Originally posted on Forbes
The Easter Bunny brings treats for the kids. But what of the adults? Just in time for spring is a fun new spirit that Bugs Bunny would love: carrot liquor.
Boardroom Spirits, a small Philadelphia area distiller, has rolled out a first-of-its-kind spirit called C, made from 100 percent carrots. That may seem like a gimmick, especially with all the talk of bunnies and springtime festivities Easter brings, but don’t dismiss C: it’s pretty darned good.
Jeanne O'Brien Coffey
This Raspberry-Thyme Gimlet lets the C carrot liquor shine.
C is an eau-de-vie style spirit made from 100 percent carrots. It takes 12.5 pounds of carrots to produce one of the 375-ml bottles Boardroom Spirits sells for $30. Now, you can pretty much distill anything into a spirit - eau de vies are the traditional name for unsweetened brandies made from fruit. Faithful to that tradition, C is clear and free of artificial colors, flavors and added sugars.
Still, opening the bottle I was a little worried – just because you can distill something doesn’t mean it should be drunk. But C turns out to be a treat. It has a fragrant nose with hints of fennel and, yes, lots of carrot. It’s spring-like and very pleasant to the nose, akin to taking a whiff of shaven carrots on a light salad. When you taste it, the carrot liquor has a barely sweet, not too powerful flavor of carrot and, while strong at a bracing 92 proof, it is well balanced. The back-end of what you taste as you drink a liquor is often the tell about quality – its’ where so many of the off notes reveal themselves. In the case of C, the finish is clean and relatively smooth for a high-alcohol drink.
Unless you’ve reached the end of a particularly trying egg hunt, you won’t be drinking C straight. The subtle vegetable profile work really well in a Bloody Mary – I’d suggest substituting half of your vodka for C. It works quite well in other cocktails too.
I tried C out on three companions with varying degrees of cocktail demands – one’s a big vodka fan, another likes her drinks on the sweeter side while the third tends towards brown-spirits in his cocktails. I hit the mark with a Raspberry + Thyme Gimlet served at Philadelphia New American restaurant Aldine – the drink isn’t syrupy sweet but appeals to the Cosmopolitan crowd, while the vodka and C give the drink enough fortitude to please the others. I loved the wonderful melding of sophisticated flavors from carrot liquor, the raspberries and thyme. The recipe is below. If you don’t have the time to whip up a simple syrup and let the flavors blend, try C in a Moscow Mule.
Taste through Boardroom's spirits at the micro distillery in Pennsylvania.
Boardroom is a micro-distiller in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, north of Philly. The family owners say C is a tribute to the traditional fruit brandy of Hungary, called palinka. “Raw carrots have a naturally sweet flavor and aroma and much like springtime, awaken all of the five senses,” says Boardroom Spirits founder and co-owner Marat Mamedov.
C is the second spirit Boardroom distilled from a not-so-typical base product. The company has a beet spirit called B. Based on the results so far, it’s exciting to think about the next letter Boardroom may tackle. Daikon? Dill?
C is available around southeastern Pennsylvania and at the distillery in Lansdale. For those elsewhere, online spirits purveyor Ezra’s sells C for $30, though shipping to some states may not be permitted because of various alcohol regulations.
Raspberry + Thyme Gimlet
1 oz. Boardroom Spirits C, 100% carrot spirit
1 oz. vodka
2 oz. lime juice
1.5 oz. raspberry + thyme simple syrup*