Catoctin Creek Distillery
A family-owned distillery is in Loudoun County.
Catoctin Creek Distillery is a local treasure, a well-respected, family-owned distillery located in Purcellville, Va. I'd love to recount a romantic or complex web of events that led to its creation. Instead, I'll be honest: the owners were simply bored, and they transitioned from government contracting and home brewing to Catoctin. A humble origin, but a very happy result.
Over the past few months, I've noticed more and more of the company's bottles at local bars – a few in Washington – and at most area liquor stores.
Intrigued, I visited the small distillery for a look-see and a tasting. I sampled three of Catoctin’s small batch organic offerings: the Mosby's Spirit, described as a legal form of moonshine with hints of black pepper and citrus; the Roundstone Rye, an enjoyably smooth whisky and also their biggest seller; and the Watershed Gin, a complex and floral spirit – the recipe evokes Loudoun County's diverse botanicals.
Open since 2009, Catoctin Creek is owned by husband and wife Scott and Becky Harris. It's the first distillery to grace Loudoun County since before prohibition and is already selling its products in seven states. Greg – assistant distiller and tour guide – estimated that the distillery will sell 30,000 to 40,000 bottles of liquor this year alone!
Three seasonal brandies (not included in the tasting) are also produced by Catoctin Creek; one of the spirits, a peach brandy, is currently aging in barrels. With a taste described as comparable to peach cobbler, I can hardly wait to get my hands on it (but may have to wait several months to do so). Catoctin also produces a grape brandy, scheduled for fall release, and offers a pear brandy labeled "Pearousia".
Overall, I enjoyed all three of the liquors I sampled. I also managed to pick up a bottle of barrel-aged (the barrels were used for Catoctin Creek's rye whisky) maple syrup from Langdon Wood that I can't wait to use as a cocktail ingredient, or as Greg suggested, drizzled over ice cream. Be sure to check out the Catoctin Creek website for cocktail inspiration using their liquor offerings as ingredients.