Welcoming Autumn With A J. Carver Barrel Gin Old Fashioned

Autumn is definitely in the air. The gorgeous sunny days dance their way into cool, inviting nights. I look back and ask, “How did summer come and go so quickly?” The last three months have flown by and again, so much has happened at the distillery.  We started the summer months with tours and tastings on Saturdays and over the past few months added Fridays and special events during the week to the mix. It has been incredible meeting so many of you from across the state, even across the border, as your interest in the art and science of the distillation process at J. Carver Distillery brought you to our door. Who knew a re-purposed Pontiac Car dealership, where so many locals bought their first car, would now be the spot to enjoy a specialty cocktail with grains grown from just down the road. 

We started slowly with our cocktail offerings and quickly became inspired to add to our specialty cocktail list. You asked and we created. From the Basil Cucumbertini to the Blackberry Bramble, local fruit, herbs, and infused simple syrup inspired the many specialty cocktails created in the tasting room for you to enjoy.

 J. Carver Blackberry Bramble

J. Carver Blackberry Bramble

We wanted to highlight the J. Carver spirit in each specialty cocktail created. The Minnesota Mule using J. Carver Premium Vodka instantly became a crowd favorite as did the Lake House Lemonade and the Venetian. Okay, to all my gin lover’s, you have to know how happy I was to hear you say that Grimm Farm Gin made the best gin and tonic you ever had. Hats off to the history books and Wendin Grimm for bring everlasting clover to the Grimm Farm in Victoria, the botanical that inspired that gin. I’ll personally raise a glass to that. But honestly, the best ever has been the sheer enjoyment of those of you who sat back and relished every sip of your J. Carver Barrel Gin Old Fashioned. As promised, I believe to about 15 of you last Saturday alone, (wink, wink) here is the recipe to make the Old Fashioned simple syrup so you can enjoy a J. Carver Barrel Gin Old Fashioned at home. Just promise me you won’t be a stranger and come in for one at the tasting room every now and again. We love love when you stop in. Here it goes. I told you it was not that complicated, it just takes some time. I would be remiss if I did not give props to Robb Jones from Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis for the inspiration behind the simple syrup in this classic cocktail. Making this simple syrup upfront makes the actual task of making the cocktail a breeze.

You will need two separate pots, sugar, water, rosemary, vanilla bean, bitters, cherries, wild flower honey, and oranges or orange marmalade. 
In one pot add:
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup frozen organic cherries. (In season I used fresh cherries but hard to come by now)
¼ of a vanilla bean

 Cherries in simple syrup

Cherries in simple syrup

Stir the sugar until dissolved over medium heat. Wait for a slight boil and macerate the cherries until you get the color and flavor extracted from the cherry and skin. Add vanilla bean. Turn off the heat and let cool. Check the intensity of how much flavor the syrup is getting from the vanilla bean. Remove the vanilla bean when the vanilla is balanced with the cherries, about 30 minutes. Leave the cherries in the pot. 

In a second  pot add:
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 Rosemary sprigs
1 teaspoon Wild Flower Honey
1 teaspoon Orange Marmalade (Homemade is best. I got my from a dear mentor this summer - Thanks Winnie!)
Bitters to taste – here is where you can be creative. You’ll see what I mean later in the blog.

Stir the sugar until dissolved over medium heat. Wait for a slight boil. Add Rosemary sprigs, Wild Flower Honey,  and the Orange Marmalade. Turn off the heat and let it cool. Check the intensity of how much flavor the syrup is getting from the Rosemary sprigs. Take out the sprigs when the rosemary is balanced with the other flavors in the pot, about 60 minutes. If you want a little more intensity, feel free to leave the rosemary in the pot for a longer period. 

Once the simple syrup has cooled, usually about 1 ½ hours, strain the simple syrup into separate mason jars to remove any particles from the cherries, marmalade, and rosemary. Here is where you can be creative with the amount and kind of bitters you want to add to create your final blend. If you want a little more cherry and vanilla, add cherry vanilla bark bitters. If you want a little more orange, add orange bitters to the rosemary simple syrup jar. When you are satisfied, Blend the two mason jars together into a larger container. Pour the final combined syrup into two separate mason jars, label and date. The simple syrup will keep in your refrigerator for up to a month - if it lasts that long - and the J. Carver Barrel Gin is available at local liquor stores in your area.

To make the J. Carver Barrel Gin Old Fashioned:
2 ounces J. Carver Barrel Gin
½ ounce Rosemary Scented Wild Flower Honey Simple Syrup
1 slice orange squeezed into glass
1 brandied cherry
Serve over ice, stir and ENJOY!

 J. Carver Barrel Gin Old Fashioned. Available at J. Carver Distillery on the Specialty Cocktail Menu.  Enjoy the last weekend of summer and stop by the distillery for a  tour  and a taste or purchase one of of our specialty cocktails during our regularly scheduled tasting room hours. Cheers!

J. Carver Barrel Gin Old Fashioned. Available at J. Carver Distillery on the Specialty Cocktail Menu.

Enjoy the last weekend of summer and stop by the distillery for a tour and a taste or purchase one of of our specialty cocktails during our regularly scheduled tasting room hours. Cheers!

The Wait Is Over - It's Tour Time and So Much More

It has been a busy couple of months with lots of changes at the distillery. Historical photos adorn the walls in the tasting room and racks in the barrel room are filling up fast. Barrels, barrels, and more barrels. 

We opened our doors last week and were thrilled with all the distillery friends and fans, old and new alike, who stopped in for a tour and a taste.

Our tours provide a unique glimpse into the inner workings of our artisan distillery. You'll get a step by step overview of our grain to glass approach, from the mash tun to the custom copper stills to the barrel room. Our knowledgeable distillery staff will explain the differences between distilling brown spirits including our whiskey, rye, apple brandy, and grape brandy and white spirits like vodka, gin, and grappa. We are so proud of the collaborative work being done with our local wineries and breweries (more to come on that).

To top it off, you will enjoy a sampling of spirits or a tasting cocktail which is included in the tour. Stop in Saturdays in June from 12-5 pm for a Tour and Tasting or try a tasty J. Carver Specialty Cocktail. Tours start on the hour at 12, 1, 2, 3 pm. Book on-line at jcarverdistillery.com

Many have asked if the tasting room is open to stop in for a specialty cocktail made with our J. Carver Spirits. The answer is yes! Looking forward to seeing you!

 Photo by J. Carver Distillery

Photo by J. Carver Distillery

All the action is not just here at the distillery.  J. Carver Barrel gin is taking the cocktail scene by storm and we couldn't be more proud!

Spoon and Stable

Robert Jones of Spoon and Stable is a spirits genius with the cocktails he is creating with private barrel #157 J. Carver Barrel Gin featured in Eater.com "Flower Power: 26 Rose Cocktails to Try This Summer - Eater". 

 Photo by Spoon and Stable

Photo by Spoon and Stable

Coalition Restaurant

Just down the road in Excelsior Coalition Restaurant has mastered amazing cocktails with J. Carver Barrel Gin. Andrew knocks it out of the park with his J. Carver creations and the last visit was as amazing as the first. Coalition is hitting high notes with J. Carver Barrel Gin Barrel #206. Yes! Andrew creates amazing libations that keeps customers coming back for more. One of his signature cocktails with the J. Carver Barrel Gin is called the Water Street Smash - it's a must try!

 Photo by Coalition Restaurant

Photo by Coalition Restaurant

 Photo by J. Carver Distillery  After all this, who's thirsty? Stay tuned and until next time, keep an eye out for these delicious libations and stop by the distillery for a tour and a taste! We'd love to see you and show you what we are up to! J. Carver Distillery - Spirits of Discovery. Cheers!

Photo by J. Carver Distillery

After all this, who's thirsty? Stay tuned and until next time, keep an eye out for these delicious libations and stop by the distillery for a tour and a taste! We'd love to see you and show you what we are up to! J. Carver Distillery - Spirits of Discovery. Cheers!

Happiness At The Happy Gnome

We have been out and about visiting restaurants who are creating tasty libations with J. Carver spirits. Tasty indeed and a very welcoming environment is what you will find when visiting The Happy Gnome! 

Wishing You a Happy New Year With A Festive Cocoktail

As we bring a memorable year at J. Carver Distillery to a close, we want to thank you for supporting us in 2014. Here is to you, our distillery friends and fans and all of the liquor stores and restaurants across the state who have partnered with us to carry J. Carver craft spirits. In honor of all of you, we are raising a glass to celebrate this past year and this New Year’s Eve with this classic French 75 cocktail. Enjoy this libation this evening while the Champagne is flowing or during your New Year’s Day brunch tomorrow. Cheers to another successful year in 2015 as we create and launch new and unique Minnesota craft spirits and continue this exciting journey together. 

“J. Carver French 75”

1 ounce J. Carver Premium Vodka OR Premium Gin (Amazingly – you can use either/or!)
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
3 ounces Champagne

Add all ingredients except the Champagne in a shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne and ENJOY!

The J. Carver Distillery Team wishes you a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

The Cocktailian, Restaurants, Spirit Shops, and Gifts of the Season

The most wonderful time of year is here and the hustle and bustle of the season has kept us on our toes at the distillery and around town. The focus has been on production and keeping the J. Carver Premium Vodka and Premium Gin flowing. The Distillery team has been busy pouring at festive events like the Cocktailian at the Varsity Theater last week. J. Carver crafted two specialty drinks, the “Botanical Lady” and “Maple Kiss” which were enjoyed by over 843 guests at the Cocktailian. Thank you to City Pages for inviting J. Carver Distillery to participate in this amazing event with a portion of the proceeds benefiting “Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.” 

Botanical Lady
Ingredients
3 oz J. Carver Premium Gin
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 oz thyme-infused simple syrup
Shake all ingredients and strain in a Martini glass. Garnish with a thyme sprig.

Maple Kiss
Ingredients
1 oz J. Carver Premium Vodka
2 oz Chilled hard apple cider (Pacific Coast Hard Apple Cider)
Drizzle with REAL Minnesota Maple syrup
Shake all ingredients and strain in a Martini glass.

Other events have included pouring at liquor stores and specialty shops around town. A popular tasting was at The Vintage in Chanhassen. J. Carver Vodka served with Jack Rudy Elderflower tonic was tasty and refreshing. This cocktail can be made as a Martini or served over ice in a Collins glass. 

J. Carver Elderflower Tonic
Ingredients:
2 oz J. Carver Premium Vodka
1 oz Jack Rudy Elderflower tonic
½ simple syrup
¾ oz fresh lemon juice

Out and about and around town, bars and restaurants are shaking things up with J. Carver craft spirits creating drinks and expanding their specialty cocktail programs - exciting times in the spirits industry. 

At Lola’s Lake House in Waconia, our table enjoyed an array of cocktails including the classic Lemon Drop Martini and Orange Martini, the J. Carver Vodka Cosmopolitan and Lola’s specialty Fireside Martini made with J. Carver Premium Vodka. Delicious!

The ever popular Moscow Mule and specialty martinis were enjoyed by all listening to talented local artists singing classic Christmas carols at School of the Wise 2 in Chanhassen. SOW2 is all about local. Stop by and check out this neighborhood gathering place supporting J. Carver craft spirits distilled just down the road. 

Many have asked during our open house last week and we are pleased to announce rye whiskey and apple brandy that are aging in barrels made right here in Minnesota. And yes, the rye and apples are local too. For the Bourbon lovers out there, patience is a virtue, but do not fret, we are working on Bourbon too.

Need a little help deciding what to get that special someone on your list? How about gift ideas from your backyard and the gift of J. Carver Distillery Minnesota craft spirits? It is a party in a bottle. J. Carver Premium Vodka and Premium Gin are available at local liquor stores around town. Keep local gifts in mind. Cheers!

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