Five Things to Know About GrandTen Distilling
GrandTen Distilling’s founders love their liquor. To put it another way, they put hours of thought, work, and craft into hand selecting ingredients, creating the perfect recipes for fermentations, and distilling their final products the old-fashioned way. A sample of their gin, rum, whiskey, or vodka speaks for itself, but read on to learn even more about this South Boston microdistillery:
It occupies a piece of historic Boston. GrandTen Distilling resides in a building that was one of Boston’s earliest and most iconic iron foundries. Established by genius metallurgist Cyrus Alger, the foundry produced the first gun ever rifled in America. Ultimately, though, the country needed more wire than gun barrels, and the foundry officially became a wireworks.
It’s flagship drink celebrates that heritage. GrandTen’s flagship distillation gets its name from the foundry’s history. Wire Works American Gin conducts notes of sweetness and citrus to the tongue ahead of the earthy, peppery tang for which gin is known.
It’s a true copper distillery. Wire Works, along with all the distillery’s craft liquors, comes from a true copper still. Making liquor in such a still is challenging, but a master can bring different flavors into each batch by adjusting boiling points and allowing different elements to enter the final, recondensed mix.
They turned a local legend into vodka. Wire Works Gin isn’t the only beverage with a bit of local history in the recipe. Firepuncher Vodka also takes its name from a South Boston myth. In 1887, in the midst of a bitter winter, a fire erupted from one of South Boston’s foundries. Before the fire department could arrive, a man named Tommy Maguire raised a ladder to the roof of the foundry, scaled up, and began to fight the fire with his fists. He wound up fighting the fireman a bit too, and spent the night in jail for his no-doubt liquor-fueled bravery.
They teach their craft. Every week, distillers host a Friday Night Flights event, providing samples of their liquors as they discuss the creation of each one, from imagination to production.
"Short path distillation" is a technical, scientific term. According to Short Path Distillery owners Zachary, Jackson, and Matt, it refers to a smaller distance between the sites where the wash evaporates and where it condenses. This, in their words, leads to "more flavorful and complex" gins, rums, and more. Their creations—which include three types of gin and two rums, plus ouzo, pommeau, and Triple Sec—also owe their bold mosaic of flavors to the locally sourced, organic ingredients. When those painstakingly curated elements meet scientific advancements and old-world distilling techniques, the result is artisan spirits equally suited to mixology and plain sipping.
By the Numbers: Bantam Cider Tap Room
1,300-square-foot tasting room filled with communal tables
5 ciders in Bantam’s core rotation, poured alongside limited releases
4 ingredients in the Rojo cider: local heirloom and traditional New England apples, ale yeast, sour cherries, and peppercorns
10 dollars for a flight of five ciders
3 weekend brewery tours: two on Saturday, one on Sunday; no reservation required
0 gluten in Bantam’s ciders
8-minute walk from Prospect Hill Park
Bully Boy Distillery
Brothers Will and Dave Willis grew up working on their family’s fourth-generation farm. Back during Prohibition, the family farm held a secret stash of artisan spirits in a basement vault. Some 70 years after Prohibition ended, the vault was rediscovered. Will and Dave took inspiration from the creative spirits just languishing there—like “Medford Rum” and “Cow Whiskey”—and decided to start making their own. Read on to learn more about the Bully Boy brothers and their old-school distillery:
The distillery is named after one of the farm’s workhorses. In fact, Will and Dave’s great grandfather borrowed the term “Bully”—meaning “superb” or “wonderful”—from his college roommate: Teddy Roosevelt.
Bully Boy specializes in rum, whiskey, and vodka. It produces each in small, numbered batches, effectively carrying on Boston’s tradition of small-batch distilling.
The real MVP is a 600 liter copper pot still. This massive still transforms the distillery’s high-quality ingredients into complex spirits with tons of character.
The whiskeys and vodkas are USDA-certified organic. That means the base ingredients for these spirits are grown naturally and without the use of fertilizers or pesticides.
Don’t miss the white rum. Made with blackstrap molasses, the white rum uses techniques
passed down from cognac distillers. It has an incredibly smooth finish and multiple awards on its résumé.