News

April Greetings from Catoctin Creek - All about barrel aging

Barrels at the warehouse

Happy April! 

All about barrel aging

No foolin' here.  Let's talk about barrels!

Whenever I give tours at the distillery, I always start with a little bit of history, then walk my way through production:  mashing, fermentation, distillation, etc.  We always end up standing in front of a tall stack of used barrels, which provides a nice backdrop for the discussion about barrel aging.  You see, unlike vodka or gin or other white spirits, whiskey is not whiskey until it has kissed the barrel!  There is an old saying that if you carry new-make spirit in a bucket (a wooden bucket, back in the day), by the time you reach the other side of the distillery, it has become whiskey.

In the United States, by federal law, all American whiskey must go into new, charred oak barrels.  The law doesn't specify how long it must stay in that barrel, but economics suggest that you want to get the most out of each barrel, especially if you're only allowed to use it once.  And when that barrel is emptied, legally, you cannot use it again for whiskey.  It's a strange law, and industry folklore points to the 1800's when the lumber lobby was seeing the coopers (barrel makers) using a lot of wood.  They passed a law that said that whiskey had to be placed into a new barrel each time, and that law is still on the books today.

What that law did, was set up a supply chain for what were otherwise still useful barrels.  Enter into the picture, Scotland.  Scotland is a country with different laws.  It is also a country with lots and lots of whisky, and no trees,  The British cut down almost all the old Scottish forests hundreds of years ago.  So, today, 90+% of all scotch is aged in re-used American whiskey casks.

When people come into the distillery, and I meet them on tours, inevitably, someone will ask me about our aging in comparison to scotch.  In this regard, and I speak as a deep lover of scotch whisky, the Scotch Industry (capital S, capital I) has done us an enormous disservice.  Since the beginning of the big single malt craze in the 80's and 90's, almost every bottle has boldly on it a numberits age: 10 year old, 12 year old, 18, 21, etc.  And as the lazy, simple creatures we are, everyone assumes that 10 must be good, but 12 must be better, and 18 better still, and 21 better than that!  But it's more complicated than that...

Barrel Aging GraphSee, when you age a spirit, you are making tradeoffs.  With a relatively short-aged product, you have a higher percentage of the taste of the original grain.  As the product ages, the grain flavor is absorbed by the char, and replaced by the flavors of the wood. If you draw it on a graph, it looks something like an "X", with the rising line being wood, and the diminishing line being the grain.  Somewhere around 3-5 years, the lines cross, and you get a balance of the new make grain flavors and the wood flavors.  What is not expressed in this graph is the effect of oxidization and more complex reactions that simply require time to soften and subtly change the spirit in nuanced ways.

So, where does this bring us?  Well, I like to use the analogy of a tea-bag.  A barrel, in many ways, is like a tea-bag.  When you make a cup of tea, you are pulling flavors and tannins out of the tea.  No different for barrels.  We pull out tannins, vanillins, lignins, complex wood sugars, and many more things too complex to mention here.  All those flavors of toasted nuts, caramel, and vanilla are actually white oak.  You are drinking a glass of oak.  And unless a distiller is using caramel coloring (We absolutely never do!), the color of the whisky is entirely from the barrel.  If you were to pull samples from the barrel every few months or so, you'd see a nice progression of color from clear (like vodka), to that of Sauvignon blanc, then Chardonnay, then light honey tones, then dark and amber honey tones, to a light maple syrup tone, to darker maple, and so on...  We like to pull our samples around 2-4 years, where we get a medium maple tone on the 80 proof rye.

In America, the average age of all American whiskey consumed is about 3 years old.  This astonishes most people, because in products like Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, they don't put the number on the label.   We've been trained by the Scotch Industry (again capital S, capital I), that all whiskey is about 12 years old or older.  In the US, most is not, and rarely has been.

So, back to my tea-bag analogy:  If, in America, we are required to use virgin casks, new wood each time; it's like that first-use tea-bag.  You get a deep rich flavor, and a deep rich color.  In Scotland, they use the re-used barrel, so it's like making a cup of tea from that 2nd or 3rd use tea-bag.  Yes, you can do it, but the tea takes much longer to steep, and it's not quite as dark and rich as that first cup was. Next, you factor in climate to the story, and you see that here in Virginia, as in Kentucky, we get 100°F (40°C) in the summer, and -10°F (-25°C) in the winter, and crazy spring and fall weather which is always fluctuating. This weather drives us nuts as humans, but the whisky loves it! It drives the whiskey in and out of the barrel like a sponge. And how about in Scotland? It is almost always about 75°F (30°C) and overcast. There just aren't as many weather extremes driving that whisky in an out of the wood like here in the U.S.A.

Take for example, an Islay whisky that I love:  Ardbeg 10 year old.  This is a wonderful smoky scotch whisky with no added coloring, but at 10 years old, it is yellow.  It looks like lemonade!  And yet, it's three times older than our whisky, which is dark brown.  That shows you the influence of the barrel and the weather on how it ages the spirit.  I'll also note that all those fresh grain flavors and phenolics (smoke) in the Ardbeg 10 begin to wane and are lost when you get into the Ardbeg 21 year old.  (Replaced by a stronger flavor of wood.) I personally prefer the 10 year old product over its older cousin.

So, drink your whisky, and enjoy what you like.  If you like old woody whisky, then by all means, drink away (responsibly).  But if you also like a whisky that is carefully produced and bottled as single barrel whisky so that you can taste both the wood and the freshness of the grain, then we might have a product or two for you!  But if you come into the distillery asking me why our whisky isn't older, or why it's not like scotch, I will tell you that American Whisky and Scotch Whisky are not alike.  They are apples, and oranges coconuts.

Sláinte and Cheers!

--Scott

  

Old Tom Gin Released in April

Old Tom GinOn Saturday, April 27 at noon, we will release this year's batch of Old Tom Gin. We took our regular, award-winning Watershed Gin, and set some aside for a time to rest in a re-used Pearousia pear brandy barrel and then added 10% sugar. The result is a golden, rich, and surprisingly fruity gin which gleams in those cocktails made for Old Tom gins, like the famous Ramos Gin Fizz or the Martinez. Rye Society™ members may contact us at 540-751-3294 to obtain their bottle anytime before the release date.

  

Catoctin Creek Wins Gold and Silver at San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Awards include Gold Medal for Braddock Oak Red Wine Finish Rye Whisky – available at Total Wine nationwide

Additional honor include a Silver medals for the Roundstone Rye 92 Proof "Distiller's Edition"

SFWSC 2019 Gold SFWSC 2019 Silver

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company has won two awards at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC), including a gold medal for the Braddock Oak Red Wine Finish Rye Whisky, a special release sold exclusively at Total Wine stores nationally. Catoctin Creek was also a silver medal for its Roundstone Rye 92 Proof "Distiller's Edition", which is a version of our popular Roundstone Rye single barrel whisky that has been hand selected from barrels that develop a spicier, richer profile. 

"We are honored to continue to be Virginia's most awarded distillery.  It is wonderful to be recognized by the judges at the world's most prestigious and recognized spirits competition,” says Catoctin’s co-founder and general manager Scott Harris. “Our team at Catoctin Creek continues to distill the best handcrafted Virginia whisky available today."

To read the full press release, click here.

 

Upcoming Events

Wow!  We have some great events in the coming months. Here is the full list of events planned at the distillery and in the area this month.  Many events are free, so be sure to join us for something fun:

  • April 8 - Last Dance Dinner - Enjoy the very last of Mosby's Spirit at this wonderful dinner at West End. $75/pp
  • April 11 - Yoga at the DistilleryCome share our beautiful, peaceful space for a Vinyasa Flow class. $20/pp
  • April 13 - Bottling Workshop - Come join us for a free, informative day bottling your own bottles of whisky! FREE to attend
  • April 29 - Sip + Craft - In collaboration with Finch Sewing Studio, we'll craft and cocktail. $45/pp
  • May 10 - Dinner at the Distillery - Join us for our spring dinner at the distillery. $99/pp

For the full list of events, check our events page.

 

Cocktail of the Month – Colonial Mint Julep

Colonial Mint Julep

The mint julep is perhaps the most iconic American cocktail, among a field of cocktails which are, by definition, American. The julep is the cocktail of the south, evoking images of horse-farms, warm summer breezes, and sipping cool beverages on a wide porch. The history of the julep dates back to the 1700s, when it was prescribed as a medicinal. This variant uses rye, not bourbon, and uses a brown sugar syrup, which to us has more flavor and is truer to the sugar that would have been found in colonial America.

[Part of the Art of the Cocktail series, season two.]

6 mint leaves, plus additional for garnish
½ oz brown sugar syrup
Crushed ice
2 oz Roundstone Rye

Muddle the mint in the bottom of the glass, add the syrup and whisky, stir, and add crushed ice and more garnish mint.

Recipe from Colonial Spirits by Stephen Grasse.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.

 

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on 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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

March Greetings from Catoctin Creek - Does Terroir Matter in Whisky?

Field of Rye
Photo from Getty Images and used under license.

Happy March! 

Does Terroir Matter?

There's been a lot of talk lately about what makes Virginia whisky special.  Factors such as the ingredient selection, fermentation characteristics, yeast selection, distiller's art, and barrel aging all undoubtedly have an impact on the final spirit, but this month, I want to focus on one topic in particular:  Terroir.

Let's start with the definition:

Terroir Defined

Roundstone RyeObviously, the term terroir comes to us from the wine industry. For ages, somms and vinophiles have been talking about terroir, sometimes ad nauseum. The basic concept is captured in the definition above: that a particular place, which includes its soil, climate, etc., has a definable taste on the wine produced. In other words, a Merlot made in Virginia will taste different from a Merlot made in France or Napa, even if all other factors are the same.

Until recently, this concept has never really applied to whisky. I've had discussions with Scottish distillers, who for decades simply looked at their grain as a means of creating sugar to ferment. They used what was locally available (barley) and it became the established norm for their region. Hypothetically, had they a larger surplus of sugar beets, potatoes, or corn, doubtless that the Scotch industry would have focused on those raw inputs instead (giving us rum, poteen, or bourbon instead). Little thought was paid to the role that barley gives to the flavor of the spirit, much less to where the individual barley farms were located. (Many of which, ironically, are in England!)

When we first started producing Roundstone Rye, many people would tell us, "Hey! This doesn't taste like rye whisky!" To which we would (somewhat defensively) reply, "What do you mean?! It's 100% rye. How can it not taste like RYE?"

We have since learned that what people were experiencing here was terroir.  Our grain tastes different because it comes from Virginia!  

When we distill Roundstone Rye, Becky starts with a mashbill of four different local grain sources—all of it rye.  She selects a percentage of Rappahannock rye, which gives a spicy, grassy flavor to the whisky, while our Amish country rye is sweet almost like wheat.  By mixing together these four different farms' ryes in her mashbill, she produces a flavor that is complex and multi-dimensional.  If you're accustomed to other ryes, most of which are from the American Mid-West, they have a grassy, dill, hempy quality that is absent in our rye.  Our rye is universally agreed to taste more fruity-nutty in its presentation with a crisp spicy finishwhat we attribute to the terroir of Virginia!

So, enjoy that glass of Roundstone Rye, and next time you sip, think about terroir, and see if you agree or disagree!  Comments welcome at our contact page.

 

 

Introducing the Rye Society™ – Our Retooled VIP Club

Catoctin MonogramWith the successful sales of the Rabble Rouser and 1757 XO brandy last month (both of which sold out in 40 minutes!), we've received renewed interest in our VIP Club, which we are now calling the Rye Society™. What is the Rye Society, you say? Read on...

The Rye Society is your chance to get in on the inside scoop at the distillery, and your chance to get your hands on those special releases without having to wait in line!

We don't want to make a profit on these memberships. We just want to get to know our most loyal customers one-to-one.  So we return back to you all kinds of benefits that allow you to easily recoup your membership costs. 

Here are the benefits of membership:

  • First access to new and limited release items - Items like Rabble Rouser, Roundstone Rye Cask Proof, Apple Brandy, and Barrel-Aged Gin, without standing in line!
  • VIP invitation to exclusive events at the distillery - Come experience rare behind-the-scenes tastings with Becky.  VIP members only!
  • $200 credit toward dinner for two at the distillery - Join us on one of our regular distillery dinners. You and your guest dine with us!
  • 20% off all distillery merchandise - Everything in our store, except alcohol (per ABC regulations)
  • 20% off all on-site events - concerts, parties, etc.
  • 20% off all distillery facility rental fees - Plan your next rehearsal dinner, corporate function or birthday party at our place! (A $240 value!)
  • Choice of membership hat or t-shirt
  • Free unlimited tours all year - For you and three guests.

To purchase a membership, just use the subscribe button below! Membership in the club is $300 per year.

Subscribe Now

The membership club that pays for itself!

 

Upcoming Events

Wow!  We have some great events in the coming months. Here is the full list of events planned at the distillery and in the area this month.  Many events are free, so be sure to join us for something fun:

  • March 9 - Bottling Workshop - Come join us for a free, informative day bottling your own bottles of whisky! FREE to attend
  • March 14 - Yoga at the DistilleryCome share our beautiful, peaceful space for a Vinyasa Flow class. $20/pp
  • March 23 - Ten Year Anniversary Party - Celebrate 10 years with us with music, drinks, food, and Q&A with Scott. $65/pp
  • March 28 - Sip and PaintCome and paint with us for this fun event! $45/pp
  • April 8 - Last Dance Dinner - Enjoy the very last of Mosby's Spirit at this wonderful dinner at West End. $75/pp
  • April 9 - Whisky Dinner at Monk's - Enjoy a hearty BBQ dinner with whisky pairings by Catoctin Creek.

For the full list of events, check our events page.

 

Cocktail of the Month – Banana Hammock

Banana Hammock

Jaclyn BeasleyThis cocktail was the winning cocktail from our recent Battle of the Bartenders, #RVA Edition! This inventive cocktail comes to us from Jaclyn Beasley, who is the general manager over at Brunch in Richmond. Jaclyn is recently relocated from the DC area and has moved down to Richmond to start making noise in the cocktail scene there. She is a proud member of the team over at Brunch, but wants to make her presence known and felt throughout Richmond. Keep a close eye on her because she is going to rise up quickly in the now thriving RVA cocktail scene! A champion who truly earned her spot.

2¼ oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
barspoon Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça
1 oz banana water*
¾ oz lemon juice
¼ oz vanilla syrup**
¼ oz 10 spice syrup***

Add all ingredients to shaker tin. Shake vigorously. Double strain cocktail into an old-fashioned glass, over ice. Garnish with dehydrated banana peel**** and edible flower.

*Banana Water:
2 bunches of bananas, in any stage of ripeness
Paper bag

Allow bananas to ripen until nearly black in color and very soft; they will begin to ooze. Peel skin (reserve) and mash the bananas with a potato masher. Add mash to a container and place in freezer for 24 hours. Once frozen, remove mash from freezer. Up-end container over another container and strainer to catch liquid, once it begins to thaw. Allow to strain for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

**Vanilla Syrup:
1 quart white sugar
1 quart water
1 cup light brown sugar
2 madagascar vanilla beans
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Split vanilla beans, scrape seeds from pod. Add seeds, pod and remaining ingredients to a pot. Stir sugar until melted. Allow to lightly simmer for 15 minutes. Strain solids from liquid. You may reserve the vanilla pods again and use to make vanilla sugar, if so desired.

***10 Spice Syrup:
2 pieces of cinnamon stick, broken
2 ea star anise
8 whole cloves
¼ cup white peppercorns
¼ cup Indian Sasafrass
1 quart white sugar
1 quart water
¼ cup Togarashi spice (can be found in Japanese market)

Toast until fragrant, in order of list, all spices, except for togarashi. Add water and sugar. Simmer all spices together for 15 minutes. Add Togarashi spice, simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Strain all solids.

****Dehydrated Banana:
Using the peels from the ripened bananas, trim into rectangles (approx 2"x3"), usually 4 pieces per banana. Place peels skin side down on sheet pan lined with bakers rack, if using oven; Set oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 4 hours. If using dehydrator, follow machine instructions.

Recipe courtesy Jaclyn Beasley, and used with permission.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.

 

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on 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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

February Greetings from Catoctin Creek - Celebrating 10 years!

Happy February! Catoctin Creek celebrates 10 years!

Harris Family Portrait

At Catoctin Creek, we've always been about family. Family comes first, even when Dad was a little fixated on "wiskey".

This drawing is from our dear son, Luke, now grown and in college. When in 2nd grade, he was tasked with drawing a family portrait: Mom, Eddie, Luke, Frank the pug, and even the various hamsters and pet rats are all present for the portrait, but center stage was Dad and his ridiculous whiskey obsession.

Luke's teacher at the time was somewhat reluctant to display this in her class until Becky assured her there was no family shame in our little "whiskey thing."

10 years later! What started as a family company, has only grown bigger today. And here we are in 2019...

Here's to 10, and many, many more! 

Cheers! 🥃 🥃 🥃

 

Celebrating Our Tenth Anniversary  

Happy drinkersOn March 23rd, we will host the "CatocTEN Creek's Southern Anniversary Soirée" from 7pm to 10pm at the distillery!  Join us for live music, food, drinks, and a special Q&A with owner and founder, Scott Harris.  We will dance and party all night and enjoy wonderful drinks made with our usual care for local ingredients and craftsmanship!  Don't miss it!  Click here.

 

 

Rabble Rouser - February 16th!

Rabble Rouser

We have begun seeing some of the sneak-preview reviews of our forthcoming Rabble Rouser Bottled In Bond Rye Whisky Release. Graham Averill, writing for Paste, gives us stunning marks on the new dram:

"Rabble Rouser doesn’t need any fancy stamp to be great, though. It just is. The 100% rye is aged for four years and bottled at 100 proof. It pours a deep mahogany and has an incredibly enticing nose full of cherries and toasted marshmallows. There’s nothing but rye in the bottle, so you’ve got plenty of spice to contend with, with notes of pepper and ash, but also a hell of a lot of caramel, like from the center of your favorite candy bar. There’s some stone fruit in there, maybe some figs and something nutty, like cashews. A layer of heat underscores all of it so you realize you’re drinking a relatively high-proof rye."

You can read the full review, here.  Look for the release in the tasting room on February 16 at noon!  Get there early, folks!  This one will sell out!

 

Also on February 16th - 1757 XO Brandy

1757 XO Brandy Bottled in BondOn the same day we release our Rabble Rouser, we will have a small number of bottles of our 1757 Bottled In Bond XO Brandy.  This is very special stuff, the oldest thing we've ever released to day.  The brandy is made from a 50-50 blend of Seyval blanc and Chambourcin grapes from Tarara Vineyards, distilled by us, and then aged in Bordeaux barrels for 8 years.  It is delicate and has the flavor of raisins, currants, bread pudding, and rich warm vanilla toffee.  We're really proud of this one, and it will not last either!  This will be a one time only release.  Remember:  February 16 at noon!

 

 

Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) with Scott Harris

A couple bourbon drinking groups on Reddit recently asked us to do an "Ask Me Anything" about what it takes to become a global brand. There were some really great questions, and they provide insight into the difficult job of creating and running a distillery.  Here is an excerpt of the questions, for your enjoyment:

Can you explain why you only make rye?

Great question. When we started this company, 10 years ago, we were digging into the history of whiskey in Virginia. As many know today, Virginia is the birthplace of American whiskey. Prior to the Revolutionary War, all landowning Americans (i.e. all free people) were Britons, and as a result of trade between the UK, the Caribbean, and the Colonies (that’s us), RUM was the #1 spirit of choice, and produced on an industrial scale.

However, after the Revolutionary War, the Brits got pissed off with us for having a war with them, and cut off the supply of sugar and rum. Americans had to turn inward for their spirit needs, and at that time, we had lots and lots of arable land, and lots of Scots-Irish immigrants. Serious efforts to produce rye whiskey took off. Rye was a grain that grew really well in the northern colonies (VA, MD, PA, NY and on up into Quebec), and could produce a couple crops per year. It didn’t take long for rye whiskey to take off as America’s first whiskey. Most people don’t know that George Washington, at Mount Vernon, was the largest commercial distiller in his lifetime, producing mostly rye whiskey.

Becky and I tested other grains, but fell in love with rye for this history, it’s taste, and the unique place it had in the marketplace when we started 10 years ago. (There was little rye on the market at that time.) So today, we want to do one thing (rye whiskey) and do it really, really well.

That’s why we make rye whiskey. (We spell it whisky, by the way, because of our own family’s Scottish history.)

What's the single biggest challenge you've had as you've grown?

Cash flow! Whisky is a cash intensive business. As you pay money for grain, barrels, etc., you lay down that whisky in the barn (our name for our aging warehouse), and it is literally money tied up for years. Managing that has been the biggest challenge of our lives. There were dark days where we had to dig into our own pockets (mine and Becky’s personal funds) to come up with money for payroll so our employees could get paid. That really drives home the commitment. You ask yourself, as owners, “Do we really REALLY want to do this?” For us, the answer has been, Yes, and we love what we do.

How has being in Purcellville and VA affected CC?

Purcellville is our home. We live in the town where we work. We are centrally located in the agricultural region of Loudoun County to include grain farms, cattle farms, and wineries. This has been beneficial for delivering spent mash to cattle farmers, getting grain from our farms for making rye, and working with wineries (and now breweries!) on special projects. We love this place, and everything we do is an homage to the geography, the history and the culture of the region. We want people to think as affectionately of “Virginia Whiskey” as they might “Kentucky Bourbon”.

Do the altitude and/or climate present aging/distilling issues?

Yes, absolutely. I’m not sure altitude matters much (we are at sea level essentially), but climate definitely does. First of all, we have super hot summers (near 100 deg F July through August), and super cold winters (10-22 deg F for some periods in January and February), and springs and falls that swing wildly back and forth. It is not uncommon to have one day when it is 77 deg F, and the next day might be 33 deg F. These swings in temperature change the barometric pressure and act to push and pull the whiskey in an out of the barrel like a sponge. That gives us great interaction with the wood during the aging cycle. A couple other points I’ll note: 1) This weather is very similar to Kentucky. 2) We have very high humidity, so on average, our proof DROPS in the barrel. The way I like to think of this is that in a humid environment, the air is “full of water”, so water can’t evaporate easily, but the alcohol does. In a dry climate (when we age indoors in the AC), the proof usually RISES.

The distillation is marginally affected by ambient temperature too. In the winter, the water in the Purcellville water tower is very cold. This means super fast and efficient cooling of the condenser on the still and the heat exchanger on the mash tank (we use tap water for these). In the summer, when the water is around 80 deg F, it takes longer.

How does being a smaller distillery affect the way you do experimentation?

I like to think we are freer to experiment. We don’t have large systems set up to make one product and one product only. So we can try an experimental grain run, play with our still settings (that’s how Rabble Rouser came to be), or collaborate with local breweries to product malt-based whiskeys, like the Dia de los Muertos we did with Adroit Theory a few years back.

If you want to try new grains, finishes, chars, etc., do you have to wait years to see the results? If you use a small batch as an experiment, doesn't it double the time before you get a small product to market?

Yes and no. When we try a new grain, we can tell from the new-make spirit pretty much how it’s going to end up. If the spirit is good, the end result will be good. With barrel finishes, it is more esoteric. There are periods where flavors can “go to sleep” in the barrel, only to blossom years later. We are constantly tasting barrels to find out when they are at their prime before bottling, and then everything we bottle is done as a SINGLE BARREL expression.

Have you found creative solutions or workarounds?

Like I said, for any experimental grain or fruit offering, we can tell if it will be good as new make, and that’s usually good enough to invest in the project. We usually test new farms’ grains in a single grain batch so we can get a measure of the new grain, and then that whiskey expression will be set aside for our Barrel Select program, since it will be a little different. Our Roundstone Rye is a mashbill of four different rye strains from four different farms, giving it a complexity of taste while still being 100% rye.

What trend do you see in whiskey that you hope ends soon and why?

People selling other people’s juice and not acknowledging it. It’s OK to sell that juice, but they should be honest about it and disclaim it.

Also, I’m chuffed that people can enjoy our liquor, but ask, “When will it be older?” Older is not always better. We purposefully produce a 2-4 year whiskey that is grain forward on purpose. If we were to age it older, it would lose the freshness of the grain and just be an oak-bomb. The whiskey we make was decided THE DAY IT WAS DISTILLED how old it would be. We distill it purposefully for that age, and if it is to be older, we distill it differently (like we do with Rabble Rouser). So, I’d like people to enjoy whiskey for its taste, and not be so hung up on meaningless variables like age.

Oh, yeah, and for people to stop being so crazy about Pappy. It’s great whiskey, but the mania in the market is nuts. There are other great wheated bourbons out there (Larceny, Weller, etc.), and I bet in a blind taste test, most people (myself included) couldn’t tell them apart. So why pay $1000 for a bottle?!

Why do you bottle your flagship product at 40% abv?

Honestly, we really like the flavor at 80 proof! Because it is 100% rye, and pot stilled for 9 hrs, we get a lot of richness in that 80 proof dram. It is buttery, fruity, nutty, with a hint of banana, and so, so smooth. We realize that the whiskey nerds out there (many of you may include yourselves in this category), scoff at 80 proof as “Kool-Aid” of whiskey. Fair enough. Which is why we introduced our 92 proof Distiller’s Edition, which came to address the whiskey-aficionado market. We hand select that whiskey from barrels that show a more spicy rye profile (think cloves, cinnamon, black pepper) at a higher proof.

There’s also the CASK PROOF, which is incredible and smooth and rich and just so damn good.

Despite that, our biggest seller BY FAR is the 80 proof, so that’s what the market demands, and that’s why we make it.

If you could start over tomorrow with a clean slate, what would you do differently?

Branding! We had no idea. People buy first with their eyes. We thought that if we just produced the best liquid out there, the label could almost be generic. We were so, so wrong. Branding is super important, and I would have addressed that right from the start.

Everything else, we feel we’ve done pretty well, so I’m really happy with where we are today.

If you are interested in the original full Reddits, with all the great questions that were asked, they are here and here

 

Upcoming Events

Wow!  We have some great events in the coming months. Here is the full list of events planned at the distillery and in the area this month.  Many events are free, so be sure to join us for something fun:

  • February 1 Art of the Cocktail - USA - whiskey, Martinez, Sazerac, Old Fashioned, and punch. $35/pp
  • February 8 Art of the Cocktail - Latin America - molasses, limes, agave, cacao, chiles, hibiscus, and coffee. $35/pp
  • February 15 - Valentine's Day Dinner - Join us for a delicious dinner in the distillery celebrating Valentine's Day.  $125/pp
  • February 16 - Rabble and 1757 Release Day - This is the big day! Come get them before they sell out!!  FREE TO ATTEND
  • February 25 - Battle of the RVA Bartenders - Join Richmond's coolest bartenders for a great cocktail competition. $20/pp
  • March 14 - Yoga at the DistilleryCome share our beautiful, peaceful space for a Vinyasa Flow class. $20/pp
  • March 23 - Ten Year Anniversary Party - Celebrate 10 years with us with music, drinks, food, and Q&A with Scott. $65/pp
  • March 28 - Sip and PaintCome and paint with us for this fun event! $45/pp

For the full list of events, check our events page.

 

Cocktail of the Month – Carpenter's Hand

Carpenter's Hand

Sultry and supple, this mix of brandy, sherry and honey-sweetened liqueur is delicious any time of year.

[Part of the Art of the Cocktail series, season two.]

2 oz. 1757 Virginia Brandy
1⁄2 oz. Amontillado sherry
1⁄2 oz. Drambuie or saffron honey syrup
Rocks glass, big rock
Orange peel

Shake ingredients together with ice in a shaker, and then strain over a big rock in a rocks glass.  Garnish with orange peel.

Recipe courtesy Chris Lane, Lolinda, San Francisco.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.

 

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on 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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Happy New Year from Catoctin Creek

Hooray! 2019 is here! Catoctin Creek celebrates 10 years!

Well, now that 2018 is over and behind us, we hope that 2019 will be prosperous and joyful for you! As we look back, we are grateful for the ability to do what we love, making Virginia's most awarded whisky, and grateful for you, our customers who enjoy what we take so much care to craft.  We have a lot of things in store for 2019.  For starters, on February 14, 2019, we celebrate our TENTH ANNIVERSARY!  We will have lots of fun events and special releases (including our coveted Rabble Rouser Bottled in Bond, and our 8 year old XO brandy - 1757 Bottled in Bond).  Stay tuned for more fun this year!

And from our family to yours...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  

Catoctin Creek Family 

 

Last Dance with Mosby's Spirit Dinner at West End

West End LogoJoin us for a "Last Dance with Mosby's Spirit" at the West End Bistro. In 2018, we discontinued our beloved moonshine, and West End has the last supply of Mosby's Spirit in the entire world. They're sharing it for a one time dinner event featuring infused Mosby's Spirit cocktails and food both uniquely designed to pair with each other.

FIRST COURSE
Foie Gras & Chicken Liver Mousseline - Fig Balsamic Gelee / Apple Scented Toast Points with Rosemary infused Mosby’s with fig simple syrup, balsamic vinegar and apple cider foam

SECOND COURSE
Fresh Sea Scallop Crudo - Habanero-Kumquat Emulsion / Lemon Mosto / Vanilla Salt with Vanilla infused Mosby’s with fresh grapefruit, agave and a coriander salted rim

THIRD COURSE
House-made Gin Herb Pastrami - Date Mostarda / Caraway Seed Sauerkraut / Rye Dust with Thyme + red wine glaze infused Mosby’s with an atomized beef jus, old vine Zinfandel and black pepper ice cube.

FOURTH COURSE
Mosby's Infused Poached Pear - Distiller's Grain Ice Cream / Mosby's Caramel with a trio of mini Mosby's dessert cocktails.

Reserve your spot now by calling the restaurant at 540-441-7896. Limited space is available!

 

The Art of the Cocktail - Back with a Journey through the World!

Our fourth year -- presented by Scott Harris, Founder of the Distillery 

Monkey Gland

Catoctin Creek is pleased to present, our FOURTH year of this multi-part educational series on the art of the cocktail. This year, we have all new content exploring various flavors from around the world.

Starting in January, Scott Harris, founder and distiller at Catoctin Creek, will appear in the tasting room every Friday for this five-week series. Beginning at 7pm, Scott will personally guide you through the construction of several cocktails, including the old classics, and modern takes on the cocktail! There will be samples for sharing, and you are encouraged to buy bottles to take home with you and practice. Lots of practice.

Here is the schedule of the series:

  • January 4 - Italy - vermouth, amari, digestivs, noccino, 'cellos.
  • January 11 - Iberia - flavors of Spain and Portugal, sherry, brandy, port, and saffron.
  • January 25 - France - vermouth, Amer Picon, brandy, many liqueurs and more.
  • February 1 - USA - whiskey, Martinez, Sazerac, Old Fashioned, and punch.
  • February 8 - Latin America - molasses, limes, agave, cacao, chiles, hibiscus, and coffee.

NOTICE ON SNOW DAYS: If we have to cancel a class because of weather, we will reschedule the date to February 22, March 1, etc. Your reservation will be honored for the snow date, or you may get a refund if you are unable to make the new date.

If you don't know anything about cocktails, you'll love this class. If you're already an expert, come and enjoy some casual conversation and a few drinks. The cost is $35 per person and includes drinks. Sign up for all six and receive two FREE Catoctin Creek rocks glasses and a FREE copy of The Architecture of the Cocktail.

Each session is $35 per person (VIP members 50% off), and includes four cocktails.

Book Now

Info This class will fill up, so reserve your spot now! Due to overwhelming demand and the intimate size of our tasting room, space is limited to the first 30 people responding.

Per ABC laws, cocktail samples will be limited to four pours with 0.5 oz of liquor in each pour. Certain mixer limitations will apply.

 

Celebrating Our Tenth Anniversary:  Rabble Rouser - Coming in February!

Rabble Rouser

We have begun seeing some of the sneak-preview reviews of our forthcoming Rabble Rouser Bottled In Bond Rye Whisky Release. Graham Averill, writing for Paste, gives us stunning marks on the new dram:

"Rabble Rouser doesn’t need any fancy stamp to be great, though. It just is. The 100% rye is aged for four years and bottled at 100 proof. It pours a deep mahogany and has an incredibly enticing nose full of cherries and toasted marshmallows. There’s nothing but rye in the bottle, so you’ve got plenty of spice to contend with, with notes of pepper and ash, but also a hell of a lot of caramel, like from the center of your favorite candy bar. There’s some stone fruit in there, maybe some figs and something nutty, like cashews. A layer of heat underscores all of it so you realize you’re drinking a relatively high-proof rye."

You can read the full review, here.

 

Upcoming Events

Wow!  We have some great events in the coming months. Here is the full list of events planned at the distillery and in the area this month.  Many events are free, so be sure to join us for something fun:

  • January 4 Art of the Cocktail - Italy - vermouth, amari, digestivs, noccino, 'cellos. $35/pp
  • January 11 Art of the Cocktail - Iberia - flavors of Spain and Portugal, sherry, brandy, port, and saffron. $35/pp
  • January 25 Art of the Cocktail - France - vermouth, Amer Picon, brandy, many liqueurs and more. $35/pp
  • January 28 - Mosby's Dinner - Join us at West End Bistro for a dinner featuring Mosby's Spirit cocktails. $75/pp
  • February 1 Art of the Cocktail - USA - whiskey, Martinez, Sazerac, Old Fashioned, and punch. $35/pp
  • February 8 Art of the Cocktail - Latin America - molasses, limes, agave, cacao, chiles, hibiscus, and coffee. $35/pp
  • February 25 - Battle of the RVA Bartenders - Join Richmond's coolest bartenders for a great cocktail competition. $20/pp

For the full list of events, check our events page.

 

Cocktail of the Month – French 120

French 120

This cocktail was one of our featured cocktails for a distillery dinner in 2018.

2 oz Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin
¾ oz Lemon Juice
¾ oz Butterfly Pea Tea & Basil Simple Syrup
Top with Cava
Garnish with Yellow Cherry Tomato & Purple Basil Leaf

Serve in Champagne flute.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.

 

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on 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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Seasons Greetings from Catoctin Creek

December is here! 

Happy Holidays to you all!  Christmas and Hanukkah are quickly approaching, and our thoughts turn to unwinding from the stress of our daily lives and spending more time with friends and family this month.  It is such a gift to be alive, and to be with the ones we love.  We at Catoctin Creek are particularly blessed to be doing what we love, and to have customers like yourselves who enjoy our craft.  

So, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and may there be Peace on Earth in our lifetime!

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!  

Photo credit: @justinccdc 

 

Gift Items This Holiday Season

Stop by our tasting room this holiday season and pick up one of our exciting gift items for the holiday.  Spirits are the perfect gift for those fussy relatives who already have everything!  Give them something local, hand-crafted, and totally unique this year!

We have gift packs of our flagship products:  Roundstone Rye, Watershed Gin, and a Glencairn glass in cute little 200 mL bottles, all displayed in a handsome custom gift box.  We also have hand-wrapped gift baskets with your choice of spirits, glassware, and bar accessories like bitters and cocktail books.  We'll gladly make you a custom basket while you wait.  Finally, if you just can't decide, you can pick up a gift card for any amount at our store (or call us, we'll mail it to you).

There's pretty much something for anyone on your list!  Stop by soon and see for yourself!

Gift Ideas from Catoctin Creek

 

Celebrating Our Tenth Anniversary:  Rabble Rouser - Coming in February!

Rabble Rouser

We have begun seeing some of the sneak-preview reviews of our forthcoming Rabble Rouser Bottled In Bond Rye Whisky Release. Graham Averill, writing for Paste, gives us stunning marks on the new dram:

"Rabble Rouser doesn’t need any fancy stamp to be great, though. It just is. The 100% rye is aged for four years and bottled at 100 proof. It pours a deep mahogany and has an incredibly enticing nose full of cherries and toasted marshmallows. There’s nothing but rye in the bottle, so you’ve got plenty of spice to contend with, with notes of pepper and ash, but also a hell of a lot of caramel, like from the center of your favorite candy bar. There’s some stone fruit in there, maybe some figs and something nutty, like cashews. A layer of heat underscores all of it so you realize you’re drinking a relatively high-proof rye."

You can read the full review, here.

 

 

The Art of the Cocktail - Back with a Journey through the World!

Our fourth year -- presented by Scott Harris, Founder of the Distillery 

Monkey Gland

Catoctin Creek is pleased to present, our FOURTH year of this multi-part educational series on the art of the cocktail. This year, we have all new content exploring various flavors from around the world.

Starting in January, Scott Harris, founder and distiller at Catoctin Creek, will appear in the tasting room every Friday for this five-week series. Beginning at 7pm, Scott will personally guide you through the construction of several cocktails, including the old classics, and modern takes on the cocktail! There will be samples for sharing, and you are encouraged to buy bottles to take home with you and practice. Lots of practice.

Here is the schedule of the series:

  • January 4 - Italy - vermouth, amari, digestivs, noccino, 'cellos.
  • January 11 - Iberia - flavors of Spain and Portugal, sherry, brandy, port, and saffron.
  • January 25 - France - vermouth, Amer Picon, brandy, many liqueurs and more.
  • February 1 - USA - whiskey, Martinez, Sazerac, Old Fashioned, and punch.
  • February 8 - Latin America - molasses, limes, agave, cacao, chiles, hibiscus, and coffee.

NOTICE ON SNOW DAYS: If we have to cancel a class because of weather, we will reschedule the date to February 22, March 1, etc. Your reservation will be honored for the snow date, or you may get a refund if you are unable to make the new date.

If you don't know anything about cocktails, you'll love this class. If you're already an expert, come and enjoy some casual conversation and a few drinks. The cost is $35 per person and includes drinks. Sign up for all six and receive two FREE Catoctin Creek rocks glasses and a FREE copy of The Architecture of the Cocktail.

Each session is $35 per person (VIP members 50% off), and includes four cocktails.

Book Now

Info This class will fill up, so reserve your spot now! Due to overwhelming demand and the intimate size of our tasting room, space is limited to the first 30 people responding.

Per ABC laws, cocktail samples will be limited to four pours with 0.5 oz of liquor in each pour. Certain mixer limitations will apply.

White Manhattan

 

Our Final Dinner of the Year - A Holiday Feast!

Dinner at Catoctin Creek!Dinner will be a four-course affair, using seasonal produce and local suppliers, prepared by Chefs Wes Rosati and Maria Aros of The Wandering Chef.  This month's menu will highlight a holiday theme.  

Enjoy a private tour of the distillery from owners, Scott and Becky Harris. Becky will guide you through the process of making whisky, and Scott will describe for you the wonderful history of our "new" building, which is nearly 100 years old.

Oh, and did I say cocktails? Yes, Scott & Becky Harris will personally craft cocktails expertly paired with your dinner! This will be a magical evening, and one not to miss!!

Dinner is priced at $99, and includes all four courses and cocktails.  Reserve your space now, while there is still space available!  Click here for more details. 

 

Upcoming Events

Wow!  We have some great events in the coming months. Here is the full list of events planned at the distillery and in the area this month.  Many events are free, so be sure to join us for something fun:

  • December 7 - NIGHTCAP with Kara Newman - Join us for a book signing and cocktail drinking event! $40/pp
  • December 14 - Dinner at the Distillery - Fine dining at the distillery.  Join Scott and Becky for a four-course dinner with cocktail pairings $99/pp
  • December 15 - Bottling Workshop - Always free to public, and a fun morning of breakfast, bottling and tastings!  FREE!
  • December 25 - CHRISTMAS DAY - We will be CLOSED.
  • December 31 - Whimsy and Wonder New Years Eve - A burlesque performance, cocktails, and then dinner at Magnolia's. $75/pp or $150/pp (w/ dinner)
  • January 1 - NEW YEARS DAY - We will be CLOSED.
  • January 4 - February 8 - Art of the Cocktail - Join Scott for an informative and fun class celebrating flavors of the world! $35/pp

For the full list of events, check our events page.

 

Cocktail of the Month – Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood

This one comes to us from our friends at Element Shrub:

Keep the big bad wolves away with this shrub and bitters twist on a Boulevardier, another one of our cocktail collaborations with @dcembitterment.

1½ oz Roundstone Rye whisky
1 oz Campari
½ oz Blueberry Rosemary Element Shrub
Several dashes of DC Embitterment orange bitters

Add all ingredients of a shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass. Top with bitters.

Recipe and photo courtesy Charlie Berkinshaw of Element Shrub, and used with permission.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.

 

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on 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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

November News & Events from Catoctin Creek

Becky & Scott

Catoctin Creek Distillery: ‘A Strategic Investor is More Than Just Money’ 

This article is a reprint of one that recently appeared in the Loudoun Virginia Economic Development website by Brian Tinsman, which sources information from Jake Emen's article in Distiller.

Very few entrepreneurs start a small business without dreams of growing larger. Even fewer take the financial risk of starting a business without hopes of future outside investment.

That was the case for Loudoun County’s Catoctin Creek Distillery, privately owned by Scott and Becky Harris, which accepted a minority stake investment from Constellation Brands in January of 2017. The couple used the capital to grow production at their Purcellville facility, increase marketing and create new jobs.

Prior to making that decision, they spent more than a year looking for the right investment partner, negotiating with more than a dozen potential investors.

“Gaining investment has been our plan from the beginning…[but] a strategic venture investor is more than just money,” Scott Harris told the American Distilling Institute. “The company is our baby, and we did not intend to give our baby away or lose control.

“Constellation is a big player in the liquor business, so they have been critically important in helping us find and choose the right distributors, manage our decision-making process and as a check and balance on our books to make sure everything is correctly managed. We welcome the help and oversight.”

The investment has already allowed Catoctin Creek to build a new warehouse and expand distribution from 10 to 25 states. Harris acknowledged the challenge of working through expectations and reporting financial figures to an outside entity. However, he added that the process has been better than he expected.

It’s a remarkable journey for the Loudoun entrepreneurs, who started during the heart of the recession in 2009, with funding from personal finances, an SBA loan, and help from neighbors and friends in the community.

“When Becky and I first started the company, we bootstrapped with our own life savings and used our personal finances as equity,” he said. “That creates a very stressful situation because if you fail, you lose everything.”

The Harrises have done just the opposite. Now sold in 26 U.S. states and in Europe and Asia, Catoctin Creek has won the most awards of any whiskey made in Virginia. After the addition of an investment partner, Catoctin Creek Distillery is poised for even greater success well into the future.

 

Three AWESOME Events in November!

We have three awesome events coming up, and more in December.  Check them all out on our web page at the Events tab.

Bottling Workshop

Bottling Workshop

Have you ever bottled with us before?  Here are some of the reviews from TripAdvisor:

Melanie F. says: Great, Great, Great experience! Brandon, Scott and Becky were wonderful, helpful, and educating to work with! My husband and I were visiting the area for the weekend, and his love of whiskeys made me sign us up for this workshop! Even if the workshop is unavailable, i highly recommend a visit to the distillery! Thanks again [for] the awesome experience!

Vesna C. says: I learned so much at this bottling workshop. For example, I didn't know that rye whiskey started out in Virginia (and not in Kentucky, as most tend to believe)! It was fascinating to learn about how spirits are produced at Catoctin from start to finish. I bottled my own rye to take home and look forward to popping it open fireside with friends this fall. I enjoyed meeting Scott & Becky - they've perfected the craft and have created an impressive brand. We savored our tastings in a warm and friendly atmosphere in the heart of charming Purcellville. I highly recommend a visit!

TNmilt says: Why did I wait so long to do this? My officemate has been telling me how great a trip to Catoctin Creek Distillery would be. Last Saturday I finally went. It was a wonderful, memorable experience. I learned a lot, and I had some epic tastes. Next, I'm going to go back and take the bottling workshop. These folks are making a premium product, and they are happy to tell you how they get it to be so good.

Rebekah W. says: My husband and I had never done an event like the bottling workshop before, but it was so much fun! We learned so much about the [process] of making whiskey and then got to try our hand at bottling. You can really feel the passion the owners and workers have for the product they make and you can't help but get pulled into it while you're there. We've been telling all of our friends about it and would definitely recommend to others!

Which is to say, you should join us at this FREE event!!  Learn more, here, or RSVP NOW

 

Jim Malcolm, Scottish Troubadour

Jim MalcolmWe are delighted for the third visit from Jim Malcolm to Catoctin Creek! 

Jim Malcolm is the ultimate Scots troubadour. Travelling the world with his guitar, harmonicas, and engaging wit, he sings the traditional songs of Scotland and his own masterfully crafted songs in a style which is modern and accessible, yet utterly authentic. He is highly regarded as an interpreter of the songs of Robert Burns, and has been described as “one of the finest singers in Scotland in any style”.

Tickets are on sale now and going fast.  Learn more, here, or BUY NOW!

 

 

Nightcap with Kara Newman!

Kara NewmanCatoctin Creek is DELIGHTED to host spirits writer and cocktail enthusiast, Kara Newman, for an event celebrating the release of her new cocktail book, Nightcap

A nightcap is the perfect way to end the night, and author Kara Newman knows just how to make them. This gifty, foil-accented book contains more than 40 cocktail recipes—some to keep the night going, some that will help ease you to sleep, some that can double as dessert, and some that can soothe the stomach after a hearty meal. There are classics like the sweet and creamy Brandy Alexander, new takes on old favorites like the Black Manhattan, which swaps an aperitif for the classic vermouth, and simple new ideas like the Open & Shut, which combines equal parts amaro and cognac for a slow sipper. Whatever kind of night it’s been, Nightcap is the perfect way to top it off.

About Ms. Newman:

Kara Newman is the Spirits Editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine. She's also the author of several books, including Shake.Stir.Sip., Road Soda, and most recently NIGHTCAP: More Than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening

Your ticket to the event includes three cocktails from the book, plus a signed copy of Nightcap by the author! During the event, Ms. Newman will be available for friendly discussion and any questions about the book.  Extra copies of the book will be available at the distillery for sale. 

Tickets are on sale now.  Learn more, here, or BUY NOW!

  

Cocktail of the Month – Linda's Autumn Punch

Autumn Punch

Tis the season for autumn flavors!  Nothing goes with falling leaves and cooler breezes than crisp apple cider, fall spices and rye whisky!  Here is a punch that you can enjoy, cold or hot!

3 cups Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup ginger-cinnamon syrup*
6 cups fresh apple cider

*To make the ginger-cinnamon syrup:
1/2 lb fresh ginger root
5 cinnamon sticks
2 cups water
granulated cane sugar

Thinly slice ginger root (no need to peel!) and boil with cinnamon sticks in water for 45 minutes. Strain, and add 1/3 volume of granulated sugar to remaining hot liquid. Example: if after straining, you are left with 1.5 cups ginger-cinnamon liquid, add 1/2 cup sugar.

Recipe courtesy Linda Jockers.

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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

October is Whisky Season at Catoctin Creek

Meet Becky Harris, Catoctin Creek Co-Founder and Chief Distiller

We are so proud of Becky!  She was profiled in Southern Kitchen magazine.  In the article, it talks about how Becky found herself in the whisky business, what it's like to be a woman in a male-dominated field, and advice she gives to other women who wish to learn more about whisky.   

Ryan Hughley, the author of the article, writes:

So if you find yourself interested in whiskey, but you’re not a fan of its strong flavor, what’s a girl to do?

Harris recommends starting out with something easy like a whiskey ginger or a good whiskey sour. They are easy, approachable cocktails for those looking to give whiskey a shot (pun intended). Another tip, according to Harris? “If you’re not a spirits drinker, learn to taste spirits neat," she said. "It’s not something most people are comfortable with in the beginning because it’s too strong. The first sip is to acclimate your plate.”

You can read the full story, here.

 

Cask Proof "Maple Cask" is Released!

Catoctin Creek Cask ProofFor the month of October, we're releasing a small amount of the ever-popular Roundstone Rye Cask Proof "Maple Cask" to the tasting room for sale!  This is our highest rated spirit, winning a Double-Gold from the San Francisco competition, as well as five stars from Paul Pacult, the famed spirits writer of The Spirit Journal from New York City. 

This expression of the rye whisky is smooth and rich, but not sweet or sugary.  (People sometimes think it should be because of the maple syrup influence.) 

Come and get it before it's all sold out!

And if you're in one of our other distribution states, check with your distributor to see if you can get some of this highly allocated product.  

 

 

Two great podcasts this month

Modern Bar Cart Podcast - The Battle of the Bartenders

Battle of the Bartenders

We had a lovely event last month, The Battle of the Bartenders, where some of Loudoun County's top mixologists came together to sling cocktails and compete to see who had the best drinks.  Proceeds went to support CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees), who support those in our industry in need.  It was a great wild evening, and definitely for a great cause.

Eric Kozlik reviewed the evening in his Modern Bar Cart podcast. You can listen to the full episode, here, or go over to his site and subscribe, here.

Scott Harris on Uncapped Podcast

Scott Harris on the Uncapped Podcast

Our founder, Scott Harris, headed up to Frederick this week to chat with the guys at the Uncapped podcast.  After nearly ten years in business, Scott reflects on how they got started, the financial, competitive, and legal environments then and now, and reviews some of the recent awards from the New York competition.

You can listen to the podcast, here, or head over to their site and subscribe, here.

 

Double Gold and Silver Medals this month from New York!

NYWWSC 2018 Double Gold NYWWSC 2018 Silver NYWWSC 2018 Silver NYWWSC 2018 Silver

We are thrilled this month to have received four medals from the New York World Wine and Spirits Competition for our national lineup of products, the Roundstone Rye 80 proof (DOUBLE GOLD!), the Roundstone Rye 92 proof "Distiller's Edition" (Silver), the Roundstone Rye Cask Proof (Silver), and the Watershed Gin (Silver).

This contest is one of the most respected spirits competitions, undoubtedly because each spirit is judged blindly by industry experts. That means that all biases are removed, and the quality of the liquid is the only factor considered in the judging.

We're very pleased to receive this recognition!  Catoctin Creek is Virginia's most awarded distillery!  Check out our awards, here.

  

Bottling Workshop

FREE Bottling Workshop on October 13

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will conduct a BOTTLING DAY one Saturday each month at 10:00am. Volunteers wanted. We'll buy breakfast for all that attend.  This is always such a fun workshop, and you get a special tour from Scott and Becky Harris, recently named by Southern Living as one of the top 50 people in changing the South in 2015!

Learn how to bottle, cap, seal, and label Roundstone Rye. Get your chance to work the magic "whisky cow"! Or maybe you'd like to try your hands at operating "Ninette", our fancy French labeling machine!

This is a fun and informative day! We'll start the morning off with breakfast and a tour from the owners, Scott and Becky, explaining how we make our hand-crafted spirits, then for about 60 minutes, we bottle whisky, and wrap up the morning with a tasting of our spirits!  How cool is that?

You can even purchase a signed bottle that you filled yourself... what a perfect gift idea!

Info Please RSVP so that we can plan accordingly. Use the link below to reserve your spot.

Reserve Your Spot

  

Cocktail of the Month – Peach's Cup

Peach's Cup

This cocktail was one of our featured cocktails for the distillery dinner in August.

1 oz Short Hill Mountain Peach Brandy
1 oz El Guapo Rose Cordial
1 oz Lemon Juice
3 drops of Frontier (Sarsaparilla) Bitters
Top with Club Soda
Garnish with Mint Sprig

Serve in a Nick and Nora glass.

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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

September is Virginia Spirits Month at Catoctin Creek!

Catoctin Creek Portfolio

Virginia Spirits Month 2018Virginia Spirits Month — It's 5 o'clock for 30 days!

September is Virginia Spirits Month!  There are so many awesome events happening this month, we can hardly keep track!  Honestly, we're doing something almost every other night this month!  So please come on out to one or two of these events and join us for some excellent libations and arousing company.  From a FREE bottling workshop, to the Battle of the Bartenders, to some great cocktail dinners and happy hours where you can meet the team!  Join us in September as we celebrate the birthplace of American whiskey -- VIRGINIA!

Catoctin Monogram®

 

Bottling Workshop

FREE Bottling Workshop on September 15

It's been a while since we've had one (summer was so very busy for us!).  So it's back!!

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will conduct a BOTTLING DAY one Saturday each month at 10:00am. Volunteers wanted. We'll buy breakfast for all that attend.  This is always such a fun workshop, and you get a special tour from Scott and Becky Harris, recently named by Southern Living as one of the top 50 people in changing the South in 2015!

Learn how to bottle, cap, seal, and label Roundstone Rye. Get your chance to work the magic "whisky cow"! Or maybe you'd like to try your hands at operating "Ninette", our fancy French labeling machine!

This is a fun and informative day! We'll start the morning off with breakfast and a tour from the owners, Scott and Becky, explaining how we make our hand-crafted spirits, then for about 60 minutes, we bottle whisky, and wrap up the morning with a tasting of our spirits!  How cool is that?

You can even purchase a signed bottle that you filled yourself... what a perfect gift idea!

Info Please RSVP so that we can plan accordingly. Use the link below to reserve your spot.

Reserve Your Spot

 

Cask Proof "1757 Brandy Finish" is Released!

Catoctin Creek Cask ProofFor the month of September, we're releasing very small amounts of Roundstone Rye Cask Proof "1757 Brandy Finish" to the tasting room for sale!  This is our highest rated spirit, winning a Double-Gold from the San Francisco competition, as well as five stars from Paul Pacult, the famed spirits writer of The Spirit Journal from New York City.  Simply put, this is one of the best that we make!  Smooth, luxurious, and oh, so sippable at 58% ABV (116 PROOF!).  The flavor just goes on and on and on. 

Come and get it before it's all sold out!

And if you're in one of our other distribution states, check with your distributor to see if you can get some of this highly allocated product.  

 

Events! Events! So many events!!

Events at Catoctin CreekThere are SO SO many things going on this month, that we hope you will join us for an event or two!  Many of these will sell out quickly, so please jump on these NOW to ensure your space!  You can also view the full list, with much more descriptive info for each event, at our Events Page.  

  • Sep 5 - Whisky Wednesday at the Whisky Jar - Charlottesville, VA - RSVP NOW
  • Sep 8 - Virginia Spirits Month at Belle Grove - King George, VA - BOOK NOW
  • Sep 10 - Industry Day at Catoctin Creek - Purcellville, VA - RSVP NOW
  • Sep 11 - Catoctin Creek Pop Up at Barrel and Bushel - Tyson's, VA - RSVP NOW
  • Sep 12 - Captain Gregory and Catoctin Creek Night - Alexandria, VA - BOOK NOW
  • Sep 15 - FREE Bottling Workshop - Purcellville, VA - RSVP NOW
  • Sep 15 - Virginia Cider (and brandy!) Festival - Fredericksburg, VA - BOOK NOW
  • Sep 15 - Commonwealth Coastal Classic - Norfolk, VA - BOOK NOW
  • Sep 15 - Whiskey Dinner at Aldie Mill - Aldie, VA - BOOK NOW
  • Sep 17 - Battle of the Bartenders - Purcellville, VA - BOOK NOW
  • Sep 20 - Virginia Spirits Month at BRINE - Fairfax, VA - RSVP NOW
  • Sep 25 - Taste of Virginia at Majestic - Alexandria, VA - RSVP NOW
  • Sep 26 - Catoctin Creek Night at DC Prime - Ashburn, VA - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Sep 26 - Bar Takeover at Brabo - Alexandria, VA - RSVP NOW
  • Sep 27 - Dinner with Becky at Snifters - Cambridge, MD - BOOK NOW
  • Sep 29 - Manassas Steins, Wines & Spirits Festival - Manassas, VA - BOOK NOW

 

Catoctin Roundel®

 

 

Cocktail of the Month – Boulevarier Spritz

Boulevardier spritz

I love Boulevariers, and I love spritzes, so when this one came across my Instagram feed, I sat up and took notice! What a refreshing take on a couple classics! This one is courtesy @adamdstein on Instagram.

1½ oz Roundstone Rye
1 oz Campari
San Pellegrino Limonata, to top.

Fill a rocks glass with ice, add the rye and Campari, stir, and top with San Pellegrino Limonata soda. Garnish with a lime. Enjoy!

Recipe and photo courtesy Adam D. Stein, and used with permission.

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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Dinner at the Distillery and Battle of the Bartenders - Our August News

Welcome to Catoctin Creek!

Summer is in full swing, but gosh, before you know it, fall will be here!  Kids are getting ready to go back to school, and before you know it, the leaves will be changing! Hot or cold, rainy or dry, there's always something fun at Catoctin Creek!  We've got some great events lined up for late summer and fall... check them out below! 

 

Dinner at the DistilleryDinner at the Distillery

Dinner will be a four-course affair, using seasonal produce and local suppliers, prepared by Chefs Wes Rosati and Maria Aros of The Wandering Chef. Enjoy a private tour of the distillery from owners, Scott and Becky Harris. Scott & Becky Harris will also personally craft cocktails expertly paired with your dinner! This will be a magical evening, and one not to miss!! Dinner is priced at $99, and includes all four courses and cocktails.

Book Now | Read More

 

CCDC MonogramBattle of the Bartenders!

One night only! Local bartenders will compete for the title of Loudoun's BEST bartender. You'll get to sample each cocktail, and vote on the winner! Including food from Monk's BBQ. Book now because space is limited.

Book Now | Read More

 

Catoctin Roundel®

 

 

Cocktail of the Month – Peach Smash

Peach Smash

Nothing says summer in the south quite like peaches. The juicy ripe fruit, dripping with sweetness, just begs to be in a cocktail!

This one comes to us from Instagram personality @jonpenndorf.

1½ oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
1 peach slice, muddled
½ oz thyme simple syrup
1-2 dashes Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters

Muddle the peach in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, add ice, and other ingredients. Shake and strain over ice in a rocks glass.

Recipe and photo courtesy Jon Penndorf via Instagram.

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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Catoctin Creek in the Summertime - Our July Newsletter

Summer Cocktail Flight

Summertime is cool with Catoctin Creek.

Now that the heat of summer is here, don't forget about those lovely summertime cocktails!  Citrus and fruit are abundant, and make delicious chill mixers with Catoctin Creek whisky and gin.  In July, we roll out a new cocktail menu featuring some classics as well.  A recent change in the ABC law means that you'll be seeing more creativity and variety in our cocktail offerings in the tasting room!  If you haven't been in a while, this is a great time to stop by and check it out!

 

Scott Harris in the press regarding trade tariffs

Scott Harris, Founder of Catoctin CreekBecause we're one of the few American craft distillers that already exports to Europe, we found ourselves in the position of explaining how the current trade tariffs have made American whiskey and unintended victim of the mounting trade war.  Regardless of what side of the aisle you're on (we consider ourselves firmly independent!), a 25% rise in our prices in Europe is bad for business.  We've been working hard to meet with the administration—we had a meeting with Dept. of Commerce Secretary Ross just last week—to explain our positions and encourage all sides of the trade battle to get to the table and begin negotiations in earnest.  Let's bring this nascent trade war to an end before it begins.

If you're interested in the topic, here is a roundup of the news we've seen so far:

 Photo courtesy New York Times and used with permission.

Catoctin Roundel®

 

Cool events this month!

There are some amazing events planned for summertime!  Check out the full list here. Be sure to join us for all the fun!    

Shake, Bake and Boil with Magnolia'sShake, Bake and Boil with Magnolia's

July 14, 1:00pm - 4:00pm. Summertime means seafood, so we're doing our second seafood boil with Magnolia's at the Mill! Great local vendors like War Shore Oyster Company and Winchester Brew Works are teaming up with Chef Erik at Magnolia's and Catoctin Creek to do a good ol' fashioned crab and seafood boil! Guests will arrive at Catoctin Creek Distillery for a tour and welcome cocktail at 1:00pm. Then we will stroll down 21st Street to Magnolia's patio space by 2:00pm for the seafood boil and festivities. Space is extremely limited, so reserve your ticket now!

Book Now

 

Wine KitchenCatoctin Creek at the Wine Kitchen

July 16, 7:00pm. Join Catoctin Creek at the Wine Kitchen in downtown Leesburg for another wonderful spirits pairing dinner. We'll have delicious fare pared with cocktails from our spirits, while our founder, Becky Harris, will describe the journey of starting the distillery, making spirits from scratch, and how to pair cocktails with meals.

The Wine Kitchen in Leesburg is a beautiful location off South King Street, so do be sure to come out and join us! Telephone the restaurant for reservations at (703) 777-9463.

Book Now | Menu

  

Hamilton EventA Vintage Evening:  Toast Hamilton

July 19, 6:00pm. Toast Alexander Hamilton at this Vintage Evening inspired by the original bartender’s bill from a meeting of the New York State Society of the Cincinnati in 1789. Learn about the spirits served to Hamilton and his fellow Society members, and enjoy brandy tastings offered by Catoctin Creek Distilling Company. Executive Director Jack Warren and George Washington University professor Denver Brunsman will highlight truths and lies about Alexander Hamilton in a brief but lively presentation.

$25 per person; $20 Society members and Associates. Reservations required.

Read More

  

Dinner at the DistilleryDinner at the Distillery

August 17, 7:00pm. Dinner will be a four-course affair, using seasonal produce and local suppliers, prepared by Chefs Wes Rosati and Maria Aros of The Wandering Chef. Enjoy a private tour of the distillery from owners, Scott and Becky Harris. Scott & Becky Harris will also personally craft cocktails expertly paired with your dinner! This will be a magical evening, and one not to miss!! Dinner is priced at $99, and includes all four courses and cocktails.

Book Now | Read More

  

 

Cocktail of the Month – Almost Red Lips Rye

Almost Red Lips Rye

This cocktail was inspired by the "Red Lips Rye" cocktail currently featured in the cocktail book at the Savoy American Bar in London. The original cocktail features rye whisky, a raspberry port cordial, Campari and Kummel. Not having the exact measurements and original ingredients, I endeavored to re-create this cocktail, in color, flavor, and sweetness, with ingredients in my home bar. I do believe this comes pretty close to the original, and is pretty damn delicious!

2 oz Roundstone Rye 92 Proof
1 oz Port
⅓ oz Garofalo Blueberry liqueuer, Chambourd, or Cherry Heering
⅓ oz Aquavit
⅓ oz Aperol or Campari
2 dashes Peychauds bitters

Combine all in a cocktail mixer with ice, stir well, and strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.

Recipe by Scott Harris, inspired by the American Bar, Savoy Hotel, London.

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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Welcome to Summer - Our June Newsletter

Dinner at the distillery

Stepping into Summer with Catoctin Creek.

We are heading full on into summer, and couldn't be happier with the warmer weather. Whisky sours, gin and tonics, gimlets, and brandy slushes.  Yes, please!

Just to highlight a couple of the cool events we have coming in June:  

  • June 1 (Friday) - Cask Proof Hickory Finish is released in the tasting room!  This is a once a year type offering.
  • June 15 (Friday) - Dinner at the distillery.  Come join us for an elegant four course dinner with a chance to dine with Scott & Becky in our luxurious setting. Many excellent cocktails will be enjoyed.
  • June 16 (Saturday) - Father's Day at Catoctin - Bring dad in for tastings and enjoy some of our cask proof hickory syrup and meet the makers from Falling Bark Farm, who make that syrup.

We've got lots of cool news and updates to tell you about, so read on for more information!

 

Becky Harris in Food and Wine Magazine

Becky HarrisFood and Wine recently wrote about "6 Women in Whiskey to Watch," including a profile of our own president and chief distiller, Becky Harris. Becky's fresh approach to whisky is the underlying reason why we introduced Roundstone Rye nine years ago, to bring a new type of whisky to a lot of people who didn't consider themselves whisky drinkers. Quoting Becky in the article, Ceil Miller Bouchet writes:

Harris encourages new whiskey drinkers – especially women, she says – to trust their taste and not the experts. “Your body chemistry and your individual experience is just as valid as everyone else’s,” she says. “When you like something, that is the one for you. Who cares what the others think?”

This thought follows from our way of thinking at Catoctin Creek: If everybody is making and consuming the same thing... well, where's the fun in that?

You can read the full article, including profiles of the other women in the story, here.

 

Scott Harris on Fox 5 News making whisky sours

Scott Harris on Fox 5 NewsOn Wednesday night, Scott Harris, founder and general manager of Catoctin Creek, appeared on Fox 5 evening news to talk taxes, economic development, and whisky sours. Key points raised during the quick interview:

  • The reduction in Federal Excise Tax has allowed small businesses like ours to invest in jobs--good high paying jobs--that improve our local community.
  • We also invest in other businesses like farms and other suppliers, further boosting the local economy.
  • The tax savings allow us to invest in our own business with about $1M more of equipment coming online in the next year, allowing us to get more of our product to more people.
  • And finally, May is whisky sours month at Catoctin Creek, and a hibiscus, strawberry, lime whisky sour is a beautiful thing!

Watch the full clip, here.

 

Catoctin Creek Cask Proof named EDITOR'S CHOICE in American Whiskey magazine

American Whiskey MagazineHuzzah! Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Cask Proof was named the Editor's Choice, 9.0/8.9 points and the highest rated whiskey in the premier issue of American Whiskey magazine! A highlight from the review by Rob Allanson:

9.0 Points.
Palate:
Big sweetness, vanilla and toffee, caramel coated apples. Snickers bars in liquid form, peanut, caramel and milk chocolate. The savory edge of dusty books.
Comments: Just what you want from a rye - spice punch, tannins and a dusty sweetness.

Get your copy of the magazine, here.

 

TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2018

Trip Advisor 2018 Certificate of ExcellenceWe were elated to once again be given the Certificate of Excellence for 2018 from TripAdvisor!  This is our fourth year running as the #1 events venue in Purcellville, and we couldn't be more thrilled.

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire team at Catoctin Creek, and we’d like to thank all of our guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Denise Petty, Tasting Room Manager at Catoctin Creek. “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s own customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.

Read the full press release on our website, here

 

Bourbon Paddy reviews Roundstone Rye 92 Proof Distillers Edition

Bourbon PaddySo very cool to have a great review from Bourbon Paddy, who reviews whiskey from his home near Dublin, Ireland. As we are just starting our entrance into the UK market (not Ireland just yet, unfortunately), it's great to see Paddy's detailed review. From the review, he writes:

This is a very nice easy drinking rye whisky; it’s smooth, flavourful, well-balanced, and not just an over-oaked fiery wall of young rye spice and barrel char. What stands out for me is despite coming across young and grain forward on the nose, those bold and spicy rye grain notes are very well balanced by the rest of the flavours as you sip giving a spicy rye with a fruity edge. At times it is hard to believe that this is a 100% rye mashbill because of all the beautiful flavour notes that emerge as you chew this; however, I put this down to the fact that this isn’t sourced (so no familiar MGP notes here) and Catoctin’s considerate approach when making this whisky.

You can read the full review, which includes detailed notes on nose, palate, finish, as well as production notes, here.

Photo courtesy Bourbon Paddy.

 

Catoctin Roundel®

 

 

Cool events this month!

There are some amazing events planned for spring!  Check out the full list here. Be sure to join us for all the fun!   

Cask Proof Hickory Finish Whisky ReleaseCask Proof Hickory Finish Whisky Release

Beginning Friday, June 1st, when we open at 1pm, we will release the Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Cask Proof Hickory Finish whisky! Just in time for Father's Day!!

The Roundstone Rye Cask Proof is our DOUBLE GOLD winning expression of Roundstone Rye, released at its natural cask proof, near 120 proof (60% ABV). Finished in the hickory syrup barrel, this one is slightly more tangy, a wee touch smoky, and very, very rich. This is a rare bottling. The last time we released this was a few years ago, and we probably won't have more of this for a few years to come. So come on in and get it while you can! Limited hand-numbered bottles -- when they're gone, they're gone!

 

Dinner at the DistilleryDinner at the Distillery

June 15, 7:00pm. Dinner will be a four-course affair, using seasonal produce and local suppliers, prepared by Chefs Wes Rosati and Maria Aros of The Wandering Chef. Enjoy a private tour of the distillery from owners, Scott and Becky Harris. Scott & Becky Harris will also personally craft cocktails expertly paired with your dinner! This will be a magical evening, and one not to miss!! Dinner is priced at $99, and includes all four courses and cocktails.

Book Now | Read More

 

Bottling WorkshopBottling Workshop

June 16, 10am. Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will conduct a BOTTLING DAY on Saturday, June 16, at 10:00am. Volunteers wanted. Learn how to bottle, cap, seal, and label Roundstone Rye. Get your chance to work the magic "whisky cow"! Or maybe you'd like to try your hands at operating "Ninette", our fancy French labeling machine!  This event is FREE to attend!

Book Now

 

Father's Day at Catoctin CreekFather's Day at Catoctin Creek

June 17, 1pm - 6pm. We have some amazing things in store for Father's Day! Our Roundstone Rye Cask Proof Hickory Finish whisky will be on sale in the tasting room! Travis and Joyce Miller of Falling Bark Farm will be present sampling tastes of their award-winning hickory syrups, so you'll have a chance to meet the makers and taste the syrup that went into the making of our Hickory Finish Cask Proof. Come by and get your bottles of syrup and whisky!

We'll also have a putting green competition with some cool prizes for winning putts!

Sunday, Father's Day: Catoctin Creek is the place to be! Bring dad and have some fun!!

 

Paint & CocktailsPaint & Cocktails

June 15, 6:00pm - 8:00pm. An exclusive Catoctin Creek Distillery event! Join Amy Walton, renowned local artist, as she leads a course on painting at the distillery. The price includes hors d'oeuvres, all painting materials, and one cocktail.

About our artist: Amy Walton has 40+ years of experience painting all over the east coast. Now calling Virginia home, she pulls inspiration from the beautiful landscapes of Loudoun County. She specializes in oil, watercolor, and pastel paintings.

Book Now | Read More

 

Shake, Bake and Boil with Magnolia'sShake, Bake and Boil with Magnolia's

July 14, 1:00pm - 4:00pm. Summertime means seafood, so we're doing our second seafood boil with Magnolia's at the Mill! Great local vendors like War Shore Oyster Company and Winchester Brew Works are teaming up with Chef Erik at Magnolia's and Catoctin Creek to do a good ol' fashioned crab and seafood boil! Guests will arrive at Catoctin Creek Distillery for a tour and welcome cocktail at 1:00pm. Then we will stroll down 21st Street to Magnolia's patio space by 2:00pm for the seafood boil and festivities. Space is extremely limited, so reserve your ticket now!

Book Now

 

Cocktail of the Month – Strawberry Hibiscus Sours

Strawberry Hibiscus Sours

Ahhhh.... summer is unofficially here. And with it, strawberries! This take on a traditional whisky sour is refreshing and just about as pretty as a rose blooming on a summer evening.

1.5 oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon
1 oz strawberry-hibiscus simple syrup*
Lemon wheel garnish

Combine all three ingredients in a shaker of ice, shake, then strain into coupes. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

*Strawberry-hibiscus simple syrup

In a mixing pot or a crock pot, combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water, along with a 15 oz package of sliced and mashed strawberries and 4 oz of dried hibiscus blossoms. (If hibiscus blossoms are unavailable, you can use pre-packaged hibiscus tea, like "Red Zinger".) Steep the syrup mixture until fully dissolved, then for another 30-60 minutes. Strain out the solids and bottle. Will keep for 1-2 months in the fridge.

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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Spring is blooming! Announcing our Flower Sour Power Hour!

Greetings, Catoctin Creek Nation!

Flower Sour Power Hour

Welcome to May!  We are glad for the warmer weather and all the blooms.  In the spirit of the season, we're happy to announce our Flower Sour Power Hour.  

During the month of April, our sales team were canvasing the various Catoctin Creek territories with a contest for all the bartenders:  Come up with the coolest flower-based whisky sour cocktails, hashtag it on social media using the hashtag #flowerpowersours.  In May, we'll be choosing a winner from all the entries received.  Now it is time for you, the drinking public, to decide the winners.

But first, a little background:   The whisky sour is a classic cocktail which has not received enough acclaim.  It is super simple to make, delicious during warmer weather months, and totally perfect with Catoctin Creek.  (What's more, with all that citrus, you'll never get scurvy!)

And as for the flower, our roundel logo (seen below) represents the land from which we hail—the land that infuses every bottle we produce—the great Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginians were among the first in our nation to begin making rye whisky, and not least of which was George Washington, who distilled rye whisky commercially at his Mt. Vernon farm. And when people started distilling corn into Bourbon whiskey in modern-day Kentucky, yes, that land was still called "Virginia." (Kentucky didn't become a state until 1792.)

And so, Virginia is the birthplace of American whiskey, and we're extremely proud of her. As an homage to Virginia, we've adorned our Roundel with her state flower, the flowering dogwood.  So we created a contest to honor both!  The Flower Sour Power Hour!

Join us! On May 23, come to the Passenger in DC to help Catoctin Creek pick the winner of our Flower Power Sour Competition!

Every 10 minutes you'll visit with one of the five finalists, try their cocktail and talk to them about the inspiration behind their flowery creation. Sample the finalists' different floral-influenced takes on the quintessential classic, the whiskey sour, made with Virginia's most-awarded whiskey, Catoctin Creek's Roundstone Rye, and then vote on your favorite one to help decide which one will be crowned the most powerful Flower Power Sour.  More details, here.

 

Catoctin Roundel®

Roundstone Rye Distiller's EditionCatoctin Creek featured in Better Homes and Gardens

A wonderful little call-out in the May 2018 issue of Better Homes and Gardens:

A spice-forward tribute to-and from-Virginia, the birthplace of American whiskey.

Absolutely could not have said it better myself!

 

Catoctin Creek receives 90 point review from WhiskyCast

It was very nice to receive a 90 point review from WhiskyCast this week! We definitely enjoy seeing other people's tasting notes. Palates can be very subjective and vary from person to person, but it's always nice when they like our whisky! From the review:

Score: 90 points

This edition is bottled at 46% ABV, compared to the 40% strength of the standard Roundstone Rye, and the difference clearly shows. The nose is very aromatic with notes of honey, butterscotch, bitter lemon, linseed oil, and muted spices. The taste is tart and spicy with cinnamon and clove balanced by lemon zest, honey, vanilla, and a nice touch of butterscotch that comes out late and sticks around through the finish, along with muted spices and a touch of lemon zest. Nice!

You can read the full review, here.

 

Becky Harris profiled in CRAFT magazine

Check out the cool interview with our "badass maker," Becky Harris! (quoting the magazine here!). Her latest interview is in CRAFT magazine, here.

 

Cool events this month!

There are some amazing events planned for spring!  Check out the full list here. Be sure to join us for all the fun!   

Starving Artist ShowStarving Artist Show

May 10, 6:00pm. Join us for our Starving Artist Show, featuring local artists Amy Walton, Randy Krukles, Rachelle Windle, and our own distiller artist, Addie Rodgers. The evening will offer local art for sale, live music, food by the Wine Kitchen, and one cocktail included in your ticket price.

Book Now | Read More

 

Union Street Public House Dinner + CigarsUnion Street Public House Dinner + Cigars

May 17, 6:00pm. Join us for a delicious Catoctin Creek pairing dinner at Union Street Public House. We will have a four course dinner with pairings, plus for only $20 more, you can enjoy a cigar and a dram of the impossible-to-find Rabble Rouser! Book early to reserve a table by calling 703-548-1785.

Call Now

 

Bottling WorkshopBottling Workshop

May 19, 10am. Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will conduct a BOTTLING DAY on Saturday, May 19, at 10:00am. Volunteers wanted. Learn how to bottle, cap, seal, and label Roundstone Rye. Get your chance to work the magic "whisky cow"! Or maybe you'd like to try your hands at operating "Ninette", our fancy French labeling machine!  This event is FREE to attend!

Book Now

 

Flower Sour Power HourFlower Sour Power Hour

May 23, 7pm. The cherry blossoms may be past peak bloom, but the dogwoods are looking magnificent!

On May 23, come to the Passenger to help Catoctin Creek pick the winner of our Flower Power Sour Competition!

Every 10 minutes you'll visit with one of the five finalists, try their cocktail and talk to them about the inspiration behind their flowery creation. Sample the finalists' different floral-influenced takes on the quintessential classic, the whiskey sour, made with Virginia's most-awarded whiskey, Catoctin Creek's Roundstone Rye, and then vote on your favorite one to help decide which one will be crowned the most powerful Flower Power Sour.

Book Now

 

Dinner at the DistilleryDinner at the Distillery

June 15, 7:00pm. Dinner will be a four-course affair, using seasonal produce and local suppliers, prepared by Chefs Wes Rosati and Maria Aros of The Wandering Chef. Enjoy a private tour of the distillery from owners, Scott and Becky Harris. Scott & Becky Harris will also personally craft cocktails expertly paired with your dinner! This will be a magical evening, and one not to miss!! Dinner is priced at $99, and includes all four courses and cocktails.

Book Now | Read More

 

Cocktail of the Month – Crackbrained Poet

Crackbrained Poet

This cocktail comes to us from Italy, through bar manager Mario Farulla of Baccano in Rome! It is so cool to be selling our products in Italy, the land of vermouths, bitters and amaro. Mario writes:

La lucida follia di Schmidt, è pura arte, genio ed improvvisazione; estro di cui siamo tutti figli. La sua visionaria via di accostamenti e presentazione dei drink è l’eredità di cui dobbiamo far tesoro senza però fermarci mai alla superficialità. Per questa rivisitazione del “Pleasant Surprise” ho voluto utilizzare il Catoctin Creek, che con le sue note vanigliate e di pellame ben sia accostano al mix di vini liquorosi e spezie presenti nel drink.


Translation: Schmidt's lucid madness is pure art, genius and improvisation; inspiration of which we are all children. His visionary way of combinations and presentation of drinks is the legacy we must treasure always maintaining the superficiality. For this version of the "Pleasant Surprise" I wanted to use Catoctin Creek, which with its hints of vanilla and leather, well match the mix of liqueur, wines and spices present in the drink.

The "Schmidt" referenced here is William Schmidt, a pre-prohibtion bartender and author of The Flowing Bowl.

1 tsp caster sugar
40ml (1⅓ oz) Catoctin creek Roundstone Rye Whisky 92 Proof
20ml (⅔ oz) Lustau Almacenista Sherry
20ml (⅔ oz) Madera Cossart 5 y.o.
1 dash orange bitters
3 dashes Angostura bitters

Garnish: Essentia vaporized nutmeg

Grated black pepper crusta

Glass: Sherry Goblet

Tecnique: Savoy/Throwing

Courtesy of Mario Farulla, Baccano, Rome, Italy, @mariofarulla on Instagram.

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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

No Foolin'! April is a great month for Catoctin Creek!

Greetings, Catoctin Creek Nation!

Welcome to April! We are so glad finally to be in spring! This is a great time to enjoy some whisky (see whisky sour recipe below!) and kick off your shoes and enjoy the warmer weather!

The tasting room is open all month, so if you wish to come by and see our distillery, take a drink or two, and enjoy the informative tour, we hope you will!

And if you're out of state, stop by your favorite local liquor store and pick up a bottle or two from them!

Catoctin Creek Distillery named Best in NOVA 2018!

Best of NOVA 2018You eat, live and breathe this region. Who better to judge which restaurant has the best bite to eat, which store delivers the greatest products and which venue offers the most entertaining events? So, Northern Virginians, tell us the local spots that make living here all worth your while.

Thank you to all the great readers of Northern Virginia Magazine who voted Catoctin Creek as Best Distillery for 2018! We are delighted with the news!

Look for more in the upcoming June issue of the magazine!

Cool events this month!

There are some amazing events planned for spring!  Check out the full list here. Be sure to join us for all the fun!   

Special LoveSpecial Love's Casino Royale

April 13, 7:30pm. Join us for gaming fun and enjoy food, live entertainment, and hundreds of items just waiting to be won! Catoctin Creek will be pouring to VIP guests their Roundstone Rye line up before the event starting at 6PM.

This fundraising event promoted by Special Love will donate all proceeds towards helping pediatric cancer patients "just be kids" and supporting those families going through it to remind people they are not alone in these struggles.

About Special Love: Cancer knows no boundaries. For more than three decades, Special Love has helped children with cancer to “just be kids,” through camps, emergency financial assistance, college scholarships – and, most important, a community of support that assures these struggling families they’re not alone in their battle.

Book Now

 

Bottling WorkshopBottling Workshop

April 14, 10am. Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will conduct a BOTTLING DAY on Saturday, April 14, at 10:00am. Volunteers wanted. Learn how to bottle, cap, seal, and label Roundstone Rye. Get your chance to work the magic "whisky cow"! Or maybe you'd like to try your hands at operating "Ninette", our fancy French labeling machine!  This event is FREE to attend!

Book Now

 

Loudoun Hunt Point to Point RacesLoudoun Hunt Point to Point Races

April 15, 10:30am. A Virginia Steeple Chase Racing Tradition. Held each year at the historic Oatlands Plantation, the Loudoun Hunt Point to Point Races feature some of the most challenging timber and hurdle courses available in Virginia. Riders from across the state and the globe travel to test their mettle in a thrilling contest that always has the crowds gasping to take in that final, thrilling run to the finish line. This rain or shine event features something for everyone. Catoctin Creek will be on hand for some great cocktails if you're in the Oatlands tent.

For ticket information contact Cathy Spicer at 703-728-0545.

Call Now | Read More

 

Union Street Public House Dinner + CigarsUnion Street Public House Dinner + Cigars

May 17, 6:00pm. Join us for a delicious Catoctin Creek pairing dinner at Union Street Public House. We will have a four course dinner with pairings, plus for only $20 more, you can enjoy a cigar and a dram of the impossible-to-find Rabble Rouser! Book early to reserve a table by calling 703-548-1785.

Call Now

 

Bottling WorkshopBottling Workshop

May 19, 10am. Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will conduct a BOTTLING DAY on Saturday, May 19, at 10:00am. Volunteers wanted. Learn how to bottle, cap, seal, and label Roundstone Rye. Get your chance to work the magic "whisky cow"! Or maybe you'd like to try your hands at operating "Ninette", our fancy French labeling machine!  This event is FREE to attend!

Book Now

 

Dinner at the DistilleryDinner at the Distillery

June 15, 7:00pm. Dinner will be a four-course affair, using seasonal produce and local suppliers, prepared by Chefs Wes Rosati and Maria Aros of The Wandering Chef. Enjoy a private tour of the distillery from owners, Scott and Becky Harris. Scott & Becky Harris will also personally craft cocktails expertly paired with your dinner! This will be a magical evening, and one not to miss!! Dinner is priced at $99, and includes all four courses and cocktails.

Book Now | Read More

 

Cocktail of the Month – The Whisky Sour

Whisky Sours

The whisky sour is one of the simplest drinks you can make.  It is easy and refreshing, and unlike many complicated drinks, the simple ingredients really highlight the whisky and allow it to shine through. 

The humble whisky sour is one of the basic spirit+citrus+sugar cocktail recipes that serve as the backbone to American cocktails.  For those interested, here are the basics on this theme:

  • whisky+citrus+sugar - The whisky sour
  • gin+citrus+sugar - The gimlet
  • vodka+citrus+sugar - The lemon drop [sometimes, the lemon drop martini]
  • rum+citrus+sugar - The daquiri
  • tequila+citrus+sugar - The margarita [with orange liqueur]
  • brandy+citrus+sugar - The sidecar [with orange liqueur]

It is said that the whisky sour is the precursor to the margarita.  Back in the 1800's the whisky sour was often called the whisky daisy, and when whisky for this popular cocktail was hard to find in Mexican resorts, they switched to using local agave spirits (tequila).  The name "Margarita" happens to be the Spanish word for "daisy".

1½ oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
¾ oz simple syrup
¾ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice (Never ever use sour mix!  It is nasty!)

Combine the ingredients in a shaker of ice, strain and pour into rocks glasses with ice.  Garnish with a lemon wedge and a cherry on a bamboo skewer.

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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Latest News

Liquor.com - "Best Whiskey from Vir…

Thanks to Liquor.com for designating us the best whiskey from Virginia!  Booyah! Virginia’s distilling history goes at least as far back as Kentucky’s. Catoctin Creek, founded in 2009, is one of...

Read more

Catoctin Creek again in Forbes

We were delighted once again to be featured in Forbes, this time in an article about Irish whiskey and its American descendants.  Claudia Alarcón writes: As one of the first distilleries committed to...

Read more

7 Bottled-In-Bond Whiskeys You Must Try …

So very nice to be included in the Bourbon Review's list of seven bottled-in-bond whiskeys you must try in 2019.  Explaining what bottled-in-bond means, they write: The law states that bottled-in-bond...

Read more

Contact Us

Catoctin Creek Distillery

Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W Main St
Purcellville, VA 20132

Tel (540) 751-8404


Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

Virginia is for Lovers

Latest Events

Old Tom Gin Release Day

  APR 27   Release Day!  Old Tom Gin 12:00pm—7:00pm On Saturday, at noon, we will release this year's batch of Old Tom Gin. We took our regular, award-winning Watershed Gin, and set some aside for a time...

Read more

Finch Sip + Craft

  APR 29   Sip + Craft at Catoctin Creek Distillery 6:00pm—9:00pm We're doing another Sip + Craft!! Come to Catoctin Creek Distillery, and learn the art of block printing! Our craft this time is inspired...

Read more

Whisky Dinner at Monk's BBQ

  MAY 7   Whisky Dinner at Monk's BBQ 7:00pm—9:00pm Monk’s BBQ is joining with our close neighbor and one of our favorite distilleries, Catoctin Creek, to bring you a very special dining experience. Four of Catoctin’s...

Read more