Friday, March 22, 2013
My Half Full Glass - March 21st, 2013
After a month-long break I am trying to get back on terms with my weekly posts. Some things have calmed down and others stay as insane as they were when they knocked me off track. Such is life!
This week is a celebration of drinking local with both a locally made spirit and a local mead. Do you drink local?
Flag Hill Distillery White Mountain Moonshine
I took my first sip of the Flag Hill White Mountain Moonshine whilst outside brewing a pot of beer on a sunny yet cold & windy day. I am sure the environment had something to do with my first impressions, but since they were quite positive I think the setup only ads to be mystique of drinking local moonshine!
I don't have a lot of experience with white/un-aged spirits so I don't really know how to describe them very well. The nose definitely has a punch of alcohol and reminded me of high proof vodka. The more I thought about it the more I realized that there is a greenness to the nose which I can only link to the corn and gently malted barley being un-hidden by barrel aging. The nose is slightly sweet, but not abundantly so.
In the mouth this drink is sweet, and at 90 proof it does warm quickly, but there is not the harshness or burn that you do find in undiluted 'shine or white dog that you might get served out of an unlabelled container. Some of amount of grain flavor was accessible to me, but I again don't feel qualified to say much more about it.
Because I was around the brewpot I thought of other communal functions where this tipple, and the cute little 375 ml handle bottle is just really cool, might fit in well. Campfires and cigar night with the boys both came to mind.
I purchased this at my local NH Liquor Store at $18.99 for the 375ml bottle. Yes that is a bit pricey, but I know, like and appreciate what the folks at Flag Hill do so it was worth it to me.
Sap House Meadery Vanilla Metheglin
I got some cheerful personal mead-making news this week in the form of a silver medal at the 2013 Mazer Cup for my vanilla mead. Realizing I hadn't sampled but one commercial version, from Moonlight Meadery (review from 2011), I sought out one made from Sap House Meadery in Center Ossipee here in New Hampshire.
Vanilla is a really wonderful spice but I don't think most people really ever experience it fully and completely. Imitation vanilla is not vanilla. The fake aromas and flavors don't do it justice. You need vanilla beans, and good ones from Madagascar or India to really understand what vanilla smells and tastes like. When you then go the next step and steep the beans in a mead (with sufficient alcohol of course) you end up making a slightly less pungent version of vanilla extract, but one you can drink! Only then can you really appreciate vanilla as it really is.
Because vanilla beans are the seed pod of the Vanilla Orchid, real vanilla will exude floral essences and anyone who loves to explore the world with their nose should spend some time with a good vanilla bean; it is heavenly.
The Sap House Meadery Vanilla Bean Mead is a local wildflower honey mead flavored with Indian Vanilla beans. The nose is very floral, both from the honey and the vanilla, and definitely inviting. The finish is sweet, but really medium-sweet like a natural cream soda versus a syrupy uber-commercialized version.
Both the honey and vanilla are accessible in the mouth and the tartness that builds from mid-sip and fades through the finish helps define the flavors nicely. Whether you drink this on its own or use it to add vanilla to a cocktail it tastes very real and classy.
Nicely done Sap House Meadery!