Barr Hill, located up in Hardwick, Vermont, (up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont) is a magical place. There is a certain terroir of the products that hail from this region. From ice cider from Eden,(frozen and pressed apples) to fruit syrups (Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont) to the gorgeously potent Jasper Hill Cheese, the taste of the place is quite apparent.
Imagine my delight when I discovered several more soulfully made products that sent my heart and taste buds into the veritable outer orbit!
These products that come from Barr Hill are their honey distilled Vodka, Gin and Elderberry Cordial. Then there is the raw honey. What is raw honey? It is unheated, pure, unpasteurized and unprocessed honey.
Raw honey retains all its potency as a healing medicine and it tastes great too in gin and vodka. Good thing Caledonia Spirits uses raw honey in their highly individualistic products! Not only do they taste good, but they are also good for you.
I was touched deeply by the mission statement of Caledonia Spirits as shared by my friend Todd Hardie, the pragmatic gentleman who shared some of his time last night.
The purpose of Caledonia Spirits is:
to add value to the work of the people of Vermont,
including those growing grains, herbs, medicinal plants, and honey, and to
support and encourage the organic production of plants and honey in Vermont and surrounding regions, and to
provide employment and contribute to the health, spiritual, economic and social well being of the community, and honor the traditions of Vermont, Scotland, France, Quebec and other agricultural communities that inspire our formulations.
I'm charmed by the gin and the vodka... The Elderberry Cordial is otherworldly. To know the powerful antioxidants at work in every sip of the Elderberry Cordial makes taking my medicine a pleasurable venture!
Of course the raw honey is packed full of goodness. I may never eat "commercial" honey again. Got a cut on your finger? Put raw honey on it. Have a tummy ache? Raw honey with herbal tea. Need to create a lovely cocktail with natural sweetness? Raw honey!
Some say raw honey contains the fountain of youth. Does it? I'm not sure. But I do know that it is delicious.
From their website:
Caledonia Spirits was established by Todd Hardie with one simple goal: to make spirits out of the best ingredients he can find. Years as a beekeeper and naturalist give Todd a deep respect for our regional agriculture and ecology, and drive him to bring people the best both have to offer. Today Todd works with a network of regional farmers to showcase the beauty of their grains, fruits, and bee hive products in spirit form.
The gin is a celebration of our special connection to the land. We use pure grain spirits as a canvas to showcase juniper berry and raw northern honey. Added just before bottling, the raw honey imparts unique floral qualities that vary with season and blossom. Our distillery, on the banks of the Lamoille River in the Northeast Kingdom, is rooted in the agriculture of Vermont. Hardwick, Caledonia Country, is a community inspired by farms where the production of milk, cheese, timber, grains, honey, seeds, and herbs are part of our lives and help define our place.
Our relationship with the land and honey bees inspired and gave birth to this vodka. The soul of a beekeeper is filled with the rhythms that flow through the seasons, reflecting the changes in the flowers, rains, sun and all the forces that are a part of this beautiful mystery. Barr Hill Vodka is crafted from honey at our micro-distillery on the banks of the Lamoille River in Caledonia Country of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Honey is cold fermented for several weeks then carefully distilled in our custom stills. The spirit which emerges reflects the essence of the soil and flowers visited by the bees.
Handcrafted in small batches in our artisan distillery in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Our cordial is birthed and rooted in a long relationship with the land, honey and elderberries.
I recommend that you purchase some of these delicious spirits. If you can find the honey, all the better. Raw honey is just marvelous in a cup of herbal tea.
Todd D. Hardie
Caledonia Spirits, Inc.
P.O. Box 1249
Hardwick, Vermont 05843
Double Gold Winner - New York International Spirits Competition
Black Mountain Rag Cocktail
Apologies to Flatt and Scruggs.
2 oz. Caledonia Spirits Elderberry Cordial
1.5 oz. Caledonia Spirits/Barr Hill Gin (made with raw honey)
Splash of Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
4 drops Bitter End Thai Bitters
Ice made with Mavea "Inspired Water" filtration- infused with lemon zest then frozen overnight
Gin Cured Cherry- 2 weeks in gin, Washington State cherries without pits. Use in cocktails.
To a Boston shaker filled 3/4 with ice add:
The Elderberry Cordial
The Barr Hill Gin
The Bitter End Thai Bitters
Shake for 14 seconds
Add Mavea-Lemon zest ice cubes to a tall glass
Strain the liquors over the lemon zest infused ice
Splash a bit of the Perrier Sparkling Water over the top
Garnish with a homemade gin cured cherry.
Cheers to you Todd. Happy Birthday.
Warren Bobrow is the Food and Drink Editor of the 501c3 non profit Wild Table on Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey.
He was one of 12 journalists world-wide, and the only one from the USA to participate in the Fêtes de la Gastronomie- the weekend of September 22nd. 2012 in Burgundy and Paris.
He attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2011/2012.
Warren presented and demo'd freestyle mixology at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon. (2012)
Warren judged the Iron Mixology competition at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival (2012)
Warren has published over three hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews to travel articles.
You may also find him on the web at: http://www.cocktailwhisperer.com
Warren is a published food writer and former cook.
He's written food and cocktail articles and news for Edible Jersey, Chutzpah Magazine, Voda Magazine, Tasting Table, Serious Eats and Total Food Service Magazine.
Warren attended the Kentucky Derby and the Oaks Day Races this year while on assignment for Voda Magazine.