Martini Mondays at J. Carver Distillery

Martini Mondays at J. Carver Distillery

J. Carver Martini Monday
May in Minnesota is one of the most gorgeous months of the year. During winter, Minnesotans hibernate from the cold and wait for the days of summer. In May, the bees are buzzing, the tulips are in full bloom, and martinis at J. Carver Distillery are flowing. 
Have you seen Martini Monday? For those of you who have tuned in to view the video on our FB page, thank you! If you haven't had the opportunity, "Like" us on Facebook and watch Gina teach you how to create some of the tasty cocktails served in our cocktail room. Here are a few of the recipes. Get ready for some summer sipping. 

 

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!

Flurry – Defined By J. Carver Distillery

How can I describe the past week’s activity at J. Carver Distillery in one word? Let’s try this one – FLURRY! Flurry is defined a number of ways by Merriam – Webster on-line dictionary. One definition says, “A brief period of excitement or activity”. Flurry defined another way, “A large amount of something that happens or comes suddenly”. Both definitions perfectly describe the activity since last week’s post. There was a flurry of activity and excitement from Wednesday through Sunday, August 6-10th, at our booth during the Carver County Fair. We were able to answer questions regarding the renovation project at the distillery, from electrical, plumbing, and steam lines, to our products, and our opening date. While at the fair, we all talked about the other flurry - "the large amount of something" - ‘aka’ - the delivery of our stills scheduled for arrival on Monday, August 11th. Many of your questions we had definitive answers and others we could not answer specifically, such as, “When are you going to be open”? As we explained, we will open for distillery tours when we are producing three ore more products to sample and taste (ABSOLUTELY can’t wait for that day!) If you haven't heard, will start out making vodka and gin and will get as much whiskey, brandy and bourbon into barrels for aging. Thirsty? Me too!

So many of you, from near and far, said we were all beaming with excitement at the fair as we announced the delivery date for the the stills. Yes! We were set for Monday morning, August 11th. Right on schedule, minutes before 8 am,  a large, red semi-truck turned onto Mill Lane holding two of the most beautiful, shiny stills to adorn the production floor at the distillery. I heard Matt say, "Billy, the stills are here!" I ran and got my camera so I could add photos to our website photo gallery. Also on the truck, was our large stainless steel mash-tun. The mash tun made the delivery complete and added to all the excitement since we knew it was going to be tight getting that piece of equipment through a window into the building. At that moment, it was great to have friends in all the right places. Jason, Brian and Ryan from Shorewood Engineering down the road on Mill Lane answered our call. (Sounds catchy doesn't it!) We needed some tools and they lent us the helping hands we needed to get the job done as we squeezed the mash tun through the window with just centimeters to clear and I mean centimeters to clear! Thanks for all the help guys! We are so glad you were here during the “flurry” of activity.

Since Tuesday, the day we installed the stills, the activity at the distillery continues! The walls for the hammer mill room and mash tun room were framed. The flooring in the sampling room is being installed, carpeting installation for the conference room starts this afternoon and to top it all off, we are putting the finishing touches together for the first annual J. Carver “Golf With A Purpose” tournament benefiting the Waconia Baseball Association “Raise the Grandstand” project set for next Monday, August 18th at Island View Golf Club with food and beverages served by Island View Dining. Thanks for signing up for the golf tourney, and thanks for subscribing to The Good Gossip E-Newsletter, and liking and following all our social media sites; your comments have been priceless. Whew! This past week was packed with activity at the fair, the distillery and in the community - a flurry indeed! Now, off to the next project! Cheers!!!

Meet and Greet – Announcing the J. Carver Distillery Newsletter

Ok…every once and a while during a start up, you just have to break away and enjoy the meet and greet around town. I met some new fantastic Chamber members at an event this morning called Chamber Coffee Connection put on by the Waconia Chamber of Commerce and was hosted by Randy and Avis Hammer at their beautiful venue, Willow Winds Gardens. It couldn't have come at a better time since it gave me the opportunity to share with Chamber members the first edition of the J. Carver Distillery Newsletter being sent out today to people who signed up to get insider news on our website. Our newsletter is called THE GOOD GOSSIP. It will be published the first Thursday of every month and will highlight all that is happening at the distillery, major events occurring in and around town and any other J. Carver news. I invite all of you, our distillery friends and fans, to sign up on our website contact page. Let’s have some fun as we journey on this J. Carver Distillery adventure together. J. Carver Distillery– Spirits of Discovery.

 (L to R) Gina Holman, J. Carver Distillery Manager, Avis and Randy Hammer, Owners of Willow Winds Gardens, Kellie Sites, Chamber President, and Carmen Gesinger, Chamber Marketing & Communications Specialist

(L to R) Gina Holman, J. Carver Distillery Manager, Avis and Randy Hammer, Owners of Willow Winds Gardens, Kellie Sites, Chamber President, and Carmen Gesinger, Chamber Marketing & Communications Specialist

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