The average gin is distilled from some sort of grain then infused with a combination of botanicals. The Ulster County distiller — the state’s first licensed operation since Prohibition — has, instead, created Half Moon Orchard Gin from a base of wheat and apples. It is believed to be the first in the state to do so.
Half Moon Gin, named for the ship captained by explorer Henry Hudson when he chanced upon the river that now bears his name, differs from the usual gin making approach by changing the base spirit itself.
Says chief distiller Joel Elder, “We’re in the heart of the American apple industry, so it’s natural for us to turn to apples to create an original New York gin. Gin has become a battle of the botanicals, with more and more complicated recipes making use of obscure flavors that get lost in the mix. We chose to keep our botanical bill small and focus attention on the base spirit which makes up most of the gin, using the botanicals to complement and enhance the delicate flavors inherent in the base.”
The new product is being released regionally this spring, with wider distribution being considered for later in the year.
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