Vodka made from under the ground up, beginning at the family farm, makes for lifted spirits.
What’s a good follow-up act to a career as a missile and space network engineer? In the case of Pat Scanlan, an engineer for Lockheed Martin and IBM with experience in special projects, it’s to open a distillery with his wife, Mary, and friend (and defense industry veteran) Mark Kleckner. Their endeavor, Woody Creek Distillers — a producer of fine vodka, whiskey, and gin — isn’t just some white-collar malaise redirected to a passion project. No, they believe in working from the ground up. Perhaps, in the case of vodka, it’s better to call it “working from under the ground up.” The potatoes that go into their vodka are grown at their family farm, and the waste from the raw products is returned to the Scanlan family farm as compost or to local ranches as livestock feed. The distillery itself is a low-emission facility, but the spirits are high-octane excellence. Try some yourself in the following Woody Creek Distillers cocktails.
1½ ounces Woody Creek Signature Potato Vodka
1½ ounces iced coffee
¼ ounce maple syrup
¼ ounce coconut nectar simple syrup (or plain simple syrup)
2 dashes cacao tincture (or chocolate bitters)
2 dashes vanilla tincture (or vanilla bitters)
Splash almond milk
Vanilla bean pod, for garnish
In a mixing glass with ice add all ingredients except almond milk. Shake and strain into rocks glass with ice. Slowly add almond milk to top off drink and garnish with a vanilla bean pod.
3 medium-size basil leaves
2 ounces Woody Creek Signature Potato Vodka
¾ ounces apricot syrup (recipe follows)
½ ounces lemon juice
Basil spring, for garnish
Lemon round, for garnish (dehydrated preferred)
In a mixing glass muddle basil. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice. Shake and double strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a basil sprig and lemon round.
5 large or 10 small apricots, pitted
2 cups water
2 cups white sugar
Add all ingredients to a small pot. Slowly heat up to a simmer. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Double strain and let cool.
For more information on Woody Creek Distillers as well as tasting room hours, visit the distillery’s website.