Saturday, June 16, 2012

Slow Sippin': Triumph of American Spirit

Recently Tuthilltown Spirits – distiller of Hudson whiskeys, among other things – sent us some of the best treats we’ve had in years.   Regular readers know that Capital Cooking is generally simpatico with the products we feature.  While CC will point out the occasional swing and a whiff, we normally try to write about products we like.  It fits our optimistic approach to life.    But to say that we “like” Hudson Whiskey is like saying Facebook was a “decent” idea or that landing on the moon was a “nice” accomplishment.  It just doesn’t convey the magnitude of the sentiment.

Tuthilltown is unique from the big distillers, as well as most craft distillers, for several reasons.  First, Tuthilltown sources up to 90% of the raw materials that go into its whiskeys within ten miles of the distillery.  That saves gas to ship said raw materials, which means drinking Hudson whiskeys is not only good for creativity and making friends.  It’s also good for Mother Earth. 

Second, in a Hudson whisky, there is No Added Flavor.  No Added Color.  Raw Grain.  Raw Fruit.  This equates to Raw Goodness.

Third, Tuthilltown has a well-documented, unique history (the details of which are better experienced in these awesome clips):

The short story:  father and son own gorgeous piece of land.  Father and son try to convert land into rock climbing mecca.  [Cranky] neighbors don’t like rock climbing.  Father and son pivot to whiskey.  Father and son’s jagged route to distilling greatness rivals Einstein’s jagged route to E=MC(squared).

Fourth, Hudson whiskeys live in 375ML bottles. 750ML to 375 ML is like iPod Classic to iPod Nano. Simple.  Brilliant.  Beautiful.  Why didn’t anyone else think of it?

Now to some details. 

Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey is slightly sweet with vanilla, spicy with almonds and cinnamon, and a little toasty and bitter on the finish. It is said that sweet maple syrup, allspice, cinnamon, and mint appear.  I like it better than almost all the craft ryes out there these days (though my home state (Iowa) Templeton Rye is awfully good, too).

Hudson Baby Bourbon.  Oaky, vanilla, floral. Hints of corn and caramel. A little toasty.  Nice to sip.  My second favorite of the bunch.

Hudson New York Corn Whiskey.  The first legal grain spirit distilled in NY since the ‘30s.  This ones cuts, so it’s best in a mixed drink for anyone who doesn’t fall into the class of “whiskey aficionado.”

Hudson Single Malt.  Spicy, lots of cinnamon. Maybe some black pepper.  Honey?  Crisp.  Delicious.

Hudson Four Grain.  We save the best for last. This one obviously combines four grains – a rarity in whiskeys – including corn (60%), rye, wheat, and malted barley.  Rum, dried fruits, sourdough bread, and wood spices on the nose. Corn and caramel holding down the fort.  A fruity finish that dares you to have another glass . . .

If my review didn’t already make it obvious, raise a glass of Hudson whiskeys (as I currently am).  They are a triumph of American ingenuity.  And they’re a hell of a lot better than whatever you’re drinking right now.

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