Something exciting is happening in the small New Hampshire village of Tamworth.
We’ve spoken before of our affinity for Art in the Age spirits — it’s a Philly institution, after all — but over the past few years, AITA has grown a solid following in this Northern outpost, thanks to the opening of the Tamworth Lyceum, a coffee shop, mercantile, and performance space all rolled into one. Since it opened, the Lyceum has been an essential stop for me whenever I find myself travelling home, to pick up a gift, grab a coffee, and chat with the good friends that make this place what it is.
In a world that feels increasingly filled with cookie cutter replicas, it’s refreshing to find spirits that have struck out on their own. Those who aren’t afraid to follow passions, to experiment, to try something new and do something different. Even more so when those passions collide to bring something truly special to the surrounding community and beyond. Over the past couple of years, the Lyceum has begun to grow, both in popularity and size and it has become evident that a master plan is slowly but steadily coming to fruition. After preserving a section of the long-empty-but-historic Tamworth Inn, in the winter of 2014 Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile — a farm-to-bottle test-distillery in the mountains of New Hampshire — was born.
I’ve been following news of the Distillery closely, and on my most recent trip home for the holidays, I had the opportunity to see the operation up close. Driving along the familiar back roads of New Hampshire, snow flurried against my windshield as I made my way to that lovely, historic village. Rounding the bend, the Lyceum comes into view first, it’s small lot filled with local and not-so-local license plates. A little further down the road, another cluster of buildings grabs your attention. Perfectly preserved, gorgeously built, this is where the Distillery, barrel house, and botanical kitchen call home, and — eventually — where an inn will welcome visitors from near and far.
Edge past the tractor. Navigate a snowbank. I’m greeted at the door by Jamie Oakes, who ushers me inside and into the warmth created by the stills. A tell-tale, spicy aroma wafts through the air. The kind of scent familiar to those who grew up around apple orchards and New England fall festivals: fermenting apple cider. After a tour of the stills, which are busy making applejack (a historic libation crafted from cider), we head back into the crisp, early winter air and head down to the barrel house, a renovated barn that houses — you guessed it — barrels of what will eventually be New Hampshire whiskey. While it will be a few years until the whiskey is ready, I was introduced to the perfect cocktail for a chilly New Year’s Eve that uses some of that same, late-season, New Hampshire apple cider. Read on for more images from this incredible place, and be sure to scroll down for the recipe. It’s the perfect thing to enjoy around a bonfire while you ring in 2015.
Above: Graffiti from the ’80s, the only evidence that the barrel house underwent its incredible transformation.
Above: bottles in the Botanical Kitchen, where local flora becomes flavor.
The (Spiced Up) Farmer’s Daughter
2 parts Art in the Age SNAP
3/4 parts lemon juice
Spiced cider to taste (recipe below)
Lemon zest & cinnamon sticks to garnish
Spiced Mulled Cider
1/2 gallon local, late-season apple cider (late-season cider is sweeter and has a stronger flavor)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
2 cinnamon sticks
Honey to taste
To make the spiced cider: Combine all ingredients in a pot and heat on medium until hot, but not boiling. Allow to simmer for about ten minutes. Adjust ingredients to taste. If we’re being honest, I tend to not measure any of the ingredients and just throw everything together, adjusting the measurements as needed. A little honey there, a little more cayenne… it’s a hard recipe to mess up. This is amazing served hot, but can also be chilled.
Once you’ve made the spiced cider, combine with the ingredients for the Farmer’s Daughter, above, in a glass. Mix and serve. This can be served chilled, or hot, which I recommend if you plan on spending your New Year’s Eve around a campfire (recommended).
More recipe posts from BLDG 25