This joint distills the essence of Brooklyn — into gin

The Brooklyn Paper
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If one could distill the essence of Brooklyn, it would probably taste like Brad Estabrooke’s gin.

Estabrooke’s Breuckelen Distillery will open its long-awaited Sunset Park-based distillery for tours and tastings on Aug. 1, adding a much-needed jolt to Brooklyn’s spirit world.

The venture is part of a trend of several microdistilleries, from Kings County Distillery’s moonshine and bourbon operation in East Williamsburg to Tom Potter’s New York Distilling Company in Greenpoint, which will soon make rye and gin.

For Estabrooke, gin is where the money is.

“It’s a great and much more interesting spirit than vodka,” said Estabrooke. “Vodka is supposed to be neutral, tasteless and odorless. Who wants to drink that?”

Breuckelen’s smooth spirit tastes remarkably different from commercial brands for two reasons: Estabrooke makes his own gin from scratch using New York State wheat and uses only five botanicals to flavor his gin, as opposed to the 15 or so ingredients that global conglomerates use.

“There’s no way you can pick out the flavors in commercial gins,” said Estabrooke. “We’re using Juniper berries, lemon peel, grapefruit peel, ginger, and rosemary.”

This month, oenophiles and spirit lovers can visit the Breuckelen factory on 19th Street just off Third Avenue and taste the difference themselves. The factory will offer bottles for sale at $35 and three samples to choose from: the predistilled wheat spirit, the finished gin, and a gin and tonic medley using a splash of Brooklyn’s own Q Tonic.

Estabrooke hopes Brooklyn’s demanding palates will embrace the spirits coming from the microdistillery craze. He takes his straight with a twist of lemon.

“It’s because of the way we distilled the wheat which gives it a smoother, rounder fuller flavor,” said Estabrooke. “It’s not a sip of Beefeater.”

We’ll take ours shaken or stirred (or any way we can get it).

Breuckelen Distilling Company [77 19th St. west of Third Avenue in Sunset Park, (347) 725-4985]. Opens Aug. 1 at noon. For info,

Updated 4:40 pm, July 27, 2010
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