An Evening Together - Northland Country Club and J. Carver Distillery

Hard to believe January is coming to a close. The distillery has not slowed down after the hustle and bustle of the 2014 holiday season. Actually, it feels like we have been busier than ever. Product development has been on the forefront while the J. Carver team continues to get out and about with tastings and events.

Last week’s trip to Duluth for a five course cocktail and food pairing at Northland Country Club was delightful. A huge shout out to Ryan Bauer, Director of FUN, the chefs, and his team for collaborating with J. Carver Distillery to create tasty cocktails made with J. Carver Premium Vodka and Premium Gin that paired beautifully with jaw dropping appetizers. It was an evening enjoyed by all that brought Minnesota craft spirits and chef inspired food for the members and guests at Northland Country Club to a new level. Cheers to a memorable evening!

“J. Carver French 75”
1 ounce J. Carver Premium Vodka
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. SERVED IN A CHAMPAGNE FLUTE  
Paired with:  An Alaea salt, Kukui nut & scallion poke cones 

J. Carver Left Bank
1 ½  ounces J. Carver Premium Gin
1 ounce Elderflower Liqueur
1 ounce Sauvignon Blanc
Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake and strain. 
Serve in a Martini glass. Garnish with a lime twist
Paired with an assortment of gourmet cheeses including Chevre from Wisconsin.

Copa Malbec created at Coalition
2 oz J. Carver Premium Gin
3/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 oz Piatelli Malbec wine
Shake all ingredients and strain in a low ball with ice. Top with Malbec wine.
Paired with:  Braised five-spiced pork belly, pickled cucumber and jalapeno slaw, Sriracha aioli, crushed peanuts, sweet soy on a bao bun.  

Maple Kiss
1 oz J. Carver Premium Vodka
2 oz Chilled Pacific Coast Hard Apple Cider
Drizzle with 2 teaspoons REAL Minnesota Maple syrup
Shake all ingredients and strain in a Martini glass.
Paired with:  Chicken fried bacon and sausage cream gravy.  

J. Carver Jasmine
1 ½ ounces J. Carver Premium Gin
1 ounce Cointreau
¾ ounce Campari
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a low ball glass with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist and a Maraschino cherry.
Great balance of bitter orange and sweetness
PAIR with:  Tempura fried spicy ahi roll, soy reduction and pickled ginger aioli.  

Looking forward to our next event. Until then, raising a glass to those who create tasty libations with hand crafted spirits distilled here in Minnesota and to our restaurateurs and chefs who create delicious bites satisfying all of us who hunger and thirst for good eats and drinks. Cheers!








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
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
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
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!

The Ambassador Visit – First Dollar of Clear Profit

Waconia Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors

Waconia Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors

We had visitors yesterday. Kellie Sites, President of the Waconia Chamber of Commerce, stopped by with the Chamber Ambassadors to deliver our First Dollar of Clear Profit. We did not really know what that meant until we were presented with a framed one dollar bill which read, “Congratulations and Best Wishes to J. Carver Distillery. May the confidence you have shown in this community be rewarded with many years of success. By way of a start toward this goal, the Waconia Chamber of Commerce presents you with your First Dollar of Clear Profit.” What a great idea and incredible gesture! 

To Kellie, Carmen, and the Ambassadors of the Chamber, thank you for all you do to support this community. You definitely have put the DESTINATION into “Destination Waconia” which was so evident during last Saturday’s successful Nickel Dickel Days! Congratulations! The Chamber and its volunteers do amazing things. We appreciate you sharing your time, gifts and talents with J. Carver Distillery and our community.

Many of the Ambassadors in attendance yesterday read the blog from last week, so it was a perfect opportunity to explain to them the next steps of distillation and now to all of you.  
To recap from last week, in the fermentation process the objective is to convert the starch in the grain to fermentable sugar creating a liquid that is fermentable.  In last week’s blog, it was described as an ale-like liquid. That liquid mash is run through the still in what is called a stripping run and what comes out is a liquid we call a low wine(not wine at all and not beer either). The liquid that comes out of that first stripping run will then go through the rectifying columns in our Vodka Still and will become our J. Carver Premium Vodka. 

The grain for our Premium Vodka is local winter wheat. A question was asked, “can vodka be made from potatoes?” The simple answer is yes. In short, vodka is distilled from the mash of a variety of grains including wheat, corn, rye, potatoes and grapes.

From mashing to fermenting with the next step being distilling, the team at J. Carver Distillery is on track to crafting unique and quality spirits for you to enjoy - In the words of our Lead Distiller, Matt, “Just around the corner, baby! We are that much closer.”


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!!!

Loving The Carver County Fair – Many Come From Near And Far

The Carver County Fair kicked off this week on Wednesday, August 6th, and we were happy to be there to welcome a great number of fairgoers who stopped by our booth to say “Hi”. You have come from near and far…from Waconia to Norway (Norwood too) and everywhere in between inquiring about our production schedule, the types of products we will be producing, and when we were going to be open for distillery tours. 

I thought it might be timely to answer some of those questions in this post. The great news is we received confirmation our stills will arrive on Monday. Make sure you go to our gallery next week. I will be adding photos daily so you can watch the progression of the stills going into place. Once we get the stills installed and get through our inspections, Matt will start on production. Many of you asked what products we will be producing. We are going to produce vodka, gin, whiskey, bourbon, brandy, and liqueurs. We are focusing our efforts on unique, quality products and small batch production that emphasizes the artisan craft distillation process. We are excited to create some really unique spirits. As you have heard us say before, we are driven to succeed in an emerging and undefined industry. We are going to do a lot of exploring and can’t wait for the opportunity to share these products with you. 

It has been so great to meet so many of you.  We are grateful for all the well wishes as we move from renovation to production. I will continue to update you on when we will be open for distillery tours and tastings. Until then, if you haven’t already, stop by and say hi to us as we continue to enjoy our time at the fair. We will be the ones wearing J. Carver Distillery shirts and hats and eating cheese curds and Pork Sandwiches (num) and quenching our thirst with local wines and brews from Parley Lakes Winery, Sovereign Estate Winery in Waconia, and Enki Brewery in Victoria. Yep! Waconia has the Carver County Fair, wineries, breweries and now a distillery to boot –kinda doesn’t get any better than that. Cheers!