Finger Lakes Distilling

The Finger Lakes region in upstate New York might be known for it’s great wineries, but there’s also a fantastic distillery that shares the region’s namesake, making well-crafted spirits. Finger Lakes Distilling resides in Burdett, NY along the Senec River. This picturesque distillery also has has it’s own vineyard on site and utilizes the rich region’s local farms to get their corn, rye, barley, and fruits for the spirits. Founders Brian McKenzie, a former Vice President of an upstate New York bank, and Thomas Earl McKenzie, a winemaker, brewer and distiller from Monroeville, Alabama, met at a craft distiller’s conference in 2007. Interestingly enough, they are not related, tho they do share the same passion for making premium spirits.


Available Finger Lakes Spirits


McKenzie bourbon-whiskey_0


McKenzie Bourbon Whiskey
McKenzie Bourbon Whiskey is a very rich bourbon with just enough rye spice to complement the subtle sweetness. A local variety of corn makes 70% of the mash bill. We age in new charred barrels and finish in local chardonnay casks, which gives the bourbon a round, buttery finish. Master Distiller Thomas Earl says: “Some folks think you can only make bourbon in Kentucky. Bull. We went way back for this bourbon, aging it at a lower proof for that good old fashioned bourbon flavor.”






McKenzie Rye Whiskey
McKenzie Rye Whiskey is made from local rye grain and is distilled using old-time techniques. We age this whiskey in new charred oak casks and finish in sherry barrels from local wineries. The sherry balances the spiciness of the rye and also gives a nod to the wine region where this whiskey is produced. Master Distiller Thomas Earl says: “A fine, old fashioned rye: spicy and full of character. See what ya’ll think, I ain’t feelin’ too poetic today.”




mckenzie gin



McKenzie Distiller’s Reserve Gin
McKenzie Distiller’s Reserve Gin is a traditional London-style dry gin. This gin features bright citrus flavors on the palate with a clean, crisp finish. Ideal for a dry martini, though it really shines straight up. Our Master Distiller says: “Think of it as a souped’up version of Seneca Drums, plus, it’s 91 proof. You’ll get more smiles to the gallon.”






Try this Spring Cocktail!



Bourbon Bloom Recipe

1.5 oz McKenzie Bourbon Whiskey
.5 oz St. Germain
.5 oz Lemon Juice
.25 oz Simple Syrup
2 Dashes Orange Bitters

Place martini glass in freezer (rim with sugar if desired).
Carefully peel a lemon, keeping it all in one piece. Twist the lemon peel into a flower shape. Place in the bottom of the martini glass and put back in the freezer.
In a shaker, combine remaining ingredients. Shake with ice and strain into the chilled martini glass with the lemon bloom.



Recently, one of Hunterdon’s Project Managers visited this beautiful distillery and brought back some great photos. Take a gander below and enjoy!










Related Articles


About Author