There are all types of excursions for one to experience when living along the shores of Massachusetts. From climbing a craggy shore on the North Shore, to paddle boarding on the Charles, to celebrating pride in P-town, there’s really nothing between Maine and Cape Cod that isn’t an adventure of some sort. But an excursion for a young, economically-challenged professional like myself usually entails going to Target on a Saturday morning to find deals on the clearance rack. So needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity when my friends here at edible South Shore & South Coast invited me to join them in a night of drinking local libations at the Living Proof ‘s: Celebrating the Makers Craft Spirit Tasting. Don’t get me wrong, scouring the racks of knick-knacks at Target is great, but free spirits made by serious crafters is so much better!
My journey began with an easy trek to Plimoth Plantation for the spirited night that celebrated all things handcrafted. Scattered amongst the Plantation’s original farming equipment used by the settlers, were tables of distillers from Boston to the Berkshires, Plymouth to P-town. They showcased their newest liqueurs, liquors, and meads as bluegrass played in the background, creating a lively evening for drinking and noshing. As I made my way from table to table, conversation flowed as smoothly as the liquors we were sampling. My stops included sipping a fruity rum punch from Bully Boy Distillers (Roxbury), sweet Viking Victory Honey Mead from 1634 Meadery (Ipswich), and a pungently smooth Wire Works American Gin from GrandTen Distilling (Boston). Being a Berkshires native, you could imagine the elation I felt tossing back some of my favorite homegrown Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ragged Mountain Rum.
From the South Shore, Dirty Water Distillery from Plymouth represented and had me swooning over their Velnias Honey Liqueur. It’s smooth, fiery flavor made me want to dive head first into the bottle. I could have a seriously passionate love affair with that liqueur. To finish off the evening our friends at Bradford Distillery from Hingham sent me off with a classic Moscow Mule. Although I’m not normally a vodka fan, I can’t control my love for Bradford. The quality of the vodka is superior and makes for an incredibly refreshing mule, perfect for summertime sipping. As I sipped away, I snacked on Spicy Cajun Shrimp, and a fresh Crab Salad that made my taste buds dance along with the bluegrass, and I fell in love with the incredible spread of cheeses, chocolates, and breads from Patrizia’s; it truly was the perfect Saturday evening. For a deal-hunting, chain-store shopping boy, drinking inexpensive liquor is the norm. Can you imagine doing a lower tier sampling like Mr. Boston and Bacardi? I think not!! This was different. I was not only elevating my knowledge of artisanal libations, I was also elevating my palette. Now, buying a bottle of Bacardi just seems shameful.
I left with a bittersweet taste as I made my way home. The night was everything I’d hoped it to be and more. Given my evening’s excursion, I knew that the next day’s journey to Target would be a lackluster event. Cruising into a sunset as fiery as the Velnias Honey Liqueur, I smiled knowing that next year I’d make the trek back to Plymouth to enjoy more spirits from these amazing artisanal makers.
1634 Meadery: www.1634Meadery.com
Bully Boy Distillers: www.BullyBoydDistillers.com
Berkshire Mountain Distillers: www.BerkshireMountainDistillers.com
Bradford Distillery: www.BradfordDistillery.com
Dirty Water Distillery: www.DirtyWaterDistillery.com
Grand Ten Distilling: www.GrandTen.com
Matt LaBombard is a food writer and blogger. When he’s not in the kitchen cooking for his friends and family members, he’s out and about looking for the newest food experiences. He documents his culinary excursions on his website Cookery & Taste.