J. Carver Distillery - Ringing In The New Year 2016

blog photo_ Happy-New-Year-Images 2016.jpg

Today is a day we gather around and celebrate the dawn of a sparkling New Year. May it bring gifts of joy, good health and time with friends and family gathering around the table celebrating traditions with good food and tasty libations. J. Carver Distillery has much to be thankful for in 2015.

 A line up of J. Carver Specialty cocktails: J. Carver Rye Frisco, Mulled Cider and Apple Brandy, a spin on a  J. Carver French 75, Grimm Farm Bees Knees, Lake House Cosmo, and the J. Carver Barrel Gin Old Fashioned

A line up of J. Carver Specialty cocktails: J. Carver Rye Frisco, Mulled Cider and Apple Brandy, a spin on a  J. Carver French 75, Grimm Farm Bees Knees, Lake House Cosmo, and the J. Carver Barrel Gin Old Fashioned

We launched 9 new products this year including gin, grappa, apple brandy, and rye whiskey that were all aged in barrels coopered in Minnesota.  J. Carver Barrel Gin has quickly become the new darling of craft bartenders. We are humbled and grateful to Spoon and Stable, FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar at Mall of America, Coalition Restaurant in Excelsior, Lolo American Kitchen in Stillwater, and South Lyndale Liquor, all who purchased hand-selected barrels of J. Carver Barrel Gin this year. These fine restaurants are creating delicious eats and tasty drinks! If you are in their area, you must check them out and see what they are creating with J. Carver Barrel Gin. Bottled at 96 proof, we see enthusiasts enjoying drinking this gin straight and it is perfect in classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned (Check out the last issue of the Spirits of Discovery Blog for the recipe), Manhattan and Bees Knees. You can create these and other tasty cocktails this New Years with the recipes on our website and others listed below.

We are grateful to our distillery friends and fans who have stopped by our cocktail room for a tour and a taste and then went out to their local liquor stores to buy J. Carver products. A huge shout out to our partnering liquor stores and restaurants, without a blink, they brought in our newly released Marquette grappa, Apple Brandy, and Rye Whiskey all created with local fruit and grains. We are grateful for the collaboration with our local wineries in Waconia, local farmers, and Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard to make these J. Carver products possible. 

Let’s raise a glass to the amazing accomplishments in 2015 and celebrate all that’s possible in 2016. From our J. Carver Distillery family, we thank you for the support and wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!

J. Carver Distillery Recipes:

Lake House Fig Martini

2 oz J. Carver Lake House Vodka

1 oz Fig Simple Syrup* (1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 2-3 tablespoons fig preserves)

1 oz freshly squeezed lemon Juice

3 dashes orange bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain in a large coupe

Garnish with an orange wedge

Grimm Farm Bees Knees

2 oz J. Carver Grimm Farm Gin

3/4 oz lavender honey Simple Syrup

1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon Juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain in a martini glass

Garnish with a lemon peel

Rye Frisco

2 oz J. Carver Rye Whiskey

3/4 oz Turbinado Simple Syrup* (1 cup water, 1 cup demerara sugar)

3/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon Juice

3 dashes orange bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain in a martini glass

Garnish with a lemon peel

Diamondback

1 1/2 oz J. Carver Rye Whiskey

3/4 oz J. Carver Apple Brandy

3/4 oz Ginger Simple Syrup* (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons fresh ginger)

dash of orange bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain in a martini glass

Garnish with a lemon peel

Enjoy! And Yes, J. Carver Distillery Cocktail Room will be open during regularly scheduled hours for cocktails and tours and tastings this weekend. Bring in your friends and family to learn about our grain to glass approach to distillation. Looking forward to seeing you! Cheers!

Friday, January 1st: 3-8 pm

Saturday, January 2nd: 12-5 pm

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!

Club Gourmand Cocktail Pairing at 6Smith Restaurant

Even though there is still a thick layer of ice on Minnesota lakes, it is melting fast on the eve of the vernal equinox. Happy Spring indeed! There's an air of anticipation and excitement at local restaurants around Lake Minnetonka as they gear up for the spring and summer season.

6Smith Restaurant in Wayzata recently hosted Club Gourmand, a group of businessmen who visit local restaurants once a month to enjoy the chef's latest creations. I was invited by this month’s hosts (Thanks Isaac and Chad) as a special guest to talk about J. Carver Distillery and our spirits portfolio. I had the joy of working with 6Smith events coordinator Carly Clark and Chef John Mullen pairing two of the four courses with cocktails made with J. Carver Barrel Gin and our J. Carver Premium Vodka. It was an amazing afternoon of tasty food, delicious libation pairings and a wonderful group supporting local businesses.

The starter course delighted the senses. Chef John made a perfectly seared Diver Sea Scallop with Apricot Mostarda Red Mustard Greens, and Dijonnaise. Mostarda is an Italian condiment made of candied fruit and a mustard-flavored syrup.  The J. Carver Barrel Gin Old-Fashioned complimented this plate perfectly. The sweetness of sea scallops and apricot was balanced by the earthiness and depth of flavor of the red mustard greens dressed with dijonnaise and paired beautifully with the citrus notes, smokiness and layered flavors from the botanicals interacting with the char and tannins from the barrel. The result, harmonious layers of flavors between this starter dish and the tantalizing flavors of the J. Carver Barrel Gin along with the other delightful flavors from the cherries, bitters, and orange in the old fashioned. (recipe is on our website)

Rock Shrimp, Honey Aioli, Crispy Prosciutto, Melon, and Red Watercrest adorned the second plate and wine was paired with this dish, Bonny Doon Albarino. I was asked what cocktail I would pair with this amazing dish for an option other than wine. I would enjoy a Vesper with this dish. A spin on the Vesper would be to take an ounce of the Albarino with an ounce of J. Carver Lake House Vodka, an ounce of J. Carver Grimm Farm Gin. Shake and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

The entrée, Grilled Hanger Steak, Porcini Mushroom Glaze, Snap Peas, Baby Carrots, and Spring Onions was paired with a glass of Rail 2 Rail Zinfandel with bright spicy acidity framing the red berry and pepper flavors in the wine.

Lastly, the Sweet Course was a Chocolate Torte paired with J. Carver Premium Vodka, served neat. When I first met with Chef John Mullen and had him taste our products, he said "This vodka is great neat! Let’s serve it up with the chocolate torte." Simply delicious.

Looking forward to the next pairing. Stay tuned friends and fans to #jcarverdrinks when we visit another fabulous Minnesota restaurant serving up J. Carver spirits! 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! 

RESERVE NOW