Still Here

Brooklyn begets a must-try gin

There are now hundreds of microdistilleries in America. Some turn out top-shelf bottles, but most amount to little more than a passion project for their owners.

Not so with NYC's second booze factory since Prohibition (this was the first).

Former bond trader Brad Estabrooke opened Breuckelen Distilling Company this summer and immediately began making what's become our favorite new gin. The secret is in the sweat equity: Instead of buying a neutral spirit in bulk and adding botanicals later (as most gin makers do), he makes his own base spirit from scratch using New York-grown wheat.

Though flavored with only five ingredients–juniper, lemon, grapefruit, ginger and rosemary–Breuckelen Gin's simple recipe allows imbibers to taste each of its components and offers a flavor profile that's much less piney than most gins. Thanks to its rosemary notes, it's ideal for gin drinks made with sweet vermouth, like the Improved Gin Cocktail and the Martinez (NYC bartenders take note).

Visit the Gowanus distillery on Thursdays through Saturdays (noon to 6 p.m.) and try it for yourself. For $3, Estabrooke will pour you a taste of gin and let you sample his latest projects: a (very young) New York rye whiskey and the unadulterated wheat spirit, which he'll soon bottle as white whiskey.

Breuckelen Distilling Company, 77 19th St., Brooklyn; 347-725-4985 or brkgin.com