Twin Stills Moonshine: Also Très Petite December 29, 2019

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https://www.liooldtymer.com/

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The tasting room is even cozier than the outside suggests.

This is the smallest so far of our line-up of small tasting rooms, though I think One Woman’s room is even smaller. There’s barely room for a short bar with about six stools, and not much else, though in good weather there is additional seating outside, on the porch and in the front yard of what was once evidently a house. Previously, it had been a little deli, on Sound Avenue.

From the name, you can probably deduce that this is not a winery. In fact, it is a distillery, and the name moonshine refers to the source of its alcohol—corn! They make a clear liquor called Moonshine, plus a variety of flavored liqueurs which can be used as after-dinner sippers or combined into cocktails, a number of which they will make for you on the premises. In fact, when we arrived, we found a couple enjoying cocktails and a chat with the lively and friendly server. The server slipped a copy of their cocktail recipes into the bag with the bottle of coffee liqueur we bought.

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The tasting cup. It is small, but our server filled it to the brim.

Each taste comes in a tiny earthenware cup, a reflection of the owners’ Portuguese heritage, for $3. A standard flight is three for $9, but one can try as many as one likes, though given the high proof, three is probably plenty. We were sharing sips, so we tried four. They also have three or four local beers on tap, I guess in case a group includes someone who doesn’t want hard liquor.

In addition to their own product, the tasting room has a small selection of local products and t-shirts with their logo. We also noted a sampler box of four small bottles of their flavored drinks. A 375 ml. bottle costs $22.

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This is the basic product, on which all the flavors are based.

  1. Moonshine

We decided to start with their unflavored product, a 100-proof corn liquor. I immediately detected a slightly yeasty aroma and a smooth, almost caramel flavor. Did I taste roasted corn? Yes, indeed. It is surprisingly easy to drink, given its high alcohol content, but it is not something I’d choose to sip neat. Our server noted that many people will buy the unflavored version to take home and make their own liqueurs, which they sometimes bring in and urge her to taste, a favor she declines.

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  1. Maple Pecan 60 proof

Many of their products are made with local ingredients, we were told, but the maple syrup for this comes from upstate. My tasting pal immediately dubbed this “dangerously drinkable,” and our server noted that some people will put it on their breakfast pancakes. That’ll get your day off to a fun start. She also said some people will add it to coffee, and agreed with us that it would go well on vanilla or butter pecan ice cream, for a very adult ice cream sundae. I mostly tasted the maple, not much of the pecan.

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Some suggested recipes. We were told the apple pie flavor is very popular.

  1. Coffee 80 proof

As a fan of Kahlua, I was interested to try the coffee. Made from espresso beans (which are not grown on the North Fork, but, we theorized, could have been roasted here), this tastes like coffee with a kick. I could see making a Black Russian with this (a drink I used to really like, until one time I had one too many…).

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  1. Honey 80 proof

When I have a bad cold, with a sore throat, I like to make myself a hot toddy. This would be perfect in one, or just poured into a nice hot cup of tea. It is also an interesting way to sweeten iced tea, which, with a twist of lemon, is one of their suggested cocktails. It is quite smooth, and definitely tastes like honey, with a trace of that roasted corn flavor. She wasn’t sure whose honey went into it, but I noted bottles of Miss Molly’s honey, made in Riverhead, on the shelf.

Reasons to visit: you’re ready for something a little different; you like liqueurs; you want to try some moonshine; the cocktails; the coffee flavor. I wouldn’t recommend this with a group, except in warm weather, when you could sit outside.

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There’s room on the porch in warm weather.

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Long Island Spirits: Cocktail Time August 29, 2018

Long Island Spirits: Cocktail Time August 29, 2018

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No, the name Long Island Spirits does not refer to ghosts. The distillery used to be called LiV, for Long Island Vodka, but now they have so much more. In addition to their vodka and a bunch of sorbettos made from vodka, they also carry gin and several whiskies. We had been there recently for a tasting, but we had visitors whom we knew would appreciate what LIS had to offer, so after a trip to the aquarium in Riverhead we headed to Sound Avenue.


While our friends sampled whisky and sorbetto, we ordered cocktails and settled down at a table to enjoy them. And enjoy them we did. I had the Cucumber Mint Cooler made with gin and my husband had the Bloody Mary. My drink was, as its name suggests, crisp and cool, just right for the hot weather. It was garnished with a slice of cucumber. The Bloody Mary was also tasty, though it could have been a touch spicier, garnished with olives and a pickle.

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Our cocktails, with a couple of sips already taken.

I have wanted to try their cocktails, and was happy I finally got to.
After the drinking, our friends bought the lemon and orange sorbettos and an espresso vodka, while we bought a bottle of Rough Rider Rye to replace the one we had finished.
Reasons to visit: in addition to excellent vodka, gin, whisky, rye, and sorbetto, some really nice cocktails. Too bad they don’t have a menu of bar snacks to go with them!

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While we were there we saw a couple of people order cocktails and take them out to the deck, but it was awfully hot out there!

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Downstairs you can peek through a window at the distillery.

Twin Stills Moonshine: All in the Family May 7, 2016

http://www.twinstillsmoonshinedistillery.com/

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We asked our server about the honey used in the delicious honey-flavored whiskey, and he turned to a woman next to him and asked, “Ma, where do we get our honey?”  After proudly telling us about their local sources, including their own beehives which they just started, she added, “My husband is from Portugal. That’s a drawing of his grandfather on the label. ”  This tiny distillery is the definition of a mom and pop store, with the stills in a back room of what used to be a little deli on Sound Avenue.

The honey flavor

The honey flavor

We had been eagerly awaiting its opening, intrigued by the idea of moonshine and rumrunners, given Long Island’s interesting history with both during Prohibition, and this chilly rainy May day seemed like the perfect opportunity to sample some warming whiskey.  It took them a while to open due to delays in getting their license.

A view along the bar.  That's mom in the background.

A view along the bar. That’s “mom” in the background.

The tasting room is small, with a bar along most of its length plus an alcove, but in the warm weather they plan to also use the porch and a patio area along one side of the building.  If you want snacks with your drinks, you’ll need to sit outside.  And you may want those drinks.  The moonshine whiskey—also referred to as “shine”—is made from locally sourced corn and barley, plus other ingredients which are, to the greatest extent possible, also local.  In the future they’d love to add a Portuguese-style grappa to their menu, which is what the owner’s grandfather made back in the original “twin stills” back in Portugal.  The drinks go down quite smoothly, despite the high proof, and some seem like guaranteed crowd pleasers.

The alcove off to one side of the tasting room.

The alcove off to one side of the tasting room.

The menu offers three tastes for $9 from their menu of five choices, plus beers from Greenport Harbor Brewery and ciders from the soon-to-open Riverhead Cider House on tap.  They also offer shots and cocktails, with a menu of interesting combinations, for $7-$9.  A 375ml bottle of flavored shine is $20, and a bottle of the 100 proof original is $25.  We decided to each get a flight, so we could sample all the flavors.

  1. Honey  80 proof

When I have a bad cold, I like to make myself a hot toddy, a mixture of whiskey, honey, and hot water or tea.  Lemon optional.  It may not cure anything, but it does make you feel better!  The honey shine reminded me of a hot toddy—just add hot water.  You can really taste honey, and it has an unctuous mouth feel that is quite pleasant.  I could see sipping this by the fire after dinner on a cold winter night.  Their cocktail idea is to add it to iced tea with a twist of lemon, which they call “Fricken Likken Good Tea.”

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  1. Apple Pie            50 proof

This is a good choice if you don’t actually like whiskey at all.  It tastes of apples and cinnamon and is too sweet for us.  It might be good in a mixed drink if you balanced the sweetness with something tart.  One mixed drink they make is called “The Red Neck,” and includes the apple pie flavor plus cranberry juice and a twist of lemon.

  1. Coffee 80 proof

I used to drink Black Russians as my preferred after dinner drink, and this reminds me of that.  It is our favorite flavor, and we buy a bottle to take home.  We are told that it is made with “real coffee beans,” but any further details are secret.  At any rate, it tastes like good coffee mixed with whiskey, with some sweetness.

The strawberry is a pretty color.

The strawberry is a pretty color.

  1. Strawberry 60 proof

We were afraid this would be cloyingly sweet, but the intensity of the strawberry flavor means it is not.  It reminds me a bit of LiV vodka’s strawberry after dinner drink, though again the mouth feel is different.  They recommend mixing it with lemonade and garnishing it with a strawberry, a drink they call “Southern Sunshine.”  They plan to use local strawberries when they are in season, which, despite the cold wet weather, should be soon.  After all, mid-June is when the Mattituck Strawberry Festival takes place.

Tiny but pretty cups

Tiny but pretty cups

  1. Moonshine Whiskey 100 proof

At this point, I think I should point out that the tastes are served in adorable but tiny pottery cups, “hand made in Portugal,” we are told, so though the alcohol level is high you will not be.  We are both single malt scotch drinkers, but this is a very different tipple.  You don’t get any of the peaty or smoky notes of a scotch, as this is a simpler drink.  It’s fine well-iced, which is how they serve it.  The cocktail menu suggests mixing it with lemonade and pineapple juice, garnished with a chunk of pineapple, for an “o’Old School Lemonade.”

The menu is on the obligatory blackboard, and you can also see the cider taps.  Note the saying.

The menu is on the obligatory blackboard, and you can also see the cider taps. Note the saying.

Reasons to visit:  you want to try something new; you like whiskey; you want a cocktail; the coffee and honey flavors; you want to buy various flavors to make cocktails at home; the cozy tasting room and the chance to chat about the making of whiskey (though they are somewhat sparing on the details).

The "old tymer" on the label is grandpa, the inspiration for the twin stills.

The “old tymer” on the label is grandpa, the inspiration for the twin stills.

Cute little building

Cute little building