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Monday, December 22, 2014

Daily Pour

Syntax Spirits - Perky Pepper flavored Vodka

Some like it hot, but many find perky more fun. Perky Pepper gets boatloads of flavor from 5 kinds of fresh green chiles and winds up with just enough zing to make a party in your mouth…but not one of those parties where you wake up wandering around in the woods with your pants on backwards.

Syntax Spirits infuses Perky Pepper pepper vodka from scratch using fresh peppers (many of which are from local growers) and our International-Award-Winning Class V handcrafted small-batch vodka.  Perky pepper has a rich, complex sweet-spicy green chile flavor that’s a natural in bloody marys, and also works shockingly well in fresh-squeezed grapefruit or pineapple juice, hot apple cider, and cocoa.

Perky Pepper may not make you sweat like Class V whitewater, but it could heat up your night!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Season Greetings

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gentleman's Gin

Green Hat Gin is the product of New Columbia Distillers in Washington D.C. Handmade from grain to glass, owners Michael Lowe and John Uselton describe this small batch craft spirit as "the modern gentleman’s perfect life-style accessory."

Learn more at

photos by Nels Wroe

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Altitude Equation

Located at 8,900 feet in the mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado, Montanya Distillers has mastered the art of handcrafting high altitude rum. The key is not only in the ingredients that go into Montanya’s Oro and Platino rums—Crested Butte mountain water, yeast, Louisiana sugar cane and a tiny touch of Durango-based Honeyville honey—but also what happens when making the spirit at elevation.

The Mountain Rum Difference

“Many people are surprised that we make rum in the mountains because they think rum is an island tradition and a Caribbean phenomenon. Yet, there has been a rich tradition of mountain rum distilling and altitude rum for a very long time,” says Karen Hoskin, president and co-owner of Montanya Distillers. “Temperatures in mountainous climates fluctuate daily and allow the flavors in the barrel to meld differently than they do at sea level.”  

From 1948 on, Guatemala has been a world leader in mountain rum, taking the rums made there into the mountains up to 7,500 feet to age. Also, rum distillers in Colombia have been crafting rum at the north end of the Andes mountain range, surrounded by volcanoes such as Nevado del Ruiz rising to 17,500 feet, Hoskin notes.  

However, there are even more compelling reasons to make rum in the mountains of Colorado. “Our water, which we use in the fermenting and proofing process, is incredibly plentiful and outrageously pure. We pull it from an aquifer in Crested Butte that percolates through a glacial moraine 350 feet under our facility, adding the flavor of many minerals. It is a distiller’s dream water,” Hoskin says. 

Montanya’s fermentations are chilled by the water coming naturally cold from the from the well at their facility, and their distillations boil at a lower temperature at high elevation, allowing for better control of temperature in the still and providing more flavor in the final distillate. Heat from the stills is used to heat Montanya’s buildings in the chilly seasons, and fluctuating temperatures (20-40 degrees in a single day) in Crested Butte allows the rum to move in and out of the pores of the barrel, resulting in much more exposure to the oak. “The wood is where the magic of aging happens.” Hoskin emphasizes. “Our rum ages in American oak casks that previously held whiskey made in Denver.”

Colorado’s Local Rum
Established in 2008, Montanya is the only distillery in Colorado focusing exclusively on rum.  It has become the state’s local rum with a growing client base that includes the likes of five-star hotels The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and The Little Nell in Aspen and eateries and bars such as Ginger Café in Crested Butte, Bin 707 in Grand Junction, Cypress Café in Durango, Justice Snow’s in Aspen, and The Hornet, Paramount Café, and several Snooze locations in Denver. In addition, the new Cooper Lounge at Denver’s recently reopened Union Station has created The Paradise Express 12 with Montanya rum, and Crested Butte Mountain Resort ski area has named Montanya its official rum.

Restaurants like Jill’s Restaurant & Bistro at St. Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder and Modis in Breckenridge are tapping the distinct flavors of Montanya rum not only in cocktails, but chef specials and desserts as well. Teryn Guadagnoli of Modis Restaurant and Bar in Breckenridge sings Montanya’s praises. "Montanya rums have become a staple on our menu at Modis, from classic rum cocktails like the Papa Doble to modern interpretations on our specials list.  We use the Oro rum in dessert sauces in our kitchen because it adds so much complexity to chocolate and caramel."  

Montanya has greatly expanded its own culinary program at their Tasting Room in Crested Butte, adding pairings to their already popular cocktail menu. The new program focuses on appetizers and small plates, with many featuring Montanya rum and other ingredients sourced from Colorado companies and farmers. A sampling of dishes featured on this winter’s menu that feature Montanya rum includes Seared Scallops with Fresh Mango, Avocado and Montanya Oro Rum Glaze and a Vanilla Parfait with fresh berries drenched in Montanya Rum Crème.  The menu changes seasonally to take advantage of the many products grown and made locally in the region.   

Montanya also has started using its rum in a line of house-made bitters and rum truffles that can be purchased only in the Crested Butte Tasting Room, further expanding the ways customers can enjoy the locally made spirit.

For additional information about Montanya Distillers and a large selection of rum cocktail recipes created by Hoskin, visit or call 970.799.3206.

 Photos by Nathan Bilow
media courtesy of Beth Buehler/Montanya Distillers

Monday, December 8, 2014

Daily Pour

Cathead Vodka - Pecan Flavored Vodka

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Shop, Eat, and Drink Local with Sweetgrass Farm Distillery

Don't get us wrong, we certainly appreciate a black tie affair, but we can get just as excited about that other facet of craft spirits, promoting local production and commerce. So our hat is off to Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery of Union, Maine, who is hosting the fifth incarnation of their annual Holiday Bazaar on December 13 & 14.

Those attending the bazaar will find local food and provisions paired with this year’s Sweetgrass wines and micro-distilled spirits. Samplings include award winning artisan cheese from Appleton Creamery and fresh oysters from the Pemaquid Oyster Company. WaldoStone Farm will be sampling its fine line of oyster sauces and Bloody Mary Mixers and will provide Bloody Mary cocktails by the glass with your favorite. Other food vendorsat the bazaar include Bixby Bars, Transfiguration Hermitage, and Bleuberet Artisanal Jams.

In addition to these great pairings, attendees will find local gift items from a number of guest artisans. G & L Float Rope Creations will be selling their uniquely designed float rope baskets and mats. Just in time for Christmas, Brae Maple Farm has created needle felted ornaments; sheep, donkeys, golden retrievers, and cats all made from wool raised on their farm, and Qdloon Repurposed Bird Feeders will be on hand with a wide selection of unique bird feeders that will please even the hard to shop for on your list.

Sip wine, sample spirits, and enjoy a truly one of a kind holiday shopping experience at this archetype of New England craft culture.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Daily Pour

Raff Distillerie - Bummer & Lazarus Gin