New Hampshire could get an official state spirit.
There’s a petition floating around asking New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu to make applejack the official state spirit and specifically, Tamworth Distilling’s “Old Hampshire Applejack” whiskey the state booze. Two other states have a state spirit. In Alabama, it’s Clyde May’s Conecuh Ridge Alabama Fine Whiskey which became the official state whiskey in 2004, and in Virginia, it’s George Washington’s Rye Whiskey. You can even go to his old distillery in Mount Vernon and get a taste.
Now, Tamworth Distilling and Mercantile founder Steven Grasse, the creator of Hendrick’s gin and Sailor Jerry rum, and his team have launched a campaign proposing Old Hampshire Applejack as the official New Hampshire state spirit.
Applejack is a good choice for New Hampshire’s official state spirit. In New Hampshire, they have plenty of cider and hard cider as well as vodka and brandy made from apples (at Flag Hill Distillery for example), but applejack has a long history there. Back in colonial days, the abundant apple crop could be distilled by “jacking,” basically freeze distilling. The hard cider or apple wine was left outside then the ice was taken off the top daily. What’s left is a concentrated alcohol. Grasse is well-versed in the history of colonial beverages and even wrote “Colonial Spirits: A Toast To Our Drunken History.”
At Tamworth Distilling, they start with 100 percent grown and pressed New Hampshire apples and ferment them with wine yeast. The cider is distilled twice in an alembic still, then finished with a two-year charred barrel aging process. So, it’s basically a distilled version of New Hampshire’s state drink, apple cider, and honors the state’s distilling history and local produce.
Says Steven Grasse, “I spent a great deal of my childhood in New Hampshire and it’s the source of some of my earliest and fondest memories. As a child, I was obsessed with New Hampshire apple cider, and at the end of a long day I’d be perched right next to my grandfather as he enjoyed his applejack whiskey. This memory became one of the driving forces in the development of Old Hampshire Applejack. I also have a predilection for American history, a passion I’ve had since I was young. The history of applejack whiskey was a substantial part of New Hampshire’s beverage history, and we wanted to pay homage to that at Tamworth Distilling, while helping to put a modern stamp on the story of applejack in Tamworth.”
In addition to this tasty Old Hampshire Applejack, Tamworth Distilling is making spirits sourced from local forests and fields — and even fauna — at their experimental lab, a division of Quaker City Mercantile. They’ve recently gotten quite a bit of attention for a new spirit, Eau de Musc, a whiskey which contains beaver castoreum. At their historic building in Tamworth, they create exciting spirits like Tamworth Garden Gin made with local botanicals and hops, and specialty gins like one made with spruce tips or a barrel reserve Flora gin made with wildflowers and aged in wheat whiskey barrels. Their Blue Lion Chicoree Liqueur is great for amari fans and I’m a big fan of their Skiklubben Aquavit and Sweet Lips Cherry Bounce, both limited edition spirits, the latter styled after an original recipe from Martha Washington. Find their spirits online at www.warehousewinesandspirits.com.
Here are a few recipes from Owen Wolfertz at Moxy Restaurant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, using some Tamworth Distilling spirits including the gin, Von Humboldt’s Tamarind Cordial, their White Mountain vodka and the Blue Lion Chicorée Liqueur.
1.5 oz. Tamworth Garden White Mountain Gin
.75 oz. Von Humboldt’s Tamarind Cordial
.5 oz. fresh lime juice
.5 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
3 shiso leaves
Muddle shiso leaves and simple syrup in bottom of cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into small coupe. Garnish with shiso leaves.
Von Humboldt’s Corpse
1 oz. Tamworth Garden White Mountain Gin
1 oz. Von Humboldt’s Turmeric Cordial
1 oz. Lillet Blanc
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into chilled glass rinsed with St George Absinthe.
Peanut Butter Affogato
2 oz. peanut butter fat-washed Tamworth White Mountain Vodka
1 oz. Tamworth Blue Lion Chicorée Liqueur
.5 oz. roasted peanut demerara syrup
1 oz. espresso
Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. May be served double strained straight up, or in a rocks glass over ice.
— Rachel Forrest is a former restaurant owner who lives in Austin, TX. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.