Farm-to-bottle whiskey with an eco-friendly, all-American pedigree.
You don’t have to be a drinker to appreciate the efforts of Widow Jane Distillery in Brooklyn. The specialty booze makers got their start producing chocolate liqueurs from organic sugar cane and cacao beans before becoming sustainable farmers and trying their hand at whiskey. Now, they handcraft small-batch bourbon from a mix of manually harvested organic corn, heirloom barley and non-genetically modified rye. The combination is hydrated with limestone-filtered water—from the Hudson Valley mine that provided raw material for the Empire State Building, the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge—and G.M.O.-free yeast is added for fermentation. Two types of corn used are used: one “bred by crossing Native American seeds with settlers’ white seeds around 1800 in the Appalachian mountains” and the other an American Indian hybrid that “got its start in the hands of dedicated farmers in Iowa,” according to founder Daniel Preston, who points out that the high protein, low starch heirloom grains produce a “significantly lower” yield than Monsanto varieties, pushing up the cost of the finished product. The recipes have been tweaked through an interplay of art and science with a devotion to history and quality. The end result: three connoisseur-grade American spirits—Wapsie Valley, Bloody Butcher and Bloody Butcher High Rye Bourbon Whiskey—with the subtle complexity of the finest wines. $115-$135; widowjane.com.