Cocktail Hour

Making Bourbon
with Founder Nick Taranto

The Four Bros with our first round of un-aged bourbon (AKA white whiskey)

“I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly…” Yup, Good Ol’ Big Ron Burgundy said it best. Ain’t nothing quite like the brown stuff. The liquid gold. The lubricator of the ludicrous. Dreamer of dreams. WHISKEY.

I’m a big fan of the stuff. In fact, a few years before starting Plated with Josh, my three brothers and I went so far as to start our own distillery. What was it called? Well our creative branding genius hadn’t yet developed, so we resorted to Four Brothers Distilling Co… Pretty original, right?

We somehow convinced our mom, who had recently bought an old farm in upstate New York, to let us use her abandoned and semi-dilapidated barn as the “distillery.” We jumped through all of the hoops with the feds, and carefully abided by the state and local liquor authority standards. It ain’t easy getting things done in podunk NY when the local tax man only works every other Tuesday from 1-3PM! But we persevered, made it over the compliance and logistics hurdles, and eventually got ourselves officially established as the “Smallest Legal Distillery in America.”

Our plan? To make copious amounts of scotchy scotch scotch! Well, not exactly, since the fact we were located in New York flew in the face of one small technicality: Scotch needs to come from that place across the pond called, oh yeah, Scotland.

So what did we do instead? We made bourbon! Contrary to popular belief, bourbon does NOT need to come from the land of the south, but bourbon does need to be made in the Good Ol’ US of A, and it needs to be aged in new American charred oak barrels for at least 2 years. There are a couple other technicalities that you can read about on Wikipedia or on your grandad’s lap during story time at the old folks’ home.

So we fired up about 40 gallons of bourbon courtesy of our good buddy Monte who runs the Catskill Distilling Company across from the site of the original Woodstock Festival, and now it’s a waiting game. The longer you let your whiskey sit alone and afraid in the dark bowels of some feisty charred oak barrel, the better it gets. So we’ll see. By the time Plated turns two (or three or four or five), we should have some awesome Four Brothers Distilling Co bourbon to celebrate with!

– Nick Taranto

@NickTaranto

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