Distilling history is back in Lebanon: Hidden Still Spirits

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It’s been more than 25 years since Lebanon has had a distillery to call its own. Michter’s, a mainstay in the community, had been open for 253 years before closing its doors in 1989.

Michter’s was so famous that when George Washington — yes that GW — wanted whiskey for his army during the long winter in Valley Forge, he went to Lebanon.

Bourbon tip: Michter’s was the oldest distillery at the time of closing. The brand is still being produced by a distiller in Kentucky who knew they had to keep the name alive.

Now, Hidden Still Spirits is trying to bring back the glory days of distilling in Lebanon County.

hidden still

It will be a little while before anyone comes calling to this distillery for some whiskey, but it’s worth a trip to check out the three spirits they offer currently.

hidden still

On top of the craft liquor, which they feature in all of their cocktails, Hidden Still also boasts a unique atmosphere with local quality hand-crafted food.

The Liquor:

Mad Crayfish Vodka (80 proof) is made with 80 percent locally grown corn and 20 percent malted barley that makes for an extremely smooth sweet vodka. I’m usually not a vodka drinker, but this would be perfect on the rocks.

hidden still

Suggested drink:

Mad Crayfish Vodka with half of a crushed grapefruit, grapefruit juice and sugar around the rim. It was good but I would have liked a whole fresh grapefruit as opposed to just the half.

Screw Head Shine is their signature moonshine whiskey made from corn flour that is first distilled in their 600 gallon pot still to concentrate the alcohol. Then it gets transferred to the finishing still for the final run where it is cut with purified water to bring it to the classic 100 proof moonshine with very little bite that can be extremely versatile in a lot of drinks.

hidden still

Suggested drink:

Apple Pie Moonshine a la mode uses apple infused Screw Head Shine with house made apple pie syrup. For a bonus, you can get it with a scoop of ice cream. Booze and ice cream all in one is worth a trip by itself.

Union Canal Rum is named after the famous Union Canal that is just miles from the distillery. It incorporates sugar and table grade molasses to produce one of the only premium white rums in our area.

hidden still

Suggested drink:

Strawberry Basil Mojito made with Union Canal Rum, fresh basil and strawberries. Sara got this one and said it was pretty refreshing.

They will continue to roll out new and exciting spirits like their 12 Bar Whiskey, Hidden Still Gin and Hidden Still Bandy. In a few years they will be able to roll out their David E Bourbon and I can’t wait for that day.

The space:

Their name might be Hidden Still but they aren’t being quiet about what is located in the 100-year-old brick building that once was home to Yocum Brother Cigars. The name is painted in huge letters on the bricks about 30 feet up.

hidden still

 

Inside exposed wooden beams rise up from the refinished original hardwood floors spanning the vast open space that features a large bar and ample seating.

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Behind the bar are four huge windows that look directly into the distillery so you can see your future drinks being made right in front of your eyes.

Food:

Everyone is doing farm-to-table now, and Hidden Stills’ kitchen is no different with their expansive menu that has everything from burgers to gnocchi.

We weren’t that hungry but our bartender talked up the Tator Tots so much that it made us want to try them. Also, the sriracha aioli that comes with it sounded too go to pass up.

hidden still

These weren’t your run-of-the-mill chopped tots like you get in the cafeteria, they were more like fried cubes of mashed potatoes, and I wanted to take all of the sriracha aioli home with me.

If I was hungry, there is no doubt my next choice would have been the Pulled Pork sandwich with house-made BBQ sauce. When I go to a brewery I want to try their IPA and when I find a restaurant with pulled pork, I have to try it.

Everything on the menu looked appetizing and I will definitely be back to have a full dinner when their spirit list bulks up a little more.

James Werner
Author: James Werner

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