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Try Whiskeys, Vodkas, and Liqueurs at These Hudson Valley Distilleries

Adobe Stock | Photo by Jag_Cs

From grain to glass, these distillers utilize Hudson Valley ingredients to craft whiskeys, rums, and vodkas at scenic destinations.

There’s a reason the locals are typically found in high spirits.

From bootlegging in the Prohibition era to the recent craft beverage resurgence, the Hudson Valley has always served up inventive booze. The Valley remains the country’s oldest winemaking region, and area breweries have taken advantage of ideal hop-growing conditions to craft beers with unparalleled flavor. Yet nothing from this area packs more of a punch than its liquor.

Generations of talented distillers – equal parts artists, farmers, and chemists – have honed their skills and become masters of their craft without losing the creative “gonzo” energy of their forefathers. The industry is ever-expanding, and new voices are constantly putting new spins on old trades.

In the Hudson Valley, farm-to-table doesn’t stop at restaurants, since the farm-to-barrel movement is in full swing, with some distilleries boasting entirely New York ingredients. There is a special connection between place and produce, and as a liquid terroir develops, the story of the Hudson Valley is painted just as vividly as any of the works from the Hudson River School.

The Distilleries

Cocktail chemists and liquor enthusiasts rejoice! Whether you have the refined palette of an elderly Scotsman or are just getting into spirits, the Hudson Valley is a wonderland for craft beverages.

An entire range of styles and distilling philosophies creates a diverse beverage trail – just make sure you have a designated driver! Vodkas and gins make for amazing summer cocktails, while local bourbons rival anything from Kentucky. P.S. Are we missing a spot? Email us at edit@hvmag.com so we can add it.

Albany County

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Next time you grab your favorite Ironweed Whiskey, make sure to get an set of Albany Distilling rocks glasses too!

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Albany Distilling Co.

Albany, 518.621.7191

A small operation in downtown, Albany Distilling Co. expertly crafts one batch at a time. Experimentation runs wild here, and several concoctions only hit bottles one time. You’ll never have the same thing twice here, and the expansive imagination for cocktails can kick off a stellar weekend in Albany.

Sip this: The Tenth Pin Apple Brandy utilizes used cider barrels from neighbor Nine Pin Cider Works, a collaboration made in Hudson Valley heaven.

Cocktails to try: Amber Mojito – Throw out all the classic mojito rules because ADCo’s Quackenbush Amber Rum is too good. Molasses notes from whiskey barrels give this reinvented cocktail a resemblance to the southern mint julep.

Capital Distillery

Albany, 518.594.0175

The Roarin’ 20s are back – or rather the 2020s. Enter through a secret door on Learned Street into a bright modern speakeasy. The Albany team premixes cocktails with hand-crafted spirits, ready to go in colorful flasks at a moment’s notice. 9th Hole infuses a lavender lemonade with in-house gin, while Swipe Right turns bright blue from curacao.

Sip this: NY Honey Brandy blends local grapes with local honey, making for an interesting and tasty beverage.

Cocktails to try: Pink G&T – For the most fruit-forward gin and tonic you’ve ever had, use Capital’s Pink Gin. Its signature rose hue comes from grapefruit peel and cherry juice, so be sure to add a healthy slice of fresh grapefruit to this refreshing drink.

Columbia County

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Roses for this liqueur have been passed down and grown by generations of women in our family and are used to give this liqueur it’s intoxicating scent, taste, and pink color. In addition to our heirloom roses, we are working with another woman-owned business @cedarfarmwholesale to source organically grown roses. In tradition with Italian Rosolio (which translates to “dew of the sun”) we pick the flowers during the hottest days of summer and pluck each petal from the rose to infuse flavor into this spirit. This beverage is traditionally served as a symbol of good luck at weddings and other important life events. It makes for a very special champagne toast with strong notes of romance and dewy pink petals. Shop: www.oldeyorkfarm.com (link in profile).

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Cooper’s Daughter Spirits / Olde York Farm Cooperage

Hudson, 518.721.8209

Women-owned and family-operated, Olde York Farm is dedicated to handcrafting unique distills, literally. Each barrel is made by hand, imparting charred smokiness and other deep flavors. The site once held a distillery and cooperage owned by Jacob Rutsen van Rensselaer (circa 1805), and the Newsome family work hard to continue that legacy. Tons of wild flavors like Mulled Peach Whiskey, Cacao Maple Vodka, and Black Walnut Bourbon make Olde York Farm a must-visit.

Sip this: Cooper’s Daughter Rhubarb and Honey Vodka is a pleasant array of early-summer flavors, perfectly representative of a true farm distillery.

Cocktails to try: Cacao Espresso Martini – The sweet and rich characteristics of the Cacao Maple Vodka would bring out the best of an espresso martini when combined with high-quality coffee liqueur and bold espresso.

Hillrock Estate Distillery

Ancram, 518.329.1023

Everything about the Hillrock Estate Distillery is premier, from the branding to the view to the product. An 1806 Georgian estate house built by a Revolutionary War captain adorns a hill overlooking Hillrock’s rolling barley fields. These fields contribute to three award-winning spirits: a single malt whiskey, a double cask rye, and a Solera Aged Bourbon. Copper stills and floor malt techniques craft some of the finest additions to New York terroir.

Sip this: The Solera method has been around for centuries, producing fine ports, sherries, and cognacs. Hillrock’s Solera Aged Bourbon is complex with layers of fig, toasted walnut, and dried fruit. No barrel is fully emptied, adding depth over time.

Cocktails to try: NY Sazerac – Unleash your inner mixologist by rinsing a rocks glass with Herbsaint or absinthe and topping with a stiff pour of the Estate Single Malt. Your favorite bitters and a twist of lemon peel are always welcome in this drink.

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Cheers to another beautiful weekend in the Hudson Valley!!

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Hudson Valley Distillers

Clermont, 518.537.6820

The name says it all: Hudson Valley Distillers. The family-run team creates uncommon flavors with the ingredients that surround them. The brand believe raising a glass is the best addition to nostalgia and seeks to curate new memories. Spirits both clear and amber exhibit excellence and a mastery of craft.

Sip this: Applejack is uniquely American and Hudson Valley-enhanced. Local apples fuel the regional twist on Irish whiskey.

Cocktails to try: Red Hook Rye Old Fashioned Add walnut bitters to a classic old fashion to bring out the flavors of their Red Hook Rye (orange bitters will also play nicely in this drink.)

Dutchess County

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Denning’s Point Distillery

Beacon, 845.476.8413

What can’t Beacon do? Denning’s Point Distillery utilizes the literal fruits of local farmers’ labor, sourcing every grain and bit of fruit from within the Hudson Valley. Located in a former auto garage just off Main Street, the Denning’s Point team produces gin, apple brandy, and its award-winning Beacon Bourbon, among other spirits. Stop by for tasting flight and a glimpse of the city’s most iconic murals just outside.

Sip this: Maid of the Meadow is infused with honey, taking on a golden hue unlike any vodka you’ve ever tried.

Cocktails to try: Bees Knees – For a fresh take on a cocktail at least a hundred years old, combine Great 9 Gin with lemon juice, club soda, and local honey syrup.

Taconic Distillery

Stanfordville, 845.393.4583

If you’re a fan of the brown stuff, Taconic Distillery is a must. Specializing in bourbons and rye whiskeys, this purveyor of fine craft spirits utilizes natural spring water from its own 115-acre farm. The team is passionate about hunting and fishing and draws inspiration from the region’s unique natural offerings. Enjoy these drinks neat or use them to elevate classic cocktails.

Sip this: Founder’s Rye is exceptionally smooth and serves as Taconic Distillery’s demonstration of Hudson Valley terroir.

Cocktails to try: Autumn in New York – For a wild late-fall drink, enjoy Taconic Bourbon with apple cider, lemon, and maple syrup.

Dutch’s Spirits

Pine Plains, 518.398.1022

If you want an authentic taste of the Hudson Valley’s bootlegger roots, look no further than Dutch’s Spirits. The last time booze was poured in this place, it was illegal! Located in the historic former home of legendary gangster Dutch Schultz, this Pine Plains distillery honors the “spirits” of the past. The same barrels whose contents were confiscated by the FBI 88 years prior now pour a variety of distills, including a New York State Empire Rye Whiskey.

Sip this: Sugar Wash Shine is not what you’d expect from moonshine. This hooch is exceptionally smooth and sweet from turbinado sugar, and is beyond sippable.

Cocktails to try: Dutch Hot Toddy – The perfect cure to a cold winter evening is a little Sugar Wash Moonshine and hot apple cider.

Orange County

Orange County Distillery

New Hampton, 845.374.2011

If you’re looking for a gorgeous country-chic environment, Orange County Distillery’s tasting room at Brown Barn is the spot. Barreled gins, corn whiskeys, and polka-themed vodkas equally delight on their own or in inventive cocktails, many of which are made with Hudson Valley produce. Burgers, hot dogs, onion rings, and other warm alcohol accoutrements can be enjoyed year-round.

Sip this: One of OCD’s flagship specialties, Sugar Beet Vodka is made with white beets and exhibits flavors of banana peel and strawberry leaf – perfect for springtime.

Cocktails to try: Warsaw Mule – Warwick native and 18-time Grammy-winning polka artist Jimmy Sturr has his own vodka at OCD: “Shaken Not Sturr’d.” Pour a healthy serving of this stuff in a copper mug with some ginger beer, and you’ll be dancing to accordion music all night long.

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Does your Thursday look this good? It certainly can. 🙂

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Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery

Warwick, 845.258.4858

Among the most scenic Hudson Valley farms is Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery. It’s a triple threat, managing to produce top-rated wines, Doc’s Ciders, and a myriad of cordials and liquors. The entire 120 acres of orchards and farmland can be seen from a patio café, where visitors can try delicious brick-oven pizza. Fresh sour cherries, black currants, Bartlett pears, and, of course, apples are used in the American Fruits liquor series, among other delightful spirits.

Sip this: Black Dirt Bourbon won double gold at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, but be sure to also try its spin-off featuring freshly grown blue corn.

Cocktails to try: Pimpinella Spritz – Grappa is one of Warwick Valley’s most unique spirits. Enjoy with anise syrup and St. Germain to bring the flavors of an Italian café to the Hudson Valley.

Ulster County

Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery / Hudson Whiskey

Gardiner, 845.419.2964

Sitting at the foot of the Shawangunk Mountains on the former Tuthilltown Gristmill, Hudson Whiskey’s rustic tasting room maintains an ambiance of pioneers and explorers. During tours, visitors have the opportunity to taste a wide range of bold flavors. Tuthilltown Spirits is distinctly New York in attitude, from its ingredients to its MTA-style logos; even the bottles scream New York. Labels read “Do the Rye Thing,” “Bright Lights, Big Bourbon,” and “Back Room Deal.”

Sip this: Tuthilltown’s Short Stack rye whiskey finishes its distillation in maple syrup barrels, giving it a gorgeous dark hue and unparalleled smoothness.

Cocktails to try: New Money, Old Fashioned – Bright Lights, Big Bourbon makes one good Old Fashioned. Make sure to express a fresh orange twist over the glass to bring out incredible flavor.

Coppersea Distilling

New Paltz, 845.444.1044

The Coppersea philosophy revolves around what the team calls “heritage methods.” Chief Distiller Christopher Briar Williams runs a true “grain-to-glass” operation, utilizing barley, corn, and rye from the 75-acre farm. This team was the first in the state to “floor-malt” its own grain, contributing to a 100-percent Hudson Valley terroir. A trip to Coppersea will demonstrate other unique processes, like open-top fermentation and direct-fire distillation.

Sip this: Excelsior Straight Bourbon is imbued with the flavors of charred Hudson Valley oak barrels.

Cocktails to try: Bonticou Crag Manhattan – We’re excited about the prospects of Coppersea’s Bonticou Crag Rye in a simple Manhattan. Notes of cinnamon, raw honey, and pepper play nicely with fine vermouth and aromatic bitters.

Related: Explore the Hudson Valley’s Wineries

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