Wine & Spirits

By Derek S. Gerard


The Finger Lakes area of New York State has long been known for its wine. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but now there are more than a few distilleries to spice things up a little. Finger Lakes Distilling is based on the East side of beautiful Seneca Lake and has a plethora of different spirits available for tasting and purchase.

For those of you that have been wine tasting, you know that sometimes you can “taste” a little too much wine, and that’s why people usually take limousines to go wine tasting. Distilleries generally keep a tighter leash on that situation by only letting you try a few tastes of certain spirits per visit. The tasting room there is beautiful and overlooks the still (where the magic happens) and the lake. Finger Lakes Distilling makes McKenzie’s whiskey, of which they have Rye, Bourbon, and (my favorite) a Pure Pot whiskey, which is Irish-styled and bold but amazingly smooth. It’ll keep you warm just in case you decide to dip your toes in Seneca Lake (it’s cold, trust me.)

Some of their other products are the Seneca Drums Gin (made from distilled grapes – smooth and citrusy); Glen Thunder (corn whiskey – strong with some caramel flavor, almost like moonshine); Vintner’s Wild Berry Vodka (vodka made with real raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries); and the deliciously sweet Pear Brandy (fresh fruit flavor – perfect for a snow day).

Finger Lakes Distilling also makes a Grappa which, for those of you who have never experienced a grappa, is a spirit made from fermenting the skins and pulp that is left over after winemaking. It is very strong, and the flavor quite memorable. They have three different types of grappa (made from Muscat, Riesling, or Gewürztraminer grapes), and all are bold with strong aromatics distinctive of their specific grape.

Finger Lakes Distilling makes many wonderful spirits and is a part of the wonderful Seneca Lake Wine Trail. The only downside is making a decision on which bottle to bring home! I suggest all of them.

Finger Lakes Distilling
4676 NYS Route 414
Burdett, NY 14818
(607) 546-5510
Open from 11AM to 5PM daily

Originally published February 2013



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