At last month’s Manhattan Cocktail Classic, a cowboy-hat wearing Dave Pickerell, Master Distiller for Hillrock Estate Distillery, gave me a “C’mere, kid!” crook of the head, beckoning me to something secret seeming. He pulled from his tuxedo jacket’s breast pocket a small, glass bottle full of an amber-hued liquid and grinned. “It’s our single malt — we’re releasing it in the next few weeks!” He handed me the secreted container and I sipped — spice, maple, cinnamon. Gloriously well-integrated and smooth. Wow.
On June 3, this lovely libation was released — Hillrock Estate Distillery Single Malt Whiskey (48.2% abv; $125) is made entirely from barley that is organically grown, harvested, and malted at Hillrock’s Ancram farm distillery — the first field-to-glass operation of its kind in New York state since before Prohibition. Pickerell says that in the future, he’s working on other styles of single-malt whiskey, too — a peated version and a fruit or nut wood smoked version, too. If they’re anything as delicious as this first release, we expect they’re well worth the wait.
A great trek for Father’s Day weekend: Head on up to Hillrock’s open house in Ancram, NY on Saturday, June 15 from noon to 5pm at the distillery for a free tour and tasting with Pickerell. So much better for Dad than soap-on-a-rope.