As a city girl, I’ve never felt the need to milk a cow – that is, until I discovered a cow that gave liquor, which was, obviously, a game-changer.
This liquor ‘cow’ is the pride and joy of Catoctin (pronounced ka-tock-tin) Creek, the first legal distillery in Loudoun County since Prohibition decimated the brown liquor industry. This family-owned operation regularly holds free bottling workshops at liquor cow headquarters in Purcellville, which allows drinkers to see another side of the bottle. Bonus points for drinking local.
What is on the other side of the bottle, you ask? Well: one large still, a few dozen barrels, and a ‘bottling workshop’ assembly line. After a short orientation and some donut fuel, you’re put on the assembly line, which kicks off with the liquor cow, a little machine with four teats; affix and fill the bottles, then pass them on for corking and sealing. To keep things interesting, people are allowed to jump in and out of different tasks.
Is the final product drinkable, you ask? Why yes, it is.
Roundstone Rye (80proof) – their flagship product, an award-winning, lightly-aged whiskey made entirely with organic rye and aged in white oak from Minnesota. It’s nicely peppery up front, and the spice, with some wood and citrus, lingers and becomes more subtle.
Mosby’s Spirit (80proof) – aka unaged (organic) rye whiskey, aka hooch, aka moonshine, which means it’s trendy. It’s also tasty, with a silky vanilla soul. This would add a beautiful layer of complexity to any cocktail calling for vodka.
Watershed Gin (100proof) – also organic, with (unlike many gins) a face-punching spice profile layered onto the juniper. I personally think this makes a beautiful spicy-bitter Negroni, but its complex bite sometimes inspires as much hatred as love. Taste before you buy, because you might not be one of us.
After you’ve toiled on the bottling line, you are rewarded with a complimentary tasting of all three of these. Best Saturday morning ever.
Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, 540-751-8404; 37251-C E. Richardson Lane, Purcellville, VA; to learn more and join the mailing list, visit http://catoctincreekdistilling.com/
The Scofflaw is a Prohibition-era classic – back then, scofflaws were boozers, not mere jaywalkers. Let’s celebrate that golden era.
The Catoctin Scofflaw
- 2 parts Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
- 1 part dry vermouth
- .25 part fresh lemon juice
- .5 part grenadine or a red jam
- Orange bitters (about two shakes/serving)
Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, cover, and shake vigorously. Strain into your favorite cocktails glass. (Straining is very especially if you’re using jam.)