As a relatively new brand on the market, Uncle Tim’s Cocktails team consists of a small group of hardworking individuals. This growing cocktail brand relies on local businesses to create their quality, craft cocktails. State 38 Distilling has been a wonderful partner through this experience and has provided some insight into their products. We sat down with Maddie Hoffmann, Manager of Production for Uncle Tim’s Cocktails to talk about the process of creating these bottled, craft cocktails.
So Maddie, you make all of our bottled, craft cocktails. Can you tell us more about that process?
Maddie: The first things to consider are what is needed at that time, what’s the time of year, what are we low on, and what’s selling more than others. I usually start there. I check our current inventory versus our sales and come up with a formula for how big I want to make the batch and how I want to divide the batch into our different size bottles. Using the formula I’ve created has helped me dial in how big of a batch I want to make for each of our flavors.
In order to make a batch, we have all the different spirits and ingredients we use in our cocktails in individual bulk drums and barrels. I take a look at the recipe and get the exact number of what I need that batch to yield.
Once I have myself organized, I pull the barrels off the pallets and I extract the exact amount of spirit necessary to create that bottled cocktail. For example, I made our Classic Manhattan this week, I knew I didn’t need much of it so I dialed down the batch. I took out our bourbon barrels and pulled our bourbon. Then I added the sweet vermouth and our bitters to the bourbon. This cocktail is very simple and classic, and a pretty easy one for me to make. From there, The batch is cut with water to get it to the right proof and the perfect taste.
After the batch is cut, it’s strained through a cheesecloth. Then, it is filtered through a filter that contains finely woven borosilicate glass fibers that have a natural positive ionic charge to get any of the charcoal sediment from the barrel out of it. After the cocktail is filtered and strained, it’s ready to be bottled.
So everything we sell in-house is produced by you?
Maddie: Yep, I am the manager of production, so the batching, bottling, labeling, forecasting, and inventory are all done by me. I wouldn’t be able to do this all on my own without the support and feedback from our owner Tim as well as our other employees. A lot of our employees who work markets and private events give me imperative feedback on what is popular and what we might need more of. Tim helps out a lot, he’s always there to reassure me when I get stressed. It definitely takes the whole team for me to get our product dialed in. Our quality is of utmost importance to us, so it's thanks to everybody on our team that I’m able to carry out my individual process.
So tell us about how we use State 38 Distilling products in our bottled, craft cocktails.
Maddie: Our main utilization of State 38 Distilling products is through their Peat Smoked Whisky. It’s a beautiful product that we use in our Smoked Manhattan. Very similar to scotch but made here in the US, it’s a really unique product that they provide. The whisky is the star of the show in this cocktail. We couple it with a little bit of vermouth and cherry liqueur to balance the cocktail, but we really let that smokiness shine through. It’s one of our most complex, and in my opinion, one of our best cocktails, because of the love and unique process State 38 Distilling puts into that Peat Smoked Whisky.
Do we use State 38 Distilling spirits in any other ways?
Maddie: We do, we have an extensive specialty cocktail menu that we offer in our tasting room and at private events in our warehouse location. We use their Damn Smooth Vodka in a few different ways. It’s very popular among customers who enjoy a Moscow mule or a vodka soda. It’s a staple for us and we hope to continue to create cocktails with it.
We also use their Hacedor spirit, it’s a slightly aged agave spirit. We’ve used it in our most popular cocktail this summer, the hibiscus margarita. People love the agave spirit not only in the margarita but also in a mule or used with a soda. This is a great product coming out of State 38 Distilling, I highly suggest heading over to their tasting room in Golden, CO. Don’t walk, run.
State 38 Distilling
Uncle Tim’s Cocktails also sat down with Don Hammond, Owner and Managing Partner, of the State 38 Distilling team to talk about the inner workings of creating their high-quality products.
Can you give us the inside scoop on the Peat Smoked Whisky? What’s unique about it?
Don: If a Colorado whisky met a Scotch from Islay, that would be State 38 Distilling’s Peat Smoked Whisky. State 38 uses three different barleys, two from Colorado and one from Scotland. The peat smoked barley from Scotland is malted by Baird's at their malting house in Inverness Scotland. We also distill on the grain to provide a much greater flavor characteristic in terms of aroma and taste. The nose of our State 38 Peat Smoked Whisky provides subtle notes of pear with a light peat smoke....just like grandpa's smoking jacket. Your initial taste provides notes of grilled pear and an extinguished campfire progressing into a pleasant finish of dry toasted bread with a hint of pear.
What about your Agave Spirit and Vodka? What sets them apart?
Don: State 38 Distilling is proud to offer three different spirit lines. Our Hacedor Agave spirits are the foundation of our distillery. We have been making agave spirits longer than any other spirits in our lineup....10 years. We source our blue weber agave from Jalisco, Mexico and we ferment, distill, and barrel age those spirits right here in Golden, CO. The lineup includes the traditional Blanco and Reposado which obtains its unique flavor characteristics from being aged in State 38 Bourbon whiskey barrels for 9-12 months, and with our Anejo, we break the traditional Tequila rules and age our Anejo in a new oak barrel (as opposed to a used Bourbon barrel) to provide a very unique and fun fusion of Whiskey and Tequila.
Our third product line is our Damn Smooth spirits. The Damn Smooth Vodka is just that.....damn smooth. Our Vodka is double distilled and then charcoal filtered with activated carbon from coconut husks. This provides a uniquely clean and sweet flavor characteristic to the final product.
Try Our High-Quality Products
If you’re intrigued to try out some of Denver’s highest quality spirits and cocktails, produced by Uncle Tim’s Cocktails and State 38 Distilling, your opportunity has arrived. Stop by Uncle Tim’s Cocktails from 7-8 pm every third Thursday before the Don’t Tell Comedy shows to get an exclusive tasting experience with the State 38 Distilling team. Or, stop by either tasting room.