14 Gristmill Lane
Gardiner, NY 12525
I have been living in the Hudson Valley for over five years, yet I’m still amazed at the new things I find.
How I didn’t know about Tuthilltown Spirits until this winter I will never know.
However, I’m happy to now report I know about them and I’m in love with them.
They have turned me into a bourbon lover, which I never thought would happen!
Don’t tell my gin that I’m cheating on her. I don’t want her to get jealous.
And yes, I refer to my gin as a girl.
My first impression of the Tuthilltown property was that it was quaint.
I looked around and saw a few barns and a lot of barrels. I made my way into the welcoming and warm (it was a cold January day when I went so this way a plus) tasting room.
It was early, so I quietly wandered around and snapped a few pictures.
I even spied a little kitty curled up on top of an empty barrel.
I knew immediately this was my kind of place.
Before I tasted the bourbon I took a tour with the production manager Joel Elder.
Let me tell you something about Joel, this man knows his stuff!
I was blown away with his knowledge and understanding of spirit making.
Going on a tour with him was like watching a great documentary.
He took me through each step of the bourbon-making process, showed me how the equipment worked, and even let me barge my way in to get a picture of EVERYTHING!
I had no idea how much work was going on on this property.
From beginning to end it’s done here.
The grain is ground, fermented, distilled, barreled, matured, bottled, hand-dipped in wax, labeled, numbered by hand on each label, and finally packaged.
Finally, after walking through the property, and asking a million questions it was time for the tasting.
I had to know what this stuff tasted like!
Now, in full disclosure I have never been a fan of bourbon so I was interested in seeing if I could be won over.
There was a large array of deliciousness to sample but by law (boo) I was only allowed to sample three.
How in the world would I choose?
I finally settled on trying the Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey, Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey, and finally Spirit of the Hudson Vodka which is distilled from 100% New York apples.
After the tasting, I wanted more.
No lie I wanted more.
The bourbon was smooth and had a nice light oak flavor. I thought to myself “I could drink this all winter long!” And I did, just in case you were wondering.
I was also able to taste the most delicious bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup.
It’s sold by Wood’s Vermont Syrup and I swear I could drink it by the bottle.
Be on the lookout for a couple of recipes featuring their product as well.
I left Tuthilltown with a bottle of Baby Bourbon, Hudson Valley Vodka, and a Barrel Aged Cocktail Kit.
If you have never heard of a barrel-aged cocktail kit it’s amazing.
The kit contains an empty bottle with one of Tuthilltown barrel’s honeycomb staves for maturing your favorite white cocktail with full American oak flavor (description taken for the Tuthilltown website.)
I decided instead of using it to add flavor to my cocktail I was going to make vanilla in the bottle.
The most delicious vanilla I have ever made.
I will be showing this on Wednesday so be sure to come back if you want to see a step by step of the homemade vanilla making process.
So now that I was armed with some bourbon and some vanilla I had to make something amazing.
I finally settled on ice cream.
Ice cream is delicious at any time of the year. Even if there is still a chill in the air.
I followed a David Lebovitz recipe but tweaked a few things to add a bit more flavor.
Also, because of the addition of homemade vanilla (alcohol) and bourbon (more alcohol), the ice cream will not get super hard.
It will firm up but it will remain soft and creamy.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
- 5 large egg yolks
- 3 to 4 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup of the cream with the milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt.
- Warm the cream mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add vanilla paste.
- Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with several inches of ice water.
- Set a smaller metal bowl (one that holds at least 1-1/2 quarts) in the ice water.
- Pour the remaining cup of cream into the inner bowl (this helps the custard cool quicker when you pour it in later).
- Set a fine strainer on top.
- Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl.
- Take the warm cream mixture and in a steady stream, pour half of the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling.
- Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof rubber spatula until the custard thickens slightly (it should be thick enough to coat the spatula and hold a line drawn through it with a finger), 4 to 8 minutes. An instant-read thermometer should read 175° to 180°F at this point. Don’t let the sauce overheat or boil, or it will curdle.
- Immediately strain the custard into the cold cream in the ice bath.
- Cool the custard to below 70°F by stirring it over the ice bath.
- Stir the bourbon and vanilla extract into the cooled custard.
- Refrigerate the custard until completely chilled, at least 4 hours.
- Then freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- It will have the consistency of very soft serve. Do not panic this is ok. It's because of the alcohol.
- Transfer the just-churned ice cream to an air-tight container, and freeze overnight or up to 2 weeks.