Capturing The “Spirit” Of New York In Apple Brandy

With apples’ myriad uses, making booze should definitely be high among them. That’s exactly what childhood friends Noah Braunstein and Yoni Rabino are proving at Neversink Spirits, located in a section of Port Chester that’s off the beaten path. Inside, they’re mashing, fermenting, distilling, and bottling apple brandy, their signature product.

These two self-proclaimed science geeks grew up making beers and ciders together in Mamaroneck. As their knowledge expanded in college, the combo of experimentation and scientific know-how led to an interest in liquor production. 

Why apples? “We wanted to create something that was uniquely New York,” Rabino said. “Apples grown in the soil here contribute to the flavor.” 

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Though the several different kinds of apples they use to make their brandy currently come exclusively from New York State orchards, that is expected to change in 2017, when their orchard in Kent, Connecticut, reaches maturity.

For now, the result of the partners’ labor is, after double distillation, a smooth, 40% ABV, 80-proof brandy with a back-end apple taste that’s ideal for sipping or as
a cocktail component. 

If you’re looking for their brandy, you can find it in 70-plus liquor stores (for around $30), as well as restaurants in Westchester and NYC. In 2016 they are unveiling bourbon with an apple-brandy barrel finish, and pear brandy made from Bartlett pears. Neversink is hoping to be open for tours and tastings by New Year 2016.

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