Two hours north of Manhattan in Ulster County, New York, sits the small town of Rosendale. For a long time Rosendale’s industry boomed due to a thriving cement industry, with much of the raw material for it coming from the Widow Jane mine. Shut down as a mine proper in 1970, the Widow Jane site now serves as a free and popular hiking spot, museum and even recording studio.
Sitting atop a natural aquifer, many of the abandoned mine’s cavernous sections are flooded with water. Bubbling up through limestone into sprawling galleries of rock this precious liquid is mineral rich and pure.
From this special site of provenance comes both the name and the unique take on bourbon of Widow Jane Distillery. Based in Brooklyn, Widow Jane source their bourbon from Kentucky in individual barrel selections, using water from the mine in the final proofing of their whiskey.
The final result? A bourbon that with every drop justifies its position at the more premium end of the market. Benefiting hugely from time in the glass, the nose is all classic sweet corn and vanilla with a hint of raisins beneath, unfolding into more vanilla on the palate and some delicious notes of orange. The finish is full flavoured, longer and more lingering than any bourbon I have ever tasted.
For a delicious and Empire State themed take on the Widow Jane try a New York Sour. Originating in Chicago before becoming much more famously associated with New York, this is in my opinion a more interesting and visually spectacular version of a Whiskey Sour. Shake 2 shots of bourbon, 1 shot of lemon juice, half a shot of simple syrup and a dash of bitters before pouring over ice in a glass. Next pour just less than a shot of red wine (think Shiraz) over the back of a spoon into the glass. Finally saunter back to your seat followed by admiring and jealous eyes on your drink, and enjoy!