Booze Buzz: In Good Spirits

If ambience is the straw that stirs your drink, stick to wine, with stately barrel rooms and elegant table settings. Spirits don’t require such trappings. Case in point: the fledgling StilltheOne Distillery (Port Chester 914-217-0347), where artisanal vodka and gin are being concocted in a 2,100-square-foot warehouse.

About the size of half an elementary-school gym, StilltheOne represents a midlife shift for Ed Tiedge, who was a bond portfolio manager until 2008. His version of vodka is made from mead, or honey wine. Hence the name: COMB, as in honeycomb.

Whereas large distillers emphasize volume and speed, Tiedge focuses on the ingredients—small batches of freshly fermented wine. His orange-blossom honey is “imported” from Florida; the water is Port Chester, which Tiedge notes comes from an aquifer in the Berkshires, but he filters it for extra purity. A meticulous distillation yields extra-high-proof vodka, which then gets diluted back to 80 proof (40 percent alcohol). Sipped neat, COMB delivers vodka whose character retains the subtle taste of honey, buoyed by impressive viscosity. As a mixer, it works especially well in cocktails that call for fresh lemon juice.

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Tiedge is still tinkering with the gin recipe—essentially as a vodka base, augmented by botanicals. Flavorings for the gin will include variations on dried juniper berries as well as food-grade rose petals, and dried orange peel.

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