Mixin’ Things with Bloomery Plantation Distillery

This past week I attended Bloomery Plantation Distillery‘s first mixology class, titled “Of Vice and Virtue: Mixology with SweetShines.” The 1.5 hour class was lead by the Distillery’s very own Eric Bell in the private room on the 2nd floor of Crown Liquors near Dupont Circle. Staying close to the theme of the class, guests were seated at tables with face-down sticky tags displaying the name of a virtue or vice. It was a great ice-breaker between myself and those around me, especially as I managed to get “Lust,” which is an especially fun sin to be labeled as for the rest of one’s night…

During the class, we learned cocktail recipes that incorporate Bloomery Plantation Distillery’s signature product, a collection of liquors called SweetShines made by macerating fruits and nuts. The project started in 2010, when the owners came back from a trip to Italy and set out to find the best limoncello in the U.S. When they couldn’t find anything that measured up to their standards, they took it upon themselves to create their own brand. To do so, they converted a 1840’s log cabin located in Charles Town, WV into a mini-distillery. Their signature limoncello cordial, made with the farm’s own lemons and raspberries, ended up becoming so popular (earning the distillery 11 international awards), that they decided to expand to other flavors.

1453435_2423527627579_2074593513_nTheir arsenal of cordials now includes flavors such as: Pumpkin Spice, Raspberry Lemon, Ginger, Peach, Chocolate Raspberry, Limoncello and Limoncello’s creamy cousin, the Cremma Lemma. Each flavor is associated with a character who embodies the fruit, nut or root the cordial is made with, and these characters are displayed on the wonderful vintage labels pasted over each bottle. Some of them are lovable, others quite risque…I’m thinking, in particular, of the Passionately Playful Peach, brought to life by a lady in a velvety orange toga showing off her voluptuous, fruity bum as she turns her back to the viewer. Childish snickering aside, the labels are actually really very tasteful and imaginative – the perfect pre-wrapped gift or contribution to a dinner party.

GS-SweetShine-DISPLAY-Label-Art-04_16_13                     PS-SweetShine-DISPLAY-Label-Art-04_16_13
The flavors were nice as well, both on their own and incorporated into cocktails. Eric demonstrated how he tops beer with various flavors of SweetShine for an extra kick in both booze content and flavor. I enjoyed the addition of Genuinely Grizzle Ginger to a light-bodied Pilsner-type beer. The cordial gave the latter a funky, spicy zing in flavor that really woke up the otherwise mild taste of the beer. My favorite, though, was definitely the Liquid Mounds Bar-tini made with their Devilishly Daring Chocolate Raspberry SweetShine mixed in with chocolate and coconut vodkas. The SweetShine gave the drink a smooth, creamy backbone that made it a bit like an adult milkshake. The online portfolio for this flavor also recommends adding the stuff to espresso for a mocha-tastic morning. Sounds like something I could get a tad bit too used to…

At the end of the class, guests were allowed to go up to the bar and try their hand at making their very own SweetShine creations. Although the drink I created (gin, ginger SweetShine, raspberry-lemon SweetShine and…tonic?) ended up being a travesty and borderline impotable, I had a really fun time pretending to know what I was doing. And some of my classmates’ concoctions actually came out pretty damn good!

For those staying to mingle with drinks around the snack table, there was a discount thrown in to shop at the store all night. If I had stayed til the end, I can safely say my fridge would be stocked full with Chocolate Raspberry SweetShine, not at the displeasure of my roommates…

Bloomery Plantation Distillery will be holding its next mixology class at Crown Liquors on Wednesday, December 18th at 7:00pm. To find out more, visit their Facebook profile or purchase tickets directly through their Eventbrite page.




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