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Courtesy photo.




Roaring ’20s Straight Rye Whiskey Release Party

When: Friday, Oct. 21, 6 to 10 p.m. 
Where: Flag Hill Distillery & Winery, 297 N. River Road, Lee 
Cost: $65 per ticket. Reservations required. 
Visit: flaghill.com/2016/09/rye-release-roaring-20s-party




Speakeasy spirit
Rye whiskey released at Roaring ’20s party

10/13/16
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 After nearly three years of aging in barrels, Flag Hill’s much-anticipated batch of straight rye whiskey is making its debut — speakeasy style. 

You can be among the first to taste the new spirit at the distillery’s Roaring ’20s Whiskey Release Party on Friday, Oct. 21, in Lee. 
“We’re so excited about this rye whiskey,” Flag Hill event coordinator Christa Phaneuf said. “It’s something that had to sit and mature for years after we made it, so we’re pumped to finally be able to release it to the public.” 
The whiskey, comprised of 85 percent rye and 15 percent malt, is one of the first of its kind released in the state, despite this region being specially habitable for rye. Flag Hill owner and distiller Brian Ferguson, whose background is primarily in making bourbon, said he wanted to create a different kind of spirit that represented New England and captured a more traditional style of rye whiskey. 
“It’s something this region is particularly good for. … New England has a unique climate for aging spirits, and where you age a spirit matters because it picks up different flavor profiles,” he said. “We kept those grassy, hay, honey characters that come with a good rye whiskey, so it’s more similar to how they used to make it.” 
The party will feature a costume contest for the guests with the best ’20s attire, live music, swing dancing and a bartender cocktail challenge, where local bartenders will compete using the straight rye whiskey to create unique mixed drinks.  
“When you put rye whiskey in front of a bartender, they want to play and have fun with it,” Phaneuf said. “There’s so many cool flavors you can do with it to create a really fun cocktail.” 
Party guests can participate in the first toast with the whiskey before a dinner prepared by Chef James Costello is served. The first course will include starters like fall soup shooters (corn chowder with crumbled bacon, tomato soup finished with fried mozzarella, and pumpkin bisque with toasted pumpkin seeds), “Buckets o’ Gluten” (brioche rolls, cornbread and sourdough boule paired with sweet and savory compound butters), ahi tuna tartare (sushi-grade tuna served with wakame salad, green onion and a crispy wonton) and black and blue hash (slow-roasted brisket, caramelized red onions and Brussels sprout hash with gorgonzola cheese sauce, crushed red pepper and lemon zest). 
Then there will be a caprese salad, followed by the main course dishes, beef Wellington (sirloin, wild mushroom duxelle and peppercorn demi glaze) and pork roulade (apple and cornbread stuffed pork loin with maple brandy cream sauce), with two side options: sugar maple sweet potato mash and sauteed broccoli with garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. Dessert will be spiced rum apple crisp and creme brulee bites. 
For this year, the whiskey will be available primarily through the Flag Hill tasting room while it lasts, but there is enough currently aging to double the production for next year so that it can be more widely distributed. 
Ferguson said there’s been a lot of buzz about the new whiskey and he expects it to be very popular. 
“Whiskey used to be thought of as an old man drink, but that’s completely shifted in the last 10 years or so. Now, who drinks it and how they drink it is across the board,” he said. “For people who like to drink different things, new whiskey is something they’re always looking for and excited about.”





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