MALTA — Dozens of community members braved the snowy weather Friday evening for a taste of the newly released Devil’s Den Moonshine at Brix Wine & Liquor in Malta.
The moonshine, a product of Saratoga Courage Distilling Company, is owner Serge Shishik’s second-ever spirit and is available in two flavors — apple pie and strawberry jam.
“Moonshine is fun, it’s exciting right now, it’s a fanciful name and it’s gaining in popularity,” said Shishik. “You can flavor it a lot of different ways, you can make your own moonshine and we did that ourselves with the flavors.”
Moonshine, also known as white whiskey, is a high-proof distilled spirit, typically made with corn mash as the main ingredient. While different areas of the country have their own versions of moonshine, Shishik said he wanted Devil’s Den to have a New York-feel to it.
“We wanted to make a moonshine that’s a New York moonshine, not like a southern, sweet moonshine. We don’t want to emulate them, we wanted it to be our own,” said Shishik. “With our apple pie flavor, we used a very New York-ish apple and we put some cinnamon in it. The strawberry jam is kind of a similar story. We used natural flavors and we developed a proprietary formulation for our flavor profile, to make our strawberry jam.”
Shishik says the strawberry jam flavor mixes well with club soda or lemonade, and is designed to be enjoyed year-round.
Saratoga Courage is a relatively new distillery located in Greenfield Center, nestled at the base of the Palmerton Mountain Range. Its historic location provided the perfect name for the moonshine, Devil’s Den.
“Devil’s Den is actually an area of the woods where the distillery is located,” said Shishik. “The distillery is actually at the base of the Palmerton Mountain Range — which one of the five ranges in the Adirondacks. There’s an area on the map, where the distillery is, and that’s called Devil’s Den. We kind of stumbled upon that and if you look at the label, we incorporated an old antique map that we found. That’s how we found the name and it fit quite nicely with the moonshine, so we went with it.”
The distillery quickly made a name for itself this summer with its first and popular spirit, Pick Six Vodka. Named after the exotic horse wager, the vodka is also six-times distilled, contributing to its name. Saratoga Courage partners with DeCrescente Distributing Company out of Mechanicville, to get both Pick Six Vodka and Devil’s Den Moonshine into local bars, restaurants and liquor stores.
“We’re going into stores every day,” said Shishik. “We’re available at Brix, Saratoga Wine & Spirits, Purdy’s, we get picked up daily by bars and restaurants.”
Shishik’s Pick Six Vodka was recently awarded a silver medal at the New York International Spirits Competition in New York City. Even more impressive, Pick Six Vodka was also named “New York State Vodka of the Year.” But don’t think Shishik is slowing down any time soon. Saratoga Courage hopes to extend its success with Devil’s Den Moonshine; both flavors, along with Pick Six Vodka, will be entered in an international competition in Berlin, Germany in March.
“We have a full plate right now, but we really want to do a bourbon,” said Shishik. “We’ve done a lot of research on bringing a dedicated bourbon still into the facility. To do that, we’d have to get some more buildings on our property. That’s kind of a long-term project, four or five years down the road.”
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