Recently Nina Gibbs and I, headed over to Six and Twenty Distillery in Pelzer for a little tasting experience. The whiskey makers are pairing some of their signature drinks with recipes from Southern Living’s new cookbook, Country Music’s Greatest Eats: Showstopping Recipes and Riffs from Country’s Biggest Stars, which is our selection for our Gap Creek Gourmet Cookbook Review Party this Sunday. I asked her to whip up a guest post for us. What a way to introduce her to the masses, right?
Today I had the pleasure of meeting two of the most hospitable and talented distillers I have ever met. I first enjoyed their delicious spirits at Euphoria Greenville 2013’s Food Truck Rodeo, and I immediately bought a bottle of the blue label.
Farmer Redmond and his wife Maureen, co-owners of Six and Twenty Distillery in Pelzer, South Carolina, took us on the grand tour of the facility and explained the step-by-step process they use to create their Carolina Virgin Wheat and new Old Money-aged virgin wheat.
They still carry The Blue, which is a their virgin wheat blended with aged bourbon. “Bourbon is so expensive now because everyone is buying it and slapping one of their own labels on it. That’s what makes it so hard to come by,” Maureen tells us sadly, and so they will no longer be making it. But, the Old Money, only available at the distillery, quickly has become a new favorite. Farmer says, “It’s best with a little cream soda.” Since cream soda is my favorite kind of fizzy beverage, I knew what I’d be having this weekend!
Maureen Redmond led the tour while Farmer took an important phone call. First she showed me the wheat berries they use, which they purchase locally from the Grain Elevator in Anderson, SC. Then they take them to be ground down at a mill in Greer.
Now it’s time for the magic to happen. They put the wheat into these vats and let them ferment. In the first batch, that was just made today, the yeast has risen and it has a doughy smell.
The second batch beside it has settled a little and you can see less flatulence.
The third batch has been sitting for four days and smells like beer. The next stage is to put it in the distiller for the alcohol to separate.
The final product is then transferred into a fine oak barrel and stored until it is ready.
When Maureen was done showing me around the facility, I was ready for a little sampling of their Whiskey Jammers, which were concocted at their facility by the bartender at Soby’s.
Many types of Jammers and whiskey tastings later we made our way to the front of the store where Farmer introduced us to Old Money. Farmer says Old Money tastes like chocolate on the front and toffee on the back. Maureen says it tastes like chocolate oatmeal. I could actually taste each of the flavors and it lingered on your taste buds for a while. Farmer also told me the story of his great great uncle, Major Lewis Redmond, a legendary Oconee County Moonshiner who was pardoned from prison to work in a government distillery. Then, we went into Farmer’s office where he introduced us to one of his favorite bands Seven Handle Circus, which coincidentally features his whiskey in their YouTube music videos. I highly recommend taking one of their distillery tours on the weekend. They sent me home with a few bottles and ideas for mixed drinks to be paired with dishes at our next Cookbook Review Party.