It’s no secret that your humble correspondent is a big fan of both vodka and shopping locally. After much anticipation, Union Grove Distillery in Arkville, New York is up and running, producing vodka made from apple cider and wheat. Apples for the vodka were bought in Schoharie Valley at Terrace Mountain Orchards in Middleburgh. Vodka is, by definition in the United States, a spirit (made from a grain, fruit or any source) that has been distilled to 190 proof until it’s been thoroughly purified of all the remnants of the fermentation process. Distilled water is then added back in to dilute the liquid to a lower alcohol volume.
Their first vodka for sale is called Vly Creek Vodka, named for a Catskills’ stream, and all their further offerings will be named after local tributaries. Owners Brian Mulder and Todd Pascarella, on whom we published a Catskills Conversation last April, are steaming ahead with the fifth batch of vodka and the still was quietly working away as of Friday afternoon. The distillery opened about three years after the idea’s initial inception. The hard graft started a year and one month ago, when the duo moved into the building and got to work setting everything up.
The front section of the distillery, which is in the former Cow Dome on Route 28 right next to Arkville Bread Breakfast, has been turned into a cozy, elegantly appointed tasting room with tall chairs, tables, a large bench, wood-lined walls, a roaring fireplace and a piano, which anyone is welcome to play. Off to the side, behind the bar, is a kids’ playroom. Cocktails, containing their vodka mixed with other non-alcoholic mixers, will be served in the tasting room, which has a soft opening on February 10th beginning at noon. Of course, the vodka is also available for tasting neat, up or on the rocks. The soft opening will continue through the following Saturday 20th of President’s Day Week. Regular hours of opening after that will be Wednesday to Saturday noon to 9pm. In addition to tastings, tours will be conducted through the distillery periodically.
T-shirts, beanies, aprons and hoodies bearing the Union Grove Distillery logo are for sale behind the bar. Customers are encouraged to create their own cocktails with the vodka and are happy to hear what you think of their vodka. Our own Upstate Dispatch cocktail will be coming up in the next post.