Spirits Rise

Spirits Rise

Sipping a Dry Fly A tasteful presentation

  • By: Tom Keer
  • Photography by: Emily Lilienthal

Click image for slideshow.

j It comes as no surpriseto any angler that great things come from standing in a trout stream. In the case of the Spokane, Washington-based Dry Fly Distilling, the idea to launch a brand of vodka, gin, whiskey and bourbon was hatched while standing knee-deep in the Gallatin River. A pair of fly-fishing friends, Kent Fleischmann and Don Poffenroth, launched the company. They hired the uniquely talented distiller/angler Patrick Donovan and created a product that showcased their love of the outdoors and fly-fishing. Their company roots reflect a perfect presentation, right down to their name.
The contents of every award-winning Dry Fly Distilling spirit are made from locally grown grains from sustainable farms. According to Fleischmann, “We use pot stills designed by Christian Carl from Groppingen, Germany. Our company is a true micro-distillery that produces between 9,000 and 15,000 cases annually. Because of our relatively small quantities we’re able to control the quality and the quantity of our product.
“In a way, our company is identical to fly-fishing,” Fleischmann added. “We patiently work to remove any of the negative qualities that are associated with large-scale distillers. We study our environment and the grains that come from it. We test and practice, we adapt and change, and when we’re ready to launch a product we make our cast. Dry Fly Distilling has won a tremendous number of awards over the years, but like fly-fishing we’re always up for new challenges. Our goal is to stay small and focused. That way we can still get out and fish.”
p>Washington Wheat Vodka
Dry Fly burst onto the scene with this, their first product. They take their time and triple distill each batch, with one stripping run and two rectifying runs. The result is a spirit that has a tremendous amount of character, and is visually clear with a sweet, buttery nose. Swirl a glass and you’ll see a viscous fluid. Sip it and you’ll experience lingering flavors that leave a clean taste on your palate. $35.99 for 750ml.

Washington Dry Gin
The history of gin goes back to the Middle Ages. Dry Fly Distillers creates theirs by using their vodka as a base, then interrupting the vapor path as it passes from the still to the condenser. Just the volatile oils remain, and the end result is their gin. You’ll experience a wide variety of flavors—such as apple and lavender—and you’ll also get a hint of citrus that comes from renderings with hops. $39.99 for 750ml.

Washington Bourbon 101
Word on the street is that the Washington Bourbon 101 just won a coveted double gold medal/Best of Show award, to be announced in the near future. All of the grain used in the 101 comes from the west slope of the Spokane River, and it’s a 60% corn/40% barley-and-wheat combination. There is an initial spicy taste that is followed by a sweetness and a soft finish. Aged in new American oak casks, it’s no surprise that the bourbon sells out quickly. $64.99 for 375ml.

Straight Triticale Whiskey and Rye Wheat Hybrid
Upland hunters frequently look for game birds feeding on triticale, and for good reason: The grain is nature’s hybrid of rye and wheat. Dry Fly Distillers uses triticale for their new whiskey, and the result is a smooth taste with hints of grass and oak. Drink it straight or mix it in a cocktail; you’ll be sure to taste the great outdoors. $35.99 for 375ml.

Recipes courtesy Gordon Hamersley
For 25 years, James Beard Foundation award winner Gordon Hamersley has been the chef and co-owner of Hamersley’s Bistro, in Boston’s South End. Gordon is a respected cooking teacher and mentor to many aspiring chefs. Hamersley’s Bistro receives frequent accolades in the press, is consistently rated as one of Boston’s top 10 restaurants in Zagat’s, and has been inducted into the Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame.
Gordon is currently part of several environmental groups that help protect New England’s vast natural resources, and he’s a long-time member of Trout Unlimited and The Ruffed Grouse Society.


The Bonfire
Tim Hardin
Bartender, Hamersley’s Bistro, Boston, Massachusetts

1 ounce bourbon
1 ounce Belle de Brillet
1 ½ ounces Amaretto

Shake vigorously and serve up either in a martini glass or over ice.

Trout Fisherman’s Release
Carolyn Ownbey and Jason Hanelt
Hamersley’s Bistro
1 1⁄2 ounces gin
1 ounce Port
1 ounce fresh orange juice
1 whole egg
juniper berries
orange ice cubes
singed rosemary branch

Combine the gin, port, orange juice and egg in a shaker; shake vigorously.

To serve, strain over orange ice cubes, and garnish with juniper berries, orange slices and rosemary branch.