Catoctin Creek... True Craft, inspired by tradition.
There are a lot of craft whiskies on the market today, and you may ask, what's so special about Catoctin Creek? What makes us different? Scott Harris, our founder, explains:
Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye is an exceptional single barrel whisky, faithfully reproduced using 19th century methods, and accurately capturing what rye whisky tasted like from Virginia at that time. We start with fresh, local 100% rye grain. Why local? Because local grain is not only cleaner, giving a better taste with no harsh chemicals like pesticides, but it is also more historically accurate. The world didn't have industrial fungicides and pesticides in the 1800's.
This grain is mashed in small 300 gallon batches, and then fermented at room temperature—again for historical accuracy. In the "old days", they would not have had super efficient, glycol-chilled fermenters. True, the modern fermenters can squeeze every drop of alcohol out of a potent potable, but we're not looking for efficiency. We're looking for flavor and historical accuracy. Higher levels of alcohol in our mash would dilute the flavor of the native grain.
The next step is the distillation, and again, we use old-fashioned pot stills, and cook for over nine hours during the distillation. You can think of it in terms of a coffee analogy. Most American whisky made today is made on a column still, where you have steam in contact with the mash or wash for about 5 minutes, where the extraction of the flavor occurs—cogeners (that is, flavor molecules) are pulled out with the steam and captured in the condenser. This is like a drip coffee, where the hot water passes over the coffee grounds for a very short time. In a pot still, the grains cook in the pot with the alcoholic vapors for the entire batch distillation time, over nine hours. Therefore we get a lot more of the flavor compounds (cogeners) with each distillation, yielding a super-flavorful raw spirit. So, continuing that coffee analogy, this is like a french-press, where the grounds are steeping in the coffee during the entire brew time.
After distillation, we age in new Minnesota white oak barrels, which is the fourth step in making this gorgeous whisky. The Virginia climate is the big factor here, and in Virginia, we are blessed with hot summers, cold winters, and crazy fluctuations during spring and autumn—all of which drives that whisky in and out of the wood extracting amazing flavor from the barrel.
We bottle at either 80 or 92 proof, never chill filtering, so that we can preserve that delicious flavor, just as it was in the barrel.
At Catoctin Creek, we are PROUD TO BE OBSTINATELY INEFFICIENT!
We have some great events coming up in April. Join us for one of these!
- April 6 - Dinner at Magnolias - $90 gets you four courses and five cocktails at this always fun event! $90pp all inclusive
- April 14 - Dinner at the Distillery - Miss the dinner at Magnolia's? Join Scott & Becky at the distillery for this lovely four course dinner. $99pp
- April 22 - Bottling Workshop - This is our most popular event! Join us for breakfast, a free tasting, and a lot of fun! FREE
- April 29 - Cocktail Class at Catoctin - Learn how to craft some cocktails for this SlowFood DC event - $33pp
For the full list of events, check our events page.
Cocktail of the Month – Ric Flair
Last night, Becky and I had dinner and drinks at Dino's Grotto in Shaw in DC. Not only do they have amazing Italian food, but a cocktail menu that features tons of local distillers--like us! Ric Newton, head bartender there, has a cocktail he invented called the Ric Flair. It's a great drink, the woodsy flavor of the amaro and vermouth blends perfectly with the cherry liqueur and bouncy rye. Absolutely delicious! Be sure to ask for it with the Catoctin Creek rye!
1½ oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
½ Cherry Heering
½ Nardini Amaro
½ Cinzano sweet vermouth
Dash of aromatic bitters
Dash of orange bitters
Combine, stir, strain over fresh ice. Orange twist.
Courtesy Ric Newton, Dino's Grotto bar.
See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.
So Long For Now
As always, we thank you for your support as we continue to craft the finest spirits in Virginia. Please visit our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can stay up to date with the daily activities at the distillery. We are open every Tuesday through Sunday for tastings and bottle purchases, so stop by and see us sometime!
Scott & Becky