The King of Kings County

World Whiskey Day, has come and gone, but we thought we’d take a look at some of the stunning whiskeys made a little closer to home. As part of our Regional Spotlight on New York producers, we spoke with Jennifer Blair, a marketing specialist for Kings County Distillery, to get a perspective on being the oldest operational distillery in the five boroughs.

Founded in 2010, Kings County Distillery is the oldest operational whiskey distillery in the five boroughs and the first whiskey distillery to open in the city since prohibition. Working from a historic location in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Kings County produces award-winning bourbon, American single malt, and an evolving selection of unaged and experimental whiskies. As a New York State Farm and Craft Distillery, Kings County operates under exacting standards of production designed to further ideas of sustainability and mindfulness in the fine spirits industry. “It's a unique and rewarding experience to operate as a NYC business in this very particular time for the hospitality industry and beyond,” Blair said. “We are proud of our identity as a local spirits brand and love doing our bit to keep the city going. This past year we've hosted virtual events, donated hand sanitizer to community organizers, and served up more to-go cocktails than we can count. We are New Yorkers for life and, simply put, we do what we have to do when we have to do it!”

The newest addition to our shelves at Greene Grape is King's County Distillery's Empire Rye. “Empire Rye is the distinct whiskey style of New York State. Now a federally-recognized category, Empire Rye began as a collaborative effort between six New York distilleries with the goal of creating a unique standard for whiskey production in the region. Kings County Empire Rye is an annual allocated release featuring a mashbill of 80% organic New York State rye and 20% malted barley Kings County Distillery is a founding partner in the Empire Rye project.” There's more to say about Empire Rye than can fit in a blog post, of course, but you can read more about it here

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Kings County Empire Straight Rye Whiskey — With notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, maple, mint and cut grass with a finish of fresh baked bread and holiday spice. This is a more flavourful rye than some of its commercial peers.  

Kings County Peated Bourbon Whiskey  Toasted and warm there are notes of hot pretzels, slightly bitter baker’s chocolate, old leather, and hard candies on the palate. Full bodied and rich with a fairly prominent tannin structure, peat is nuanced throughout. Complex and unique this is a must have for any whiskey aficionado. Enjoy straight or as a Scotch replacement in your favorite smoky cocktail. 

Kings County Straight Bourbon  Bitter and young aromas with hints of vanilla and caramel reminiscent of a ready Manhattan cocktail. Sweet, loud and vanilla-forward palate with notes of cinnamon, fruits and butterscotch.

Looking for some creative ways to incorporate these outstanding spirits? Jennifer shared some of her favorite recipes for easy cocktails to recreate at home. 


Glass: Rocks glass
2 oz Kings County Distillery Peated Bourbon
1 oz honey-ginger syrup (see below)
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice

Method: Combine all ingredients in tin, shake well to combine and chill. Double strain into a rocks glass that's been seasoned with Kings County Single Malt (or any single malt you like) over fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon twist and an additional spritz or float of single malt. 

Honey-Ginger Syrup For Penicillin
200g fresh ginger (sliced into thin coins)
550g honey
550g water

Add ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 1 hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool (keep covered). Transfer mixture to quart containers (ginger included) and refrigerate. Allow to sit overnight. The following day, strain through chinois.

Empire Rye Sazerac

Glass: Rocks glass
2 oz Kings County Distillery Empire Rye
1 sugar cube
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Absinthe of choice

Method: Muddle the sugar cube and bitters in a mixing glass. Add whiskey, ice, and stir. Strain into a chilled glass rinsed with absinthe.

Garnish: Express a lemon peel over the surface and use as a garnish.

Whiskey Sour

Glass: Rocks glass
2 oz Kings County Distillery Straight Bourbon
1 egg white
1⁄2 oz lemon luice
3⁄4 oz orange luice
3⁄4 oz simple syrup

Method: Add ingredients to a mixing tin. Dry shake (without ice). Add ice and shake vigorously. Double strain over fresh ice.

Garnish: 3 dashes of bitters (drizzle artfully over the foam)