This is no ordinary tale; this is a tale of ‘heads’ and ‘hearts’ and how one man ensures the satisfaction of both after entering his establishment. Gable Erenzo, former distiller and brand ambassador for Hudson Whiskey and current owner of the Gardiner Liquid Mercantile, is getting back to his roots of distilling and fermenting once again. In an interview alongside his small farm distillery, I was granted a firsthand encounter of the refining process of his handcrafted Eau de Vies, and oh divine it was. Encouraged to start his own business through reforms made by the Craft Beverage Act of New York, Gable has created a niche in our small town of Gardiner that is truly special.
The Craft Beverage Act of New York changed the scene for Craft Beverage Producers as we know it. Largely advocated by Gable’s father and owner of Tuthilltown Spirits, Ralph Erenzo, this act allows for small distillers to expand and develop their business with time. As Governor Cuomo put it, “...This new law builds upon this administration’s ongoing efforts to promote this industry by ...reducing burdensome regulations and removing artificial barriers that stifled growth.” It was this act that greatly encouraged Gable to pursue his passion and explore the capabilities of a farm bar in Gardiner, NY.
During my time with Gable, Strawberry Eau de Vie was making its way through the distilling process, and after sampling some of the Mercantile’s handmade spirits, I was thirsty for a behind the scenes look. Gable’s current still operates on Dressel Farms within a mere 289 square feet of one of their cider warehouses. As we walked towards the still at work, Gable explained the crucial difference between ‘heads’ and ‘hearts’. I was able to taste and smell the severe flavor characterized by ‘heads’ and the distinction between the finished, bottled and labeled product reminiscent of it's fruit, known as ‘hearts’. Gable explains that one of his passions was always fruit and he emphasizes that “... there is a symbiotic relationship with what they are doing at Dressel's and with what I want to do.” Naturally, the Mercantile’s Eau de Vie claims fruit from the farm that is deemed ‘overly ripe’ and would normally go to compost. And this is just one way that the Mercantile brings local elements to the forefront.
Both the bar and kitchen at the Gardiner Liquid Mercantile emphasize homemade spirits and ‘nosh’, craft preparation and local products. In fact, much of the herbs utilized in the tavern’s cocktails and fare grow in the restaurant’s backyard garden cultivated by Executive Chef, Patricia Lowden. Likewise, the bar and tavern headed by Zoli Rozen claims it’s own house-made commodities comprising of shrubs, syrups, Liqueurs and Eau de Vies. While homemade products are not for sale yet, the Mercantile does carry local spirits, wines and ciders unique to the Hudson Valley that are available daily. So whether you’re looking for great company, are in the mood for a handcrafted, mouthwatering cocktail or are seeking some of the most delicious eats in the area, we know just the place.
To learn more about the Gardiner Liquid Mercantile, visit their website at www.gardinerliquidmercantile.com.
Pictures and article by:
LACE Photo Media