Berkshire Mountain Distillers in Great Barrington, Massachusetts makes some very fine gin, rum, bourbon and corn whiskey. The spring water on the distillery farm gives Berkshire spirits a silky texture, and major media outlets have sung the praises of their hooch in recent months. Next time you see one of their bottles in the liquor store, grab it and get mixing.
Berkshire Mountain Bourbon
This is “world class bourbon” according to Whisky Life and Spirits Magazine. Berkshire Mountain uses corn grown two miles away to make their bourbon, and they age the spirit in American white oak barrels for that classic bourbon flavor: smooth vanilla and caramel with a hint of grainy spice.
Berkshire's Bourbon makes a delicious Mint Julep, if you're in the mood for something Southern, but should you feel like a little sparkle, we recommend this whiskey in a Seelbach Cocktail, make with Champagne and bitters.
1 ounce Berkshire Mountain Bourbon
1/2 ounce Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura Bitters
7 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
5 ounces Champagne or sparkling wine
Lemon or orange twist to garnish
Combine bourbon, Cointreau, and bitters in a mixing glass, add ice, and stir. Strain into champagne flute. Top with Champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with lemon or orange twist.
Greylock Gin is make in the traditional London Dry style with a blend of 7 botanicals. In addition to the expected juniper flavor, Greylock has a slightly formal aroma, with a hint of sweetness and licorice flavor. This spirit will add structure to any classic gin cocktail, like a Gin Martini or an Aviation.
But Chris Weld, distiller at Berkshire Mountain, also likes this gin in a very summery cocktail he calls a Screen Door, a blend of fruit and warm-weather flavors.
1 ounce Greylock Gin
1 ounce Aperol
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh peach puree
2 ounces Vinho Verde white wine
Peach puree: cut peaches and remove pit. Blend in blender until smooth, then strain through fine mesh sieve.
Combine all but wine into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake then strain into a cocktail glass over ice. Top with Vinho Verde, stir, then serve.
New England Corn Whiskey
Made with corn grown just a couple miles down the road from the distillery, this whiskey is exactly what the name says. You'll taste the earthy corn kernels, a little fruit, and a hint of smoke from the charred cherry wood barrels used to age this spirit. It's a true farm-to-bottle whiskey that takes you back to the good old days when every farm in America had a still house.
If you're going to mix this whiskey into a cocktail, try a Whiskey Sour. This isn't the elaborate cocktail that you can proudly show off at your next cocktail party, but the simplicity of a Whiskey Sour really brings out the flavors of Berkshire's Corn Whiskey, and you don't want to mess with flavors that are already so good.
2 ounces New England Corn Whiskey
1/2 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
1 Orange slice and 1 Maraschino cherry to garnish
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Shake well, and strain with a hawthorne strainer into a cordial glass or short, rocks-filled tumbler. Garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry.
Ragged Mountain Rum
Where some rums are sticky sweet and you would never dream of sipping them straight, Ragged Mountain Rum is different. With hints of burnt sugar and a touch of smokiness, this complex rum definitely comes from New England.
But if you don't want to sip this on the rocks on a crisp autumn day, try it in a hot cider instead. This recipe, from distiller Chris Weld, will warm you up in no time.
Hot Mulled Cider
1 quart fresh apple cider
4 tsp. light brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 strips of orange peel
8 ounces Ragged Mountain Rum
Simmer all ingredients except rum for 15 minutes covered, then add the rum. Makes enough for a crowd.