Matchbook Distilling Co. (375 ml) 'Late Embers' Smoked Sunchoke + Honey Spirit (80 proof)
Item Number: 18466
Region: New York
Sub Region: Long Island
Estate Grown Wine: No
Grape(s): Sunchoke / Honey
Type: Spirits - Specialty
Bottle Size: 375 ml
Closure: Screw Cap
Alc by Vol(%): 40
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Sunchokes, smoked and steamed over a fire pit and co-fermented with honey, distill into a spirit richly expressive of its ingredients. Late Embers is smokey, earthy, nutty, and dynamic with notes of pear, black pepper, rose, concrete, chopped wood, and grass after rainfall. Drink it neat. Drink it shaken with some sugar and citrus. Drink it stirred with some vermouth and a bitter.
Sunchokes are knotty root vegetables (aka a tuber) that grow like wildfire on Long Island. They love the northeast environment so much, that countless websites warn, if you plant these babies, you better really, really like them. Because they’re perennials, they’ll grow back year, after year. And where you plant one, you might be harvesting 5.
Sunchokes, just like agave plants, are made of chains of fructose molecules called inulin. Because yeast can’t digest inulin, we need to unbind those fructose molecules - a process known as hydrolysis. In Oaxaca, the home of mezcal, agave hearts are smoked, roasted, and baked in giant pits with hot rocks. The agave hearts steam, breaking down the inulin.
Inspired by that process, Matchbook built an earthen fire pit and began roasting 1,800 pounds of local, organically grown sunchokes. Wet burlap sacks were burnt to help increase moisture and build smoke. For the fermentation, some inulinase was added, an enzyme grown by aspergillus (koji) in a lab, to help finish the job of breaking up the fructose chains. Water, local honey, and Champagne yeast were also added. Fermentation lasted one week. The mash was then transferred to the still and ran through a pot and column.