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Finger Lakes Distilling NewsletterOctober 2012
In This Issue
McKenzie Distiller's Reserve Gin
New Batches and Releases
Latest News
New gear at FLD
Cocktail Corner
Quick Links


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Upcoming Tastings and Events




Tuesday, Oct 16 

Tasting & Seminar 

Whiskey Tuesdays 

Stella's, Ithaca

9 pm  


October 22-29 

Finger Lakes Restaurant Week


Sunday, Oct 28

Whiskey Tasting

Rogues Harbor Inn, Ithaca



Saturday, Nov 10 


Grand Wine/Spirit Tasting Ryan's Wines & Spirits, Canandaigua

2-5 pm


Saturday, Nov 10


Fairview Wines


2-5 pm


Friday, Nov 16


Northside Wine & Spirits


4-7 pm 


Tuesday, Nov 20


Lighthouse Liquors


4-7 pm




Please come out to see us!



Dear Friend of FLD,

The FLD tasting room is rocking this time of year. Weekend traffic is as busy as ever. Thanks to all of you that have stopped in for a taste of our spirits as you take in the Fall foliage and enjoy our local wineries.

We were pleased to learn that Governor Cuomo signed a bill last month that will allow Farm Distilleries like FLD to sell spirits at NYS Farm Markets. We hope to take advantage of this new sales outlet next year.

I'm also looking forward to the Governor's Summit on Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider, taking place this week in Albany. It's great to see the State acknowledging the impact our industries have on the State economy. The climate has certainly improved over the past year and it looks like Albany is really committed to finding ways to help NYS beverage producers grow our businesses.

As always, we've got some other fun news to report this month, including a new product release and some pics from this year's grape harvest.

Our offsite event/tasting calendar is booking up fast - please stay in-the-know on our Facebook page.


As the sun sets on harvest time here in the Finger Lakes, please keep us in mind as you plan your Fall adventures. We'd love to see you at the distillery.


Brian McKenzie
President, Finger Lakes Distilling

McKenzie Distiller's Reserve Gin   


At FLD, We Love Gin!


As many of you know, we created Seneca Drums Gin to be a flavorful grape-based gin, with a rich botanical mix you can't find in typical London-dry styles. Thomas Earl (our Master Distiller) says the pine, citrus and floral aromas create levels of flavors that all complement each other.


We thank all of you who have shared your praise for Seneca Drums and told us how much you've enjoyed it in your gin and tonics, martinis and other wonderful cocktails. But we couldn't leave well enough alone.


We wondered if we could make a few minor modifications to the recipe to create a new gin - slightly different in style, but equally-delicious. So we took our Seneca Drums formula, tweaked it a bit, lightened it up, did a little of this and that, added some surprises and...





new gin    


McKenzie Distiller's Reserve Gin was born.  


It's created in the same flavorful style as Seneca Drums, but has more focused citrus notes and is not as herbaceous.   


"Think of it as a souped-up version of Seneca Drums," Master Distiller Thomas Earl says. "Plus, it's 91 proof. You'll get more smiles to the gallon."


After a few tasting sessions, we decided that we liked our new gin so much, that we should distinguish it by making it part of our McKenzie line of spirits. You'll notice it on the shelf with a newly designed label that's inspired by our McKenzie Whiskeys. It looks quite different from our funky Seneca Drums label, so don't worry about confusing the two.  We feel McKenzie Distiller's Reserve Gin is ideal for a dry martini or straight up, perhaps shaken over ice. 


What makes our gins so great?


We like flavor, so instead of using the typical grain-based neutral spirits to create our gin, we start with locally-grown grapes and distill them into a base spirit with a more robust flavor profile. We then soak our botanicals in the alcohol and conduct secondary distillations to extract the most flavor possible.


In contrast, other gin makers boil grain neutral spirit and pass it through what is called a Carterhead still, which sends vapors through a basket of botanicals to "steam" flavor into the final product. This makes a lighter-style gin that is sometimes blended with grain neutral spirit after distillation, diluting the flavor further. Another common method used to make "compounded" gin, is performed by blending gin oils or flavorings with grain neutral spirits. This is what was referred to as "bathtub" gin during prohibition. No thanks. We prefer our hand-crafted gin with real flavor.


While many micro-distillers are making fine gins, we think you'll find that our Seneca Drums Gin and our new McKenzie Distiller's Reserve Gin both have special flavors that stand out. Our distilling process and unique blend of botanicals may be nontraditional, but we feel they create delicious gin.


So, we invite you to come visit FLD to taste them yourself. Try our Seneca Drums Gin and our newest spirit, McKenzie Distiller's Reserve Gin. Which will you prefer?




Harvest Update and Upcoming Releases

harvest 1 

We made it through our 5th harvest here at FLD, processing just over 15 tons of grapes for brandy and grappa. While this may not sound like a lot compared with our local wineries, Thomas Earl hasn't skipped a beat with our regular whiskey production during this time. Needless to say, it's been busy around here.

FLD fans, you will be happy to know the Riesling & Gewurztraminer Grappa will reappear on the tasting room shelves in the next couple of weeks.

3 grappas 

Now that harvest is over, we are eager to tell you about our next new product.

It needs just a bit more time, but it should be ready for the holidays! We'll keep you posted.  

In case you missed it...

"Corn Whiskey, Back on the Scene" says Zak Stambor. Check out what he says about FLD's Glen Thunder in the Chicago Tribune.

Weekend Field Trip to FLD - read about Christina's trip in her blog post on

"Distillers coming to farmer's markets", Jimmy Veilkind announces the news in the Albany Times Union.

"Spirits High", the Times Union writes that other good things are coming for artisan beverage producers.

Finger Lakes native Josh Zollweg posts on Joshzie's Whiskey Review, how FLD is a great fit for the middle of wine country!

"McKenzie Rye can be Mischievous!
" Find out why S.D.Peters thinks this on

"The Rye Whiskey Craze or Crunch?", read the  Whiskey Reviewer
article about the continued demand for Rye whiskey, and who is creating it.
New Gear at FLD

This month we have so many new clothing items to tell you about.

We have three new hoodies, just in time for the cool weather...


The new t-shirts are in. Lots of great  new colors, styles and designs...

New Tess
Check out the new Glen Thunder tee - it is a real winner!

Red Glen Thunde rtee



Cocktail Corner

Octoberfest Cocktail

Created by former FLD employee, Tom Lenerz  




1 oz. FLD McKenzie Rye Whiskey

16 oz. Octoberfest beer

Splash of Simple Syrup

3 Dashes Black Walnut Bitters 

Combine Rye whiskey, simple syrup and bitters in a pint glass. Blend by adding beer. 



Concord Cocktail   


concord cocktail  

2 oz. Seneca Drums or McKenzie Distiller's Reserve Gin
2 oz. Concord Grape Juice 
0.5 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur 
Dash Simple Syrup (depending on sweetness of grape juice) 
3-4 dashes Fee Bros Orange Bitters 
Lemon peel for garnish 


Combine top 5 ingredients in shaker with ice. Strain in rocks glass over large ice cube or into martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel.  


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.