Finger Lakes Distilling banner logo
Finger Lakes Distilling NewsletterOctober 2013
In This Issue
The McKenzie Tour
Assistant Distiller
Saturday Tours
Cocktail Corner
Quick Links


(Over 4,200 fans and counting!)
Our blog

Tastings and Events


Tuesday, October 29
Flatiron Room 1 Year Anniversary Cruise
6:30-9:30 pm

Friday, November 8
Exit 9 Liquors
Halfmoon, NY
3-7 pm

Saturday, November 9
TedX Chemung
CMOG, Corning
12-1:30 pm

Tuesday, November 12
Spirits Dinner
The Farm on Adderley

Friday, November 15
Spirits Dinner
Corning Country Club

Saturday, November 16
Lisa's Liquor Barn
1-3 pm

Saturday, November 23
Lighthouse Liquors
12-3 pm

Thursday, November 28

Friday, November 29
Alternative Black Friday Experience at FLD
11-5 pm

Saturday, November 30
Small Business Saturday

Sunday, December 1
Holiday Tasting
Lighthouse Liquors
12-4 pm

Wednesday, December 4
Triphammer Wines & Liquors An Evening to Remember
(to benefit the Alzheimer's Association)
Trip Hotel, Ithaca
5:30-9 pm

Friday, December 13
GCP Liquors
4-7 pm

Saturday, December 14
Triphammer Wines & Liquors
3-6 pm

Wednesday, December 18
Watkins Glen Wine & Spirits
Watkins Glen
4-7 pm  

Please come out to see us!



Dear Friend of FLD:

Most of our grapes were picked yesterday which means harvest is nearly complete here in the Finger Lakes. The native varieties, like those in our vineyard, are generally the last to come off the vine.

October is our busiest month of the year from a tourism perspective, so most of our attention is directed to production and keeping things going in the tasting room. Next month, on the other hand, we'll be back out there promoting our wares at several off-site events and tastings. A couple of the highlights will be the spirits dinners at The Farm on Adderley in Brooklyn on November 12 and the Corning Country Club on November 15. We'll post menus as they are available. Check out all of our upcoming events on the sidebar.

The weekend following Thanksgiving is a great time to visit FLD, if you're in the area. We'll be holding our regular  Black Friday Party with music, food, and some other special surprises. FLD is the place to be that day to avoid the crowds and craziness, but still get out and about for some fun. We're also participating in Small Business Saturday that weekend, with offsite tastings and promotions here at the distillery. We'll keep you posted!

Thanks for continuing to support us. 


Brian McKenzie
Finger Lakes Distilling   

"The McKenzie Tour" a Huge Success at FLD

Since late August, we've been offering a weekly tour of our facility on Saturday mornings. The response has been overwhelming as, week after week, we host fully-booked tour groups.

Our lively and informative tour guide, John Pulos (pictured above), takes visitors through all aspects of the distilling process. How's this for a testimonial from one of our guests:

"Took the tour this past Saturday, and WOW! What a great experience! Your tour guide (darn, I can't recall his name- sly silver fox of a gent) was FAN-TASTIC! Seriously, you're lucky to have him! He delivered facts about your distillery as if he'd been doing this his whole life. We were extremely impressed. I love knowing that the bottles I have were created with such attention to craftsmanship...We really enjoyed the tasting room, and purchased much of what we sampled...Thanks for a great learning experience!"

If you're thinking about joining one of our remaining tours (they will run through November 30), you might want to reserve your spot soon. Unfortunately, due to our limited space, we've had maximum occupancy nearly every week, so we've had to turn some people away.

The easiest way to book a tour is through our website. You can also call us between 11-5 at (607) 546-5510 ext 200.

Harvest 2013: 
A Direct Update from
Master Distiller Thomas McKenzie

This past weekend, I paid a visit to one of our grain farmers who planted a special variety of corn for us. We decided to take a gamble this year and grow a variety of white corn. In the old South, white corn was prized for making bread and for making whiskey. Everybody grew yellow corn as well, but that was for the livestock to live off of. White corn was for the people. In KY, white corn was used for bourbon most famously by Col. Taylor who was the owner of the distillery that is now the Buffalo Trace distillery. The brand was Old Taylor. I have made whiskey out of white corn before and it indeed makes great whiskey. The white dog from white corn is fruity and a little more refined tasting. 

We have wanted to make whiskey from white corn on a small scale for some time here at FLD, but most farmers knew nothing of it - some thought it was sweet corn, others thought I was nuts. This year we bit the bullet and found an old heirloom variety of white corn with a shorter growing season. The name of the corn is Hickory King. As you can see, it makes very tall plants and very long ears with wide flat kernels.

It was a big gamble as we did not know if the shorter growing season in NY would allow the corn to fill out and mature. Well, I am happy to report that it did mature and filled out completely. It made a fine crop. Now if we can get a good frost the ears will drop down and it will dry out so it can be harvested.

What do we plan to use this corn for? Good question. We plan to make a high corn recipe bourbon out of it for special release, maybe some white corn glen thunder, maybe some aged white corn whiskey. Hey, we might even get a wild hair and malt some of it, as white corn is easy to malt. Never know what is up our sleeves. We are just glad the crop looks as good as it does. Keep your "ears" open in the coming months and years for some special releases from this crop.

 Jerry's Back!

Gerard McCall named Assistant Distiller at Finger Lakes Distilling 

We're happy to have a familiar face back working full time at FLD. In early September, Jerry McCall returned to the area from California to take on the duties of Assistant Distiller.

Jerry is a graduate of the Hotel School at Cornell University. He has a culinary arts background and has focused a lot of his experiences in the beverage alcohol field. During Jerry's time at Cornell, he worked part-time at FLD, both in our tasting room and helping to promote our brands to retailers throughout the State. Most recently, Jerry worked as Assistant Food and Beverage Manager at the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.

As Assistant Distiller, Jerry is helping Thomas Earl with the day-to-day operations and is also taking the lead on streamlining and improving the regulatory side of our business - government reports, inventory management, and other related projects.

You may see Jerry giving a hand in the tasting room on occasion, as well. We're fortunate to have him back on our team.

New Product - McKenzie Whiskey Barrel BBQ Chips

If you thought the colder weather might deter you from firing up the BBQ, here's a reason keep the charcoal well stocked.  We are now selling McKenzie Whiskey Barrel BBQ Chips.  The chips are made by chopping up our used barrels so you will be able to infuse your smoked meats with the essence of our award-winning whiskeys.

Visit our tasting room to hand select your own chips to take home in our FLD-branded burlap bags. Take as many as you can fit in the bag for only $12.


Cocktail Corner

This month, we're featuring a couple of drinks from some of our favorite local restaurants. Going forward, look for more recipes from the great local cocktail experts in the region. Our expertise is in making the hooch, but the cocktail scene in the Finger Lakes is really coming along and the local bartenders really know how to pair our spirits with other ingredients to make some amazing concoctions.

Escape Artist

from Eric Trichon, Owner, Mercato Bar & Kitchen, Ithaca



  • 1.5 oz. Seneca Drums 
  • 0.75 oz. Montenegro Amaro  
  • 0.5 oz. Tomr's Tonic Syrup  
  • 0.5 oz. Fresh Lemon  
  • 0.25 oz. Agave Syrup 
  • Lemon Twist (for garnish)

Shake top 5 ingredients over ice and double strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist.  

Harvest Moon

from Jason Scarbrough, Bar Manager, Stonecat Cafe, Burdett   



  • 1.5 oz White Pike Whiskey 
  • 1 oz Vanilla Syrup
  • Apple Marinade (see below*) 
  • 1 oz Hard Cider
*Soak a handful of diced apples in maple syrup, lime juice and cinnamon for 2-3 days.



In a shaker, muddle two hefty teaspoons of the apple marinade with 1 oz. vanilla syrup add ice and 1.5 oz. of White Pike Whiskey. Shake vigorously and pour all ingredients into a cocktail glass top with 1oz of hard cider and garnish with a teaspoon of the apples and a drizzle of the marinade.    







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.