Introducing the newest Art in the Age Spirit to hit the shelves in Old City: Mountain Berry Cordial.
The summer berry production in New Hampshire is a short but highly-anticipated window that typically occurs near mid-summer, and the ripening of these small, nutritional fruits is hugely appreciated by the state’s various forest critters and residents alike. Mountain Berry Cordial calls on three of the most flavorful and readily available berries in NH - Red Raspberries, aptly-named Honeyberries, and Aronia berries – to achieve its distinct flavor. While Red Raspberries and Honeyberries offer the acidic sweetness that you would expect from a berry, the Aronia berry – or chokeberry – in particular, is known for its astringency, which aids in providing a tartness to the otherwise syrupy trifecta.
The berries in your bottles are hand-selected by Great Northern Berries, a berry farm located in neighboring North Sandwich. Grown in the soil and runoff of the Sandwich Mountain Range, the berries in each bottle of Mountain Berry Cordial are harvested at peak ripeness for immediate use and robust flavor.
This recipe starts with house-made Neutral Spirit, which is a fruitier take on our Neutral Grain Spirit. We first distill our NH apple brandy and organic corn/ organic rye Neutral Grain recipe together to 190 proof. This captures a light, ester-y nuance compared to our typical infusion base. We then barrel that base in white oak barrels for finishing and mellowing. This period of rest also coaxes some creamy wood lactones and vanilla notes into the mix. After this initial rest, the base spirit is infused with Red Raspberries, Honeyberries, and Chokeberries to capture the dense flavor and vibrant color of the ingredients. Sugar is added to balance the tartness of the berries, and reverse osmosis filtered water is used to achieve 44 proof (22% ABV).
The nose is like freshly macerated red raspberry jam, just starting to warm on a stovetop. The bright acidity and slight seediness is glazed over by the more syrupy Honeyberry. This nose evolves from lively and peaked into a more mature Elderberry aroma. The addition of Chokeberries really works to round out what could have been the overly saccharine summer berry duo. The mouthfeel is closer to port or even a slight tannic kick of Italian Sweet Red wine. The midpalate has more of a gripping sensation than what you might expect from a berry only infusion. Oak and acidity engage more of the taste buds, breaking up any simplistic understanding of each given berry and the finish has a wisp of stone fruit or black cherry.