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{Drink Local} TOPO Distillery – Gin is In Season

We’re taking a bit of a detour from the weekly {Eat Local} post. But I think you’ll like where the detour takes us …

TOPO Distillery

A couple of weeks ago, a few Triangle area bloggers met to tour Chapel Hill’s TOPO Distillery (a tour organized by the fabulous Becca Gomez Farrell of The Gourmez blog and very graciously hosted by TOPO). I had been introduced to TOPO Distillery’s vodka at last year’s TerraVITA event (and was impressed with what I tasted), but wasn’t aware of the other spirits TOPO crafts from organic Carolina soft red winter wheat in the downtown microdistillery: an American Dry Gin and (a medal winning) White Whiskey. Thankfully, now I’m fully aware of the quality spirits TOPO Distillery produces, as well as their commitment to sourcing locally (as much as possible), creating quality beverages and maintaining focus on environmental impacts.

The tour of the Green Plus certified facility led our group through the process of turning organic wheat from Scotland Neck, NC into the spirits we would sample later. By the way, tours run most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and if you hurry you (and some friends) can snag the “Our Local Deal” $10 tour, tasting & souvenir glass here (available through July 10th). I have to admit that I didn’t pay close attention during the “technical” part of our tour, as I was completely distracted by the gleaming and towering copper equipment (shiny things have that effect on me). But you should go if you have the opportunity.

Distillery-equipment

The tasting allowed us to compare TOPO spirits to comparable products. I’ve never considered myself a fan of gin. I found it too astringent and it wasn’t something I kept on hand. However, the smooth nature and balanced botanicals of TOPO’s American Dry Gin won me over. Consider me converted (and my liquor cabinet appropriately stocked)! I’m now scouring my cookbook collection for seasonal gin cocktail recipes (and you’ll find several cocktails on the TOPO website and Facebook page).

I’ve started a blueberry gin infusion (recipe here)…

Local blueberries, sugar, lemon zest & whole cloves swimming in TOPO gin
Local blueberries, sugar, lemon zest & whole cloves swimming in TOPO gin

… and I purchased a bottle of White Whale “The Filthy Liar” mixer at Parker & Otis in Durham. White Whale is a Durham-based business creating “bold” mixers that blend exotic ingredients with herbs. “The Filthy Liar” combines lychee, lime and clove. Add in two ounces of TOPO Piedmont Gin, garnish with lime zest and your cocktail hour is set!

White-Whale-Filthy-Liar

Want to try your hand at crafting a cocktail that could win prizes? TOPO Distillery wants your best creations using their Piedmont Gin by July 19th. See the complete contest details and submit your entry here. Of course, first you’ll need to pick up a bottle at a store near you to get started. And don’t delay – Summer’s the perfect season to pair with gin.

 

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