The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2010

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NOSE-ABLES Cheryl Lins: Distiller, Artist, Alchemist place. Here, in a bright storefront room amid white shipping cartons, framed original artwork and reproductions of vintage French posters, abstract painter and former software engineer Cheryl Lins fastidiously tends a 30-liter copper still known as an alembic. Deftly combining art and science, she creates absinthe. Licensed as the Delaware Phoenix Distillery, each month Lins produces and personally delivers 200 bottles of her artisanal Walton Waters and Meadow of Love blends to retailers in the Catskills, the Hudson Valley and throughout New York City. With no previous experience in distilling, Lins’s curiosity was piqued in 2006. “I read an article about Ted Breaux making absinthe in France, and a light went on,” she says. Before long she was sampling Jade Edouard and other brands from Europe, reading up on old recipes and had purchased her first alembic. “There’s the alchemy of it, and then there’s the science,” she says. “It had become an interesting tech problem, since my first batch was a long way from the high-priced stuff I had received in the mail.” N G ardner Dunn, the New York-based Global Brand Ambassador for Suntory’s Yamazaki single malt whisky, demonstrated his passion for ice carving at Rickhouse in San Francisco. Dunn, who trained independently in Kyoto to acquire the skill, transformed a massive block of clear ice into a punch bowl–dominating globe in just under ten minutes. “Ice carving adds an element Cheryl Lins produces and personally delivers 200 bottles of her artisanal Walton Waters and Meadow of Love absinthes to retailers in New York. Lins’s friends initially didn’t like absinthe’s distinctive taste of anise, but after they started telling her “Hey, that’s good,” she obtained the necessary licenses and a local economic development grant and, in February 2009, started the business. These days her demand outstrips supply, thanks to enthusiastic reviews from the Wormwood Society, glowing press coverage and strong word of mouth. A new 180-liter still will soon allow her to increase production and expand to other spirits. Lins savors the fulfillment that comes with combining art and science to conjure something that people really enjoy—creating an esthetic experience. “Bar owners in New York City will tell me that people will come in and ask for a Delaware Phoenix! Now that’s pretty wild!” —Michael Roney 80 / the tasting panel / august 2010 of visual interest when I’m presenting the brand,” Dunn remarked. But the show didn’t stop there; using a smaller, cus- tom-designed ice pick, he then created orange-sized spheres that are intended to keep any spirit destined for an Old Fashioned glass at the correct dilution and temperature. Dunn’s signature Yamazaki cocktail, The One-Legged Mule, combines Campari, Averna, Yamazaki and ginger beer. Rickhouse General Manager Erick Castro got hands- on and picked up a few carving tips from Gardner, whose trade name could well be the “Ice Man.” —Deborah Parker Wong estled in the small Delaware River village of Walton, close below the green peaks of New York’s fabled Catskills Mountains, a kind of magic is taking Having a Ball PHOTO : DEBORAH PARKER WONG PHOTO: MICHAEL RONEY

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