It has been an absurd few months here at the distillery – hence, my lack of blogging. From inspections, to architectural amendments, to stalking the NYC Dept of Buildings, to professional mistakes — it has been a wild ride. I have learned SO much about how to manage (or not manage) construction in NYC as well as so many things about myself personally (how to be more patient?). Hopefully, one day I will find the time to write a full book about my experiences once I have really had a proper time to reflect on the past 9 months.
Finally, after all the BS, we have a functioning boiler (not without a near death explosion though – of course, why wouldn’t that have happened?)! And, therefore (need-less-to-say) I have started cookin’ up some rum this past week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have so far created a number of rum mashes – essentially cooked up some ingredients in order to prepare for the fermentation process. After the mashing process, the ‘juice’ was pumped into the fermentation tanks so the yeast can go to town on eating those sugars and producing ethanol (what we drink!). I’m currently in the midst of making another mash as we speak. Tomorrow, we will pump the initial fermented wash into the copper pot still and conduct our very first rum distillation. I am beyond excited that we will have our rum ready for drinking within the next 2 weeks!
I’m having so much fun learning the ins and outs of the equipment and I’m confident I will learn to perfect my own technique as I develop a distilling style unique to TNE NYC. Even though it’s overall very exciting, it’s been an adjustment getting used to full on manual labor. I’ve been working long days driving a fork lift, lifting and dumping drums, tightening fittings, pumping hoses, washing/scrubbing down tanks and floors, learning new tools (plug wrenches, hydrometers, density meters, graduated cylinders, etc) – my hands are ripped up and full of new calluses. Not to mention we don’t have AC so basically just been layered in dirt and sweat. Sure is a lot different than my old business casual, air conditioned office with mahogany desk and Bloomberg screens…
I’m expecting to be full of new muscles within the next few months
Net/net so far so good. The distillery smells amazing – the fermenting molasses and sugars are delightful. I am really pumped to perform my first distillation tomorrow on Cleo the Still. Hoping it goes relatively seamless although expecting there to be a learning curve. It’s going to take a little time to get my grove on with the whole process from start to finish. However, I’m aiming to be drinking mojitos with our rum by next weekend.
Stay tuned for way more regular updates now that we are on the move. I have pictures of the finished distillery, our bottles, and other goodies to come this week as we begin our soft launch. CANNOT WAIT TO TASTE THE FIRST DELICIOUS SIP!