Skip to content

Whiskey With What?

September 16, 2011

Part of me was expecting to write about last weekend’s Saratoga Wine & Food Festival all this week. But I’ve been largely silent on the matter. If you have been dying to hear about Chianti and their porchetta, you’ll just have to come back next week.

Because today is for cocktails, and I have to tell you the story about this spirit I discovered at the festival.

However, to say that I discovered it is a total mischaracterization. If it were up to me, I would have blithely walked right by it and not given it a second look. It was Doc Sconz who discovered it, told me about it, and compelled me to try it. He’s a man with exquisite tastes, and if he likes it, I would be a fool to not at least taste it.

But I have to tell you, even as the words came out of his mouth, I was left questioning his judgment. I mean, how could it be possible that at an event with a full line of Tuthilltown’s small batch Hudson whiskies the good doctor could recommend trying some other distillery’s adulterated bottling?

I’m going to mention two words. Words that I would not have thought would go together. Words that when put together really don’t do justice to this spirit. But these words are inextricably linked to this remarkable product.

Maple. Whiskey.

Whatever that conjures up in your mind, take it, and put it aside for a moment. The spirit is called Cabin Fever. And whiskey isn’t made from maple, it’s made from grain. Their whiskey happens to be 80% rye. Incidentally, it’s also aged for three years in uncharred port wood barrels. So it’s not maple whiskey after all. Rather, it’s a spicy small-batch rye infused with maple.

It still sounds sweet and sticky, doesn’t it? Okay, well consider this. It’s no ordinary maple. Cabin Fever uses Grade B Vermont maple. That’s the stuff that offers the most assertive and dark maple flavors. For lack of a better word, it’s maple syrup with balls.

Now I know some whiskey connoisseurs may look askance at what comes next.

The rye whiskey infused with maple is then chill filtered. Melissa and Julie, the whiskey ladies, explained to me that this process removes a lot of the sugar from the syrup while leaving most of its flavor intact. There is still a little bit of residual sugar remaining when it gets bottled at 80 proof, but this is not some sticky sweet liqueur.

Their goal was to create a unique regional American spirit. Personally, I don’t think they had to invent something from scratch, because applejack fits that bill nicely. But since they were building a new one from the ground up they did an admirable job.

I have to admit that I loved this stuff.

As far as I’m concerned, they stumbled upon the formulation for a delicious cocktail in a bottle. Unscrew the cap of Cabin Fever, pour it over ice, and you have an amazing Old Fashioned without the work.

There is a hint of sweetness, a powerful whiskey backbone, and some amazing spicy complexity coming from the rye, the oak and the Grade B maple.

I’m still flabbergasted that I’m enamored with this stuff, but I am. I can’t say I love it in a Manhattan, because I don’t. However, this would be a fabulously warming and satisfying bottle to keep on hand for fall and winter. At well under $30 a bottle, I would say it’s a value.

Hopefully this will serve as a powerful lesson for me on prejudice. Sometimes I forget. It pays to try things with an open mind, and I’m thankful to DocSconz for reminding me of this.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. colleen permalink
    September 16, 2011 11:02 am

    this sounds like whiskey blasphemy! ;-) but i’d be willing to try it (even though maple is not a flavor that shows up on the tasting wheel, i prefer peaty/smoky “water of life”, and i don’t really dig the idea of infusing whiskey, but i’d try it and call it something else)

  2. September 16, 2011 12:35 pm

    Thank you so much for this wonderful review! And many thanks to Doc Sconz for reminding you that is pays to try things with an open mind ;) Cheers!!

  3. Mirdreams permalink
    September 16, 2011 3:45 pm

    I second the request for information on where we can buy it locally. It sounds delicious.

  4. September 17, 2011 12:32 am

    Hey all, If you send me an email, or post here, where you are from, I can direct you to a liquor store in your area :) My email is Julie@customspiritsllc.com

  5. September 17, 2011 12:27 pm

    My family was one of the largest producers of Maple Syrup in NYS for many, many years. Anything that says “maple” (and that uses real syrup) I fall for immediately. I can’t help it. My tastebuds and my memories amalgamate and for some other sense and I’m somewhat instantly enamored. Plus, I’m kind of a lush. This is one I’ll definitely be trying.

  6. September 18, 2011 7:46 pm

    Hey All, You can pick up Cabin Fever at the following stores in New York. Many new stores will be added shortly, but in the meantime here are a few :) Cheers!

    ALBANY WINE & SPIRITS 105 COLVIN AVENUE ALBANY NY 12206
    ALDEN LIQUOR STORE 13131 BROADWAY ALDEN NY 14004
    ON THE ROX LIQUORS 4382 BAILEY AVE AMHERST NY 14226
    BLACK BEAR WINE & SPIRITS 116 POLAR PLAZA AMSTERDAM NY 12010
    CITY SLIQUORS 21 01 ASTORIA BLVD ASTORIA NY 11102
    JOLSON’S WINE & LIQUORS 2224 31ST STREET ASTORIA NY 11105
    PEPPER’S DISCOUNT L & W 307 GENESEE ST AUBURN NY 13021
    LEROY PACKAGE STORE 64 LEROY STREET BINGHAMTON NY 13905
    SOUTH BRIDGE WINES & SPIRITS 1177 VESTAL AVE BINGHAMTON NY 13903
    MCNAMARA LIQUORS 2102 MONTAUK HIGHWAY BRIDGEHAMPTON NY 11932
    BIG TREE BOTTLES 43 BOGART STREET BROOKLYN NY 11206
    BORISAL LIQUOR & WINE 468 FOURTH AVENUE BROOKLYN NY 11215
    BQE W & L WAREHOUSE 86 APOLLO STREET BROOKLYN NY 11222
    CORNELIUS 565 VANDERBILT AVENUE BROOKLYN NY 11238
    GIBSON, THE 108 BEDFORD AVE BROOKLYN NY 11211
    GNARLY VINES 350 MYRTLE AVENUE BROOKLYN NY 11205
    MONTAGUE WINE & SPIRITS 78 MONTAGUE STREET BROOKLYN NY 11201
    NO. 7 7 GREENE AVE BROOKLYN NY 11238
    SCOTTO S WINE CELLAR 318 COURT ST BROOKLYN NY 11231
    DANAHY WINE & SPIRITS 1064 ELMWOOD AVE BUFFALO NY 14222
    FOUNDING FATHERS 75 EDWARD ST BUFFALO NY 14202
    GALLAGHERS 71-75 ALLEN ST BUFFALO NY 14201
    ROHALLS CORNER 540 AMHERST STREET BUFFALO NY 14207
    CENTRAL VALLEY LIQUORS 262 ROUTE 32 CENTRAL VALLEY NY 10917
    COOPERS LANDING 7459 W. MURRAY DRIVE CICERO NY 13039
    TORCHWOOD WINE & SPIRITS 6175 TORCHWOOD LANE POB 1965 CICERO NY 13039
    54 THE CROSSING BLVD STORE O 54 THE CROSSING BLVD CLIFTON PARK NY 12065
    WOODBECK LIQUORS 668 E MAIN STREET STE 1 COBLESKILL NY 12043
    CORITH WINE & LIQUOR 123 MAIN STREET CORINTH NY 12822
    VAN WYCK LIQUORS 42 MAPLE STREET CROTON ON HUDSON NY 10520
    DELHI LIQUOR STORE 55 MAIN ST DELHI NY 13753
    CATSKILL CELLARS 15380 STATE HIGHWAY 30 DOWNSVILLE NY 13755
    O MALIAS LIQUOR STORE 1170 CENTRAL AVE LOT #9 DUNKIRK NY 14048
    PARK PLACE LIQUORS 84 PARK PLACE SUITE 6 EAST HAMPTON NY 11937
    FINE WINES UNLIMITED 1021 OYSTER BAY RD EAST NORWICH NY 11732
    LABARRES STORE 5581 ROUTE 11 BOX 118 ELLENBURG NY 12933
    ELMA LIQUOR STORE 2350 BOWEN RD PO BOX 174 ELMA NY 14059
    LEISER LIQUORS INC. 41-30-36 162ST FLUSHING NY 11358
    WINE ROOM OF FOREST *** 96 09 69TH AVENUE FOREST HILLS NY 11375
    ARMY & AIR FORCE ECHANGE SERVI BLDG 10732 S MEMORIAL DR FORT DRUM NY 13602
    GARDEN CITY WINES & SPIRITS 166 7TH STREET GARDEN CITY NY 11530
    GERAGHTYS DISC WINES&LIQUOR RT 29 PLAZA-STORE#4 GREENWICH NY 12834
    CARMAN WINE & LIQUOR 3641 CARMAN RD GUILDERLAND NY 12303
    CORK N JUG LIQUORS & WINES 262 W MONTAUK HGWY HAMPTON BAYS NY 11946
    HAMPTON BAYS LIQUORS 129 W MONTAUK HIGHWAY HAMPTON BAYS NY 11946
    HAMPTON BAYS WINE & SPIRITS 46 EAST MONTAUK HWY HAMPTON BAYS NY 11946
    HANCOCK LIQUOR STORE 27 W MAIN STS HANCOCK NY 13783
    KINGSBURY WINE&LIQUOR 3736 BURGOYNE AVE HUDSON FALLS NY 12839
    FAIRVIEW WINES & SPIRITS 160 FAIRVIEW AVE PLAZA#114 HUDSON NY 12534
    HUDSON WINE MERCHANTS 341 1/2 WARREN ST HUDSON NY 12534
    LIQUORAMA WINE CELLARS 3999 ALBANY POST ROAD HYDE PARK NY 12538
    WINE SHOP, THE 155 MAIN STREET ROUTE 28 INLET NY 13360
    ISLAND PARK WINE & LIQUOR 4389 AUSTIN BLVD ISLAND PARK NY 11558
    POP’S LIQUOR STORE 256 LONG BEACH ROAD ISLAND PARK NY 11558
    WINE & LIQUOR DEPOT 207 ISLIP AVENUE ISLIP NY 11751
    NORTHSIDE WINE & SPIRITS ITHACA SHOPPING PLAZA ITHACA NY 14850
    EVANS LIQUOR STORE 1013 FAIRMOUNT AVE W E JAMESTOWN NY 14701
    SPIRITS OF THE ADIRONDACKS 107 TOWNSEND AVE JOHNSTOWN NY 12095
    VILLAGE LIQUOR STORE 1727 FRONT STREET KEESVILLE NY 12944
    FITZ’S LIQUOR STORE 1355 ULSTER AVE MALL KINGSTON NY 12401
    OUTPOST WINES & SPIRITS 1936 SARANAC AVE LAKE PLACID NY 12946
    THE SMOKING CORK 2527 MAIN STREET STE 5 LAKE PLACID NY 12946
    LAKE LIQUORS 299-2 HAWKINS AVE LAKE RONKONKOMA NY 11779
    ALL STAR WINE & SPIRITS 579 TROY SCHENECTADY RD PLT 29 LATHAM NY 12110
    COURT SQUARE WINE & SPIRITS 24 20 JACKSON AVE LONG ISLAND CITY NY 11101
    STERLING CELLARS 179 RTE 6 MAHOPAC VLG CTR MAHOPAC NY 10541
    KYNA DIFFERENT PUB 2939 ST RTE 11 B MALONE NY 12953
    MANLIUS LIQUORS 315 FAYETTE STREET MANLIUS NY 13104
    MARCELLUS LIQUORS 15 EAST MAIN ST MARCELLUS NY 13108
    MERRICK WINES & SPIRITS 2152 MERRICK ROAD MERRICK NY 11566
    NASSAU LIQUOR STORE 13 ALBANY AVENUE NASSAU NY 12123
    NASSAU WINE & LIQUORS 3531 US ROUTE 20 NASSAU NY 12123
    PARK AVENUE LIQUOR 292 MADISON AV (40&41) NEW YORK N.Y. 10017
    ACKER, MERRALL & CONDIT 160 WEST 72ND ST NEW YORK NY 10023
    ADRIATIC WINE & LIQ STORE 714 10TH AVE NEW YORK NY 10019
    ATMI ( 166 2ND AV (11TH&12TH) NEW YORK NY 10003
    BAR BASQUE 839 AVE OF THE AMERICAS NEW YORK NY 10001
    GOLDEN RULE LIQUOR 457 HUDSON ST NEW YORK NY 10014
    GRAND HARVEST WINES 107 E42 ST NEW YORK NY 10017
    HILL COUNTRY 30 W 26TH ST NEW YORK NY 10010
    LA VENUE 608 W 28TH STREET NEW YORK NY 11222
    MARA’S HOMEMADE*** 342 EAST 6TH ST NEW YORK NY 10003
    NEW EHRLICH WINE & LIQ 222 AMSTERDAM AVE NEW YORK NY 10023
    RAY & FRANK LIQUOR 706 9TH AVENUE NEW YORK NY 10019
    SPIRITS OF CARMINE 52 CARMINE STREET NEW YORK NY 10014
    BALMVILLE WINE & LIQUORS 5251 RT 9W NEWBURGH NY 12550
    MID VALLEY WINE & LIQUOR 39 NORTH PLANK RD SUITE#1 NEWBURGH NY 12550
    LARRYS LIQUOR STORE 2563 MILITARY RD NIAGARA FALLS NY 14304
    THIRD STREET LIQUORS 455 3RD STREET NIAGARA FALLS NY 14301
    NORTHVILLE LIQUOR STORE 172 NORTH MAIN ST NORTHVILLE NY 12134
    VICS TAVERN 223 COUNTY HIGHWAY 152 NORTHVILLE NY 12134
    FIRE ISLAND LIQUOR STORE 633 BAYWALK, W FIRE ISLAND OCEAN BEACH NY 11770
    LIQUOR DEPOT 739 HIGHWAY 28 ONEONTA NY 13820
    QUENCH WINE & SPIRITS 90 W MAIN STREET PATCHOGUE NY 11772
    VACCARO S SPIRIT SHOP 124 MIDLAND AVE. PORT CHESTER NY 10573
    WINE GALLERY, THE 6 BOWMAN AVE PORT CHESTER NY 10573
    VILLAGE WINES AND LIQUORS 2A MAIN ST POTSDAM NY 13676
    SOUTHSIDE WINE & SPIRITS 202 HOOKER AVE POUGHKEEPSIE NY 12601
    PULASKI WINE & SPIRITS 3969 PORT ST PULASKI NY 13142
    MARGARETS WINE & LIQUOR 340 AVIATION ROAD QUEENSBURY NY 12804
    LIQUOR WAREHOUSE 1381 RIDGE RD E ROCHESTER NY 14621
    MARKETVIEW LIQUOR 1100 JEFFERSON RD ROCHESTER NY 14623
    MARSHALL STREET BAR & GRILL 81 MARSHALL STREET ROCHESTER NY 14607
    STUTSON WINE & SPIRITS 2308 CULVER RD ROCHESTER NY 14609
    BLACK RIVER WINE & SPIRITS 835 BLACK RIVER BLVD ROME NY 13440
    THE LIQUOR WAREHOUSE 5950 TABERG ROAD ROME NY 13440
    CRUSH & CASK 170 SOUTH BROADWAY SARATOGA SPRINGS NY 12866
    D’ANDREAS LIQUOR STORE 81 WEST AVE SARATOGA SPRINGS NY 12866
    JONES&50 WINE AND SPIRITS 4208 RT 50 SARATOGA SPRINGS NY 12866
    BOSCIAS LIQUOR DISC HOUSE 2710 BROADWAY SCHENECTADY NY 12306
    GUIDARELLI’S WINE & LIQUOR 1437 BROADWAY SCHENECTADY NY 12306
    REGULARS LIQUOR CABINET 443 SARATOGA ROAD SCOTIA NY 12302
    SCOTIA WINES & SPIRITS 221 MOHAWK AVENUE SCOTIA NY 12302
    BLACK PEARL INN 522 HGWY RT 20 SHARON SPRINGS NY 12459
    LIQUOR CABINET, THE 102 MAIN STREET SHARON SPRINGS NY 13459
    CORKYS WINES & SPIRITS 58 MAIN STREET SIDNEY NY 13838
    PRICE CHOPPER PLAZA 1365 NEW SCOTLAND RD SLINGERLANDS NY 12159
    GRAPES WINES & LIQUORS 193 NEW DORP LANE STATEN ISLAND NY 10306
    JIMMY’S WINES & LIQUORS 1387 HYLAND BLVD STATEN ISLAND NY 10308
    NEW DORP WINE & LIQUOR 2435 HYLAND BLVD STATEN ISLAND NY 10306
    PENTIMENTO RESTAURANT 93 MAIN STREET STONY BROOK NY 11790
    ALS WINE AND WHISKEY LOUNGE 321 S CLINTON ST SYRACUSE NY 13202
    DOLCE VITA 907 E. GENESEE STREET SYRACUSE NY 13210
    HALLINAN LIQUOR STORE 3550 W GENESEE ST SYRACUSE NY 13219
    PETER’S SKYTOP LIQUORS 608 NOTTINGHAM ROAD SYRACUSE NY 13224
    SHOP CITY WINES&LIQUORS 1802 TEALL AVE SYRACUSE NY 13206
    MARIO WINE & SPIRITS 264 NORTH GREENBUSH ROAD TROY NY 12180
    BOULEVARD WINE & SPIRITS 94 DEMARS BLVD TUPPER LAKE NY 12986
    RAY’S LIQUOR STORE 8 DEMARS BLVD TUPPER LAKE NY 12986
    COLISEUM LIQUORS 1196 HEMPSTEAD TPKE UNIONDALE NY 11553
    PARK PLAZA LIQUOR 12 PARK AVE WELLSVILLE NY 14895
    WHITE LAKE WINE & SPIRIT SHOP STATE RT 17B WHITE LAKE NY 12786
    PREMIUM WINE & SPIRITS 7980 TRANSIT ROAD WILLIAMSVILLE NY 14221
    SUBURBAN WINE & LIQUOR 379 DOWNING DRIVE YORKTOWN HEIGHTS NY 10598

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: