BENNINGTON — Bennington’s known for a tall tale or two — whether it’s John Stark exhorting his men with the inspiration of his beloved Molly, strange creatures haunting Glastenbury Mountain, or Shirley Jackson bringing a haunted house to life.
This particular story? It starts on Depot Street, and travels to Saint Albans and back before landing in a glass.
Fable Gin, the first limited-release spirit offered by Village Garage Distillery, is getting its official launch Friday with an afternoon and evening of music, food, cocktails and fun.
Between noon and 3 p.m., Village Garage will have food specials, drink specials including cocktails made with Fable Gin, and music by Ray Gifford. There will also be a raffle in which bottles No. 1, 2 and 3 of the release — of which only 586 bottles are being sold, for $47.70 including tax — will be up for grabs.
The party starts all over again Friday night with Nashville singer-songwriter and Bennington native Carly Rogers performing, starting at 8:30 p.m.
What’s the story with Village Fable? As distiller Ryan Scheswohl explained, it’s a Vermont collaboration, and “a bit of a complicated process.”
The spirit starts with Village Garage Gin and St. Albans-based Groennfell Meadery’s Winter Warmer Spiced Blood Orange Mead. The gin was distilled and barrel-aged at Village Garage, while Groennfell Meadery aged its Winter Warmer mead — made with blood oranges, Vermont honey and spices such as clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla — in oak bourbon barrels that Village Garage shared with the meadery.
The oak barrels absorbed all those flavors and aromas from the mead. When the barrels came back to Bennington, the gin went in, giving it “all the beautiful flavors in the wood itself,” Scheswohl said.
The gin was then cask-finished in Bennington, with an infusion of local honey as part of blending it down from barrel proof to the 94-proof spirit being sold in the bottle.
As for the results? The blood orange is up front in the tasting profile, and the winter spices reveal themselves on the back end. It’s definitely complex; a second or third sip as it warms reveals more of the spice notes. And there’s a warming sensation, fitting for the season.
How to use such a complex gin? Scheswohl said it can be enjoyed neat or over ice. For cocktail enthusiasts, the distillery will be handing out recipe cards showing you how to make the drinks on the menu.