A Jewel of a Distillery With Storied Roots

Matchbook Distilling Company in Greenport, N.Y., is co-owned by a direct descendant of Hiram Walker, who created Canadian Club.


By Florence Fabricant

Sorted Fortune — a fragrant spirit made from heirloom musk melons grown on the North Fork of Long Island, with whey left over from White Moustache yogurt — is one of the latest products from Matchbook Distilling Company, in Greenport, N.Y. In the fall, a sunchoke spirit that suggests mezcal will be bottled for the second time. Leslie Merinoff, 34, co-founded this experimental distillery three years ago and comes to this business naturally; she’s a direct descendant of Hiram Walker, the 19th century American whiskey mogul and industrialist who worked in Canada and created Canadian Club. Hers is a small but diversified operation that gets ingredients like herbs and produce from nearby farms and food companies and turns them into limited runs of 30 to 500 bottles, often with poetic names. “Supporting local agriculture is what we do, and we’re having fun,” she said. Whiskey is made from mash using leftover bread from She Wolf Bakery in Brooklyn. Since most of the limited-run creations sell out fast, it pays to check the website.

Matchbook Distilling Company, 230 Corwin Street (Ninth Street), Greenport, N.Y., 631-333-2446, mdcdropshop.com.

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