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Finger Lakes Distilling NewsletterAugust 2012
In This Issue
New Batch of Rye in July
Wahaka Mezcal
Latest News
New gear at FLD
Cocktail Corner
Quick Links


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Upcoming Tastings and Events


Saturday, July 21
G & T Invitational
Union Square Manhattan, NYC

Thursday-Sunday, July 26
Seneca Lake Wine Trail, NY
Monday, August 6  
Geneva, NY
Monday, Sept. 24
Slow Foods NYC- Spirits of NY
Manhattan, NY


Please come out to see us!



Dear Friend of FLD,

I'm sorry if you've been eagerly checking your inbox for the latest FLD newsletter. We're running a bit behind, but this time of year is a little busy around here. Summer traffic has been better than ever and production of your favorite Finger Lake's spirits is running full bore.

Demand for McKenzie Rye very nearly exceeded supply earlier this summer, but we've got plenty in stock for the remainder of 2012. Unfortunately, we can't say the same for our award-winning Grappa. All 3 varieties are sold out until this upcoming harvest. We never imagined grappa would sell so well, but we are lining up grapes to at least double production for 2013.

We were excited to once again host our greyhound friends this past weekend at the annual Grapehound event. Put it on your calendar for 2013- it's a great weekend to come to the distillery if you are a dog lover.

Our presence in NYS continues to grow. This summer, we've developed several relationships with Long Island retailers. Please check our Where-to-Buy page for a full list of places where you can find our spirits. Check the side-bar for some upcoming tastings, as well.

We've also been fortunate to have several more mentions in the press recently. Check out the cover story in this month's Mountain Home Magazine. They even caught Thomas Earl smiling for the camera.

mountain home

As we embark on our 4th full year selling small batch, hand-crafted spirits, I'd like to thank you again for all of your support. Hope to see you soon.


Brian McKenzie
President, Finger Lakes Distilling

A New Batch of Rye in July...


McKenzie Rye Whiskey Fans:
We were patiently waiting for Thomas Earl to give us the high sign that the newest batch of the McKenzie Rye was ready to bottle.  Once he did we feverishly worked to get it back on the shelf.  We did it and there is plenty for your rye drinking pleasures. So come visit, or get to your local beverage store.

What makes McKenzie Rye Whiskey so unique?  

Let Thomas Earl explain...

"At Finger Lakes Distilling, we take pride in making a more old fashioned style of rye whiskey.

First off, rye whiskey has to be made from a minimum of 51 percent rye grain. The big American distilleries use 51 percent rye and the remainder of the mashbill is corn and malted barley.
We feel the addition of corn cuts the rye flavor. We use a mashbill more like what they used in Pennsylvania to make rye decades ago, or what they currently make in Canada as a flavoring whiskey for Canadian blends. We use 80 percent rye and 20 percent malted barley. This creates a spicy tasting whiskey due to its high rye content. A lot of distilleries large and small make 100 percent rye whiskey. Most who do this use commercially sourced enzymes to take the place of the malted barley. We use only malt at FLD.

Rye is known among distillers as the hardest grain to make whiskey from, and we agree. Rye grain has a low amount of starch in it, so it yields less sugar when mashed, that in turn yields less whiskey when distilled. It also has a high amount of gluten, making rye mash very sticky and hard to work with - but if it was easy everyone would be making great rye.

Rye whiskey also has to be aged in a new charred white oak barrel. We use a lighter char and air dried wood for our barrels and that helps to emphasize the spiciness of our rye.

We work hard to make a good rye whiskey for you and hope you enjoy drinking it and much as we like making it!

Wahaka Mezcal comes to New York State




Though we are not distilling Mezcal here at FLD, we are distributing this product for Wahaka Mezcal out of Mexico, whose philosophy and methods are similar to ours.  Wahaka does not outsource any part of their production and they purchase ingredients from local farmers.   


The similarities don't end there, like our Thomas Earl, Wahaka's distiller Alberto Morales who they affectionately call "Yoda" comes from a long lineage of distillers.   His methodologies are based on tradition and secrets of the family, and the process is 100% organic and 100% artisanal.


Why wouldn't FLD distill Mezcal you ask?  Mezcal comes from harvesting the agave plant which is a type of cactus we cannot grow. According to Wahaka, their Mezcal has a rich and often smoky flavor, which has been said to prolong a person's life (though we don't believe that claim has been FDA-approved).  


Wahaka comes in 5 different expressions: Espadin Joven (farm raised agave), Reposado con Gusano (aged 6 months and includes the famous worm!), Madre Cuishe (from wild lowland agave), Tobala (from wild highland agave), and Ensamble (a combination of the Espadin, Madre Cuishe, and Tobala). We will be selling these final Mezcals to retailers, bars and restaurants throughout NYS.   


Next time you are thirsting for tequila try Wahaka Mezcal instead.  You will enjoy the complex flavors and real taste that natural Agave offers.   


Cheers to Finger Lakes Distilling and Wahaka Mezkal - two great companies coming together with delicious spirits!

In case you missed it... 

"Few Things say Summer like Gin" - Eric Asimov reviews some new gin brands in the NY Times, with Seneca Drums Gin near the top of the line-up.

"Hot Days call for Cold Drinks" says Edible Manhattan.  And what better way to cool down than with Berry Rosado cocktail made with FLD's Vintner's Vodka. 

"Why would Dad want this?"  Tony Sachs asks in an article featured in the Huffington Post. He says, McKenzie Bourbon is the one to buy this year.


"Corn Whiskey the Hottest Thing in Cold Drinks." If you are flying American Airlines this month be sure to look inside their in-flight mag, AmericanWay. Phil Brandon writes a feature article about how it isn't "moonshine" anymore and how  our Glen Thunder corn whiskey is great in a cocktail or just straight up.

"Blending North and South the McKenzie boys bring whiskey to wine country." In Mountain Home Magazine Michael Capuzzo gives a thorough account of FLD's beginnings, our local-minded philosophy and dedication to making flavorful products in a time-honored manner.

Grapehounds at FLD 

This past weekend was The Grapehound Wine Tour on Seneca Lake and we had such a great time visiting with our Greyhound friends. What wonderful guests they are, with their sweet personalities and relaxed nature you would never know there were 5-10 of them lounging around the tasting room at all times (over 370 dogs in total).

While their human friends tasted our spirits we offered each Greyhound a locally-made martini shaped dog treat.  As they left we said good bye with a colorful bandana for them to sport around the lake.    

Thank you for stopping in. We can't wait to see you all again next year.

New gear at FLD
"McKenzie Whiskey Makes Me Frisky"
Yes, folks we know you are saying it... so we put it on a t-shirt. Come get one in your size or as a gift.

whiskey tee

Also to celeb
rate summer and fun times we added Finger Lakes Distilling slick red frisbees and comfortable folding chairs to our gift shop.


folding chair

So come on in and get your items and share with us on Facebook how you enjoy summer with your FLD Summer Fun Gear.

Cheers, See You Soon!

 Cocktail Corner 


Basil Rathbone  


3 oz Seneca Drums Gin 
.75 oz St Germain 
.5 oz freshly squeezed lemon Juice
3-6 Purple Basil leaves (green is also fine) 


In a rocks glass muddle basil.
In a shaker add gin, St Germain, and lemon juice.
Shake with ice, strain and pour into rocks glass.
If desired place large ice cube in glass to keep chilled.
For a sweeter cocktail increase St Germain to 1 oz. 



Pink Magic  



2 oz Pureed Watermelon

1 oz Wild Berry Vodka (or Vintner's Vodka)

1 Pinch of Powdered Ginger


Chill Watermelon before pureeing in blender (or afterwards). In a glass add Watermelon Puree, Vodka and powdered Ginger. Increase amount of Powdered Ginger to taste.





Now it's your turn to experiment with FLD spirits!


 Please send us your ideas for cocktails using our products. With your permission, we may feature your cocktail in a future newsletter. If selected, we'll send you an FLD hat or T-shirt.

Want to know more about our spirits? Just visit
Our Products for details and tasting notes on our gin, vodka, whiskey, brandy, fruit liqueurs and other products.