, eminently drinkable with just a little water. You could add sugar, sure, but this one doesn’t need anything to smooth it out.

Next purchase: Absinthe Fountain

Lastly there’s Fidencio, which brought out their Pechuga and Classico Mezcal’s, excellent complements to their original. The Classico adds smokiness, coming off as the name would imply, like a more traditional style and their Pechuga, well, is made with chicken breast. Yes, and it’s delicious.

Cinnamon and Orange are to Mezcal as Salt and Lime are to Tequila

On a slightly sour note, the bouncers and floor managers from Soiree tried to confiscate much of the vendors’ product as a “donation” to the club at the end of the night. Most stood their ground, but it left a bad taste in my mouth and doesn’t reflect well on Soiree as an event space. This is nothing against the organizers at Indy Spirits, the guys at Soiree are just douches. Look at their website, just look at it!

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