12 Hudson Valley Craft Distilleries You Need to Try
Maybe it's the striking scenery--life doesn't get better than sipping a perfectly crafted cocktail as you stare at the sun setting behind the Gunks, does it? Or maybe it's the culinary and artisanal riches the Hudson Valley has to offer.
Whatever unique alchemy draws the craft spirit lover, the Hudson Valley has it.
The region is home to a dozen distilleries producing small batch spirits. We've mapped out our favorites in the map below.
Make a day of it and taste the top-notch booze these Hudson Valley gems have to offer. And be sure to take some home with you: an epic holiday party starts with a killer signature cocktail. What better way to earn bragging rights than by busting out some locally-sourced bourbon before you start mixing?
* An asterisk next to the name means the distillery is WRRV Spirit Society-approved and offers discounts and specialty cocktails on Spirit Society Saturdays. Contact the participating distillery for more details.
The Albany Distilling Company
The Albany Distilling Company takes pride in the Capital Region's pre-Prohibition tradition of distilling. The distiller's Ironweed whiskey takes its name from the rugged plant and the last book in William Kennedy's Albany novel cycle (we tip our hat to you, craft booze-lovin' book nerds).
Their other offerings include the Quackenbush Still House Original Albany Rum and Coal Yard New Make Bourbon Whiskey. They also produce a coffee-flavored vodka made with cold brew coffee made by Death Wish, the award-winning, Saratoga Springs-based company.
Black Dirt Distillery*
Black Dirt Distilling broke new ground as the first micro-distillery in New York State back in 2012. With the success of their Black Dirt Bourbon and Black Dirt Apple Jack lines, the Warwick-based company expanded into a 4,000-square-foot distillery in Pine Island a year later.
You can sample their small-batch spirits at the Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery--both companies share the same ownership. The tasting rooms are open daily from 11AM to 6PM.
Catskill Distilling Company
Located near Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and the original site of Woodstock, Catskill Distill Company draw's on the area's art, music and history in their craft spirit mission.
Catskill Distilling Company uses water from the Catskill Mountains and New York-grown grains in producing their vodka, gin, bourbon, rye and whiskey, which include the Wicked White Whiskey, The One and Only Buckwheat and Fearless Wheat Whiskey lines.
Coppersea Distilling Company
Ulster County-based Coppersea Distilling prides itself on growing or locally sourcing grains. Coppersea uses heritage distilling methods to craft its spirits: the grains are floor malted at the distillery and then milled by hand.
Coppersea Distilling's product lines include Excelsior Bourbon, Raw Rye, Green Malt Rye, Green Malt Barley, Pear Brandy and Corn Whisky.
Denning's Point Distillery
Denning's Point Distillery keeps a small environmental footprint while distilling robust flavors in its Beacon location. The equipment at Denning's Point comes from recycled, reclaimed or otherwise existing equipment. Mash from Hudson Valley and Finger Lakes region farm grains is combined with a proprietary yeast from Southern Kentucky to ferment their spirits.
Denning's Point Distillery's Beacon Bourbon was named Best Spirit in the 2016 Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition. Other offerings include Maid of the Meadow, Beacon American Whiskey, Great 9 Gin, Viskill Vodka and Denning's White Rye Whiskey.
Harvest Spirits' marries fruits and handcrafted spirits for unique flavor pairings. Harvest's Core Vodka is produced from the apples grown on its orchard. The Black Raspberry Core Vodka is created by mixing the Core Vodka with macerated black raspberries grown on the farm and a bit of black raspberry juice for color. Their Cornelius Cherry Applejack and Cornelius Peach Applejack are made by soaking their respective fruits in applejack.
Each batch is distilled in a small, 100-gallon copper pot, ensuring the spirits are carefully distilled.
Hillrock Estate Distillery
Hillrock Estate Distillery is housed in a restored 1806 Georgian house overlooking the Berkshire Mountains. Hillock takes its farm-to-glass ethos to heart: the grains are grown on the estate and their malthouse was the first to be built at a distillery after prohibition.
The distillery's current offering is the Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon.
Hudson Valley Distillers*
Hudson Valley Distillers is housed on a small farm -- dubbed Spirits Grove Farm -- and four-acre apple orchard. They've drawn on their apple bounty for inspiration, producing lines of vodka applejack and moonshine from locally-grown apples.
They earned national recognition for their Spirits Grove Vodka, which won the American Distilling Institute's 2016 Best of Class Vodka Award, Best in Category and gold for Grain-To-Glass Apple Vodka. Other offerings include Adirondack Applejack, Chancellor’s Hardscrabble Applejack and Fine Shine Applejack.
Spirits Grove Farm offers a huge bonus for dog lovers: the grounds at Hudson Valley Distillers are pet-friendly. You can spend your Friday sipping a Nonny Rose cocktail and listening to live local bands without having to run home early to let the dog out. The distillery has nearly completed a 2,000-square-foot expansion of their tasting room to provide indoor event space.
Orange County Distillery
Ever give beet vodka a try? It's just one of the unique offerings from Goshen-based Orange County Distillery. Their spirits are made from produce grown on their land.
Orange County Distillery's product line includes a bourbon whiskey, an aged rye whiskey, a honey-flavored whiskey and a barreled gin.
StilltheOne likes its singular place in the spirit landscape. It was the first distillery to set up shop in Westchester County and the first distillery in the world to produce gin distilled from honey.
StilltheOne Distillery's spirits include 287 Single Malt Whiskey, Comb 9 Gin, Byran River Rum, Comb Vodka and 914 Bourbon Whiskey.
Taconic Distillery was founded by a group of outdoor enthusiasts and bourbon lovers who saw an opportunity to fuse these passions in creating the Dutchess County business.
Taconic's Dutchess Private Reserve was named Best Bourbon in 2014 by both Maxim and Hudson Valley Magazine. Other offerings in their product line include Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Founder’s Rye Whiskey and Rolling Hills Rum.
Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery*
Set in a historic gristmill against the backdrop of the Shawangunk Ridge is Turthilltown Spirits. Each batch of spirits--including its popular Hudson Whisky line--is made by hand. Guests can drop by the visitor center to taste a unique array of spirits and take a tour of the facility before sitting down to dinner at Tuthill House at the Mill, an onsite restaurant housed in the 1788 gristmill.
In addition to the Hudson whiskey and bourbon lines, Tuthilltown produces Half Moon Orchard Gin, Indigenous Wheat Vodka, Indigenous Apple Vodka, Cacao Liqueur, Triple Sec Liqueur and Cassis Liqueur.
Bonus: Henry's at the Farm*
Okay, so Henry's at the Farm isn't a distillery. But the farm to table gem at Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa celebrates the bounty of Hudson Valley in every dish and glass they place in front of their guests.
Diners can stroll the grounds of the 70-acre Millstone Farm before enjoying a meal and signature cocktail using ingredients right from the farm. Henry's Apple Butter Bourbon Ball marries Millstone Farm apple butter, Crown Maple Syrup sugar and Minard Farm's Cider with Widow Jane Bourbon. Widow Jane is produced in Brooklyn using water from a limestone mine in Rosendale.