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Eat and Drink

Hudson Valley distilleries to know

It’s easy to take a spirited day trip from New York City.

In the last decade, the Hudson Valley has become fertile ground for distilleries, quenching the thirst for craft cocktails and locally-made spirits.

Distillers are eager to show off what goes into the glass, and the summer is the perfect time to hop in a car to taste and explore the surrounding nature.

Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery

14 Gristmill Lane, Gardiner, 845-255-1527, tuthilltown.com This distillery
Photo Credit: Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery

14 Gristmill Lane, Gardiner, 845-255-1527, tuthilltown.com

This distillery is the OG of New York State, opening in 2005 after co-founder Ralph Erenzo discovered a law passed in 2000 that slashed the permit cost for small producers to make spirits from locally-farmed grain.

Hudson Whiskey, the first whiskey distilled in New York State after prohibition and the distillery's most famous product, has become an internationally-distributed brand. Erenzo has championed changing laws to make it easier for local distilleries to get off the ground, including a measure passed in 2007 that allows farm distilleries to open tasting rooms and sell directly to customers.

Tours: Distillery tours and tastings are offered on weekends from noon to 5 p.m. ($12-$15), and booking in advance is recommended. Plan your trip around a meal -- the on-site restaurant Tuthill House serves up elevated American fare like pan-roasted diver scallops and braised pork belly.

Nearby: If you're feeling athletic, the distillery is near the Shawangunk Mountains. Rock climbers flock to "The Gunks," but there are also easier trails for more laid-back hikes.

Orange County Distillery

19B Maloney Lane, Goshen, 845-651-2929, orangecountydistillery.com This newcomer
Photo Credit: Orange County Distillery

19B Maloney Lane, Goshen, 845-651-2929, orangecountydistillery.com

This newcomer is a collaboration between a fifth-generation farmer and a lawn care company owner who were brainstorming at a holiday party about what to do during their off-season. Since 2014, the distillery's churned out spirits like sugar beet vodka and gin.

Tours: Smaller groups can visit the distillery Tuesday through Saturday from noon-5 p.m. for a peek at the production process and tastings (starting at $5). Visitors can also head to a tasting room at Brown Bear Farms (286 Maple Ave., New Hampton), near where the grain and botanicals are grown, Thursday through Sunday for tastings, cocktails and, on weekends, live music.

Nearby: About a 20-minute drive away is Goosepond Mountain State Park. There's a boardwalk for casual walks through marshes, which are a bird sanctuary, as well as rougher trails for more experienced hikers.

Black Dirt Distillery

385 Glenwood Road, Pine Island, 845-258-6020, blackdirtdistillery.com Black
Photo Credit: Black Dirt Distillery

385 Glenwood Road, Pine Island, 845-258-6020, blackdirtdistillery.com

Black Dirt's roots began in 2001 at Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery, when the winery imported a small steam-fired still from Germany and created gin and fruit brandies as the state's first micro-distillery. Today, Black Dirt Distillery expands on that operation, as well as makes bourbon and applejack, a spirit distilled from, yes, apples.

Tours: Tours of the distillery are offered on weekends and leave from the tasting room at Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery (114 Little York Road, Warwick) at noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. The $15 fee includes transportation, tasting and souvenir glass.

Nearby: There's a cash-only cafe at the winery that serves sandwiches and salads. Eat on the grounds of the winery or take a picnic over to a park at the northern shore of Glenmere Lake, about 20 minutes away.

More tastings in the area

Hudson Valley Distillers (1727 Route 9, Clermont, 518-537-6820,
Photo Credit: Hudson Whiskey

Hudson Valley Distillers (1727 Route 9, Clermont, 518-537-6820, hudsonvalleydistillers.com), tours, tastings and cocktails Fridays, 3-7 p.m., Saturdays, noon-7 p.m. and Sundays, noon-6 p.m., February through December

Hillrock Estate Distillery (408 Pooles Hill Road, Ancram, 518-329-1023, hillrockdistillery.com), tours by appointment only

Catskill Distilling Company (2037 Route 17B, Bethel, 845-583-3141, catskilldistillingcompany.com), tours and tastings daily from noon-5 p.m.

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