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Kings County Bourbon and Moonshine Duo

Made at New York City's first distillery since Prohibition, this duo includes a bottle of handcrafted moonshine and bourbon.

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Situated along the banks of the East River, Kings County Distillery is New York City's oldest operating whiskey distillery and the first distillery in New York City since Prohibition. Wedged between Williamsburg and Vinegar Hill, Colin Spoelman and David Haskell, the master distillers at Kings County, make hand-crafted bourbon and moonshine out of the 113-year old Paymaster Building at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

A typewriter the two distillers found on the sidewalk in Williamsburg is used to make the labels that adorn their clear, flask-like bottles, while a hairdryer (made by Revlon) is used to afix each bottle seal. Handwritten scrawls on a chalkboard keep track of different batches, and mesh laundry bags are used as strainers.

Kings County Moonshine Corn Whiskey is made from a mash of 100% organic, cracked corn that Spoelman and Haskell source from the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York. Kings County Bourbon is made from a mash of 70% organic, cracked corn and 30% barley. After milling and mashing the grains, the wash is slowly fermented at their distillery in blue tanks that resemble oil drums and then double-pot distilled. Haskell and Spoelman use the first alcohol produced from each batch — the "head" — as a disinfectant and sell the used mash to a pig farmer who uses it as feed. "I still don't understand why it doesn't make the pigs drunk," Haskell says.

After distilling the wash, the bourbon is aged in five-gallon, charred American oak barrels for over a year. The bottles of moonshine and bourbon are both filled, labeled and sealed by hand.

Kings County currently produces about 150 gallons of bourbon and 100 gallons of moonshine a month. "We make enough to supply some of Brooklyn, some of Manhattan and that's about it," Spoelman says. After visiting their distillery, we bamboozled them into sharing some of their juice with the rest of the country.

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The moonshine has notes of sweet corn with a spicy, slightly hot finish. The bourbon has a nose of vanilla and honey. Initial hints of cloves and barley give way to sweeter notes of corn and caramel. Slightly hot, round finish.

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