GrandTen and Bully Boy Distilleries Join Boozy Forces With ‘The Godfather’
Early next year, craft cocktails built with Wire Works Gin, Fire Puncher Vodka, and the rest of GrandTen Distilling’s arsenal of handcrafted spirits and cordials will be available direct from the source, when Bar 383 opens to the public. In the meantime, the small-batch distillers are making sure you’re well-drunk in the comfort of your own home.
GrandTen has released a bottled cocktail, The Godfather, a barreled blend of Bully Boy Distillers’ whiskey and its own Amandine cordial, plus a touch of house-made, black walnut bitters. The Godfather is GrandTen’s first foray into ready-to-drink beverages, and it has been aging at its South Boston distillery for a full year. It’s unrelated to Bully Boy’s bottled releases, which launched this fall with a classic Old Fashioned.
GrandTen also makes a South Boston Irish Whiskey, but cofounder Matt Nuernberger said collaborating with another likeminded, local boozemaker helps his mission to turn spirit drinkers onto craft products. “It’s about competing against the larger brands,” he said. It follows co-productions with breweries including Trillium and John Harvard’s Brew House in Cambridge.
The GrandTen/Bully Boy Godfather is a nuttier take on the classic, which simply calls for Scotch and amaretto. Perhaps nontraditional, Nuernberger says Bully Boy’s subtly spicy, sweet American whiskey is well-suited for the Godfather, and GrandTen’s Amandine brings smooth, pure almond flavor to the drink, woodier than the leading amaretto on the market. Just add ice; a fireside lounge is optional.
When GrandTen approached Bully Boy about collaborating, “we went back and forth a bit trying to figure out something that kept the playing field level, that wasn’t just one of our products slightly flavored with someone else’s product. We felt the Godfather was a delicious cocktail that highlighted both our products,” Nuernberger said.
Nuernberger launched GrandTen Distilling in 2011, in part inspired by the craft brewing landscape. The Godfather is the craft distillery’s answer to beer to-go. “As a beer drinker, you crack the bottle open, maybe pour it into a glass. For the most part, it’s how the brewer intended its product to be consumed. With spirits, it’s not necessarily that way,” he said. “Maybe some people can make delicious home cocktails, but others could have no idea what they’re doing. They’re turned off a little bit from spirits because their cocktails aren’t delicious, because they were never taught or spent the time to learn how to make a proper cocktails.”
Since the outset, GrandTen has aimed to assist its customers with a lengthy list of classic and concocted libations on its website. But the bottled cocktail makes it even easier for the consumer. “Everyone knows how to open a beer. This makes our products ready to go,” Nuernberger said.
The Godfather is a very limited release, and it’s the only bottled cocktail GrandTen has on the immediate horizon, Nuernberger said. The company is waiting to see how it’s received before it plans other ready-to-drink products or collaborations. Besides, the main priority of early 2016 is opening Bar 383, the on-site cocktail bar at its distillery.
Following a successful IndieGogo crowdfunding campaign this spring, the approximately 1,600-square foot space is in the final throes of construction, and a January debut is likely, Nuernberger said. Again, looking to the craft industry’s beer contemporaries, Bar 383 will give visitors the opportunity to try new products feet away from where they were made. The former tasting room, located at the entrance of the distillery has been renovated with the requisite plumbing and refrigeration, plus a 12-seat bar and 20 additional seats at high-top and farm tables.
GrandTen’s permits to serve alcohol are in place, and when it opens, Bar 383 will offer a simplified cocktail menu crafted only with liqueurs made in-house, juices, syrups, and non-potable bitters. Expect a few Old Fashioneds, gin and tonic, mules, and the like. Bar 383 will be open Thursday and Friday evenings, plus all day on Saturday and Sunday.
Can’t wait for it to open? Get a taste of GrandTen’s mixology with the Godfather, available at about a dozen retailers in from West Roxbury to Whitinsville, as well as at GrandTen Distilling and Bully Boy Distillers. The 750-mL bottle retails for about $30.
GrandTen Distilling, 383 Dorchester Ave., Boston; 617-269-0497 or grandten.com.