¬†Yesterday, I took Great Lakes Distillery's Doug MacKenzie up on an offer to visit the Capitol Drive area distillery and be among one of the first in town to taste his first attempt at making grappa.
While Great Lakes has rapidly made its name with great vodka and gin that bear the name of owner Guy Rehorst, anyone who has met MacKenzie can immediately see that he's a guy with fire (water) in his eyes. He's got distilling in his blood -- although not when he's driving -- and he's eager to try his hand at new spirits, many of which will likely get added to Rehorst's product line.
Great Lakes is the first licensed distillery in the state since Prohibition -- another has opened since, in Hudson --¬† so, it seems fairly safe to say that MacKenzie's grappa -- distilled from Wisconsin-grown Marechal Foch and Millot grapes -- is the city's first commercial grappa and likely the first in Wisconsin.
With a pleasing nose and a fruity attack, this is a smooth grappa that could use a little boost on the finish, but is satisfying and delicious. It's definitely an auspicious start.
Once Great Lakes gains government approval for the grappa and for the label, MacKenzie hopes to have 100-plus bottles out to retailers in the area. They will most likely arrive sometime in spring. So keep your eyes out for it and stay tuned to OnMilwaukee.com and we'll let you know when it's coming.
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