Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Different Kind of Gettysburg Spirits!

Gettysburg is almost as known for its ghosts as it is for its Civil War battlefields. But increasingly, there's a different kind of spirits lurking around this historic town!

No exploration of Gettysburg would be complete without checking out one of its wineries or distilleries, so we headed to Mason Dixon Distillery (MDD), well within walking distance of Lincoln Square.



MDD offered us a tasting of rum and vodka; afterward we toured the small batch craft distillery. The distillery is also a restaurant, and it provides small plate options based on a commitment to local ingredients, and also made from scratch.

MDD's menu is small, but comfortably sophisticated. Entrees include Shrimp & Grits (with rosemary and blistered tomato), Turkey Pie (with a butter crust and rosemary bechanel), and Meatloaf, with lamp and served with a pepper relish and cauliflower puree. Sandwichs offered include a Shrimp Po-Boy (with arugula and remoulade), Muffalata (turkey/country ham/mortadella), Pork BBQ (served with slaw), and a Hot Brown (turkey/bacon/tomato/mornay).



If you get a chance to talk to Yianni Barakos, MDD's head distiller and owner, it is likely he will share his story of how he became interested in distilling, and his overall commitment to using local ingredients, whether for the restaurant or the distillery. 

Barakos has long had a fascination for stills and distilling. When he was just 11 years old, Barakos' grandfather showed him a drawing of a still he used to maintain when he worked as a coppersmith in Greece. Based on that drawing, Barakos built his first still. Later, as an adult, he took distilling classes and apprenticed at Smooth Ambler Spirits in West Virginia.





All of Barakos' raw grains used for alcohol come from within a couple miles of the distillery. Mason Dixon has 47 acres on which they grow grains in Gettysburg National Military Park, in addition to local farming.

Whether you're there for the tasting or the camaraderie, try to take a tour of the distillery -- just through those glass doors off of the tasting room.

After our tour, they offered us a steaming cup of such very thick and delicious spiced and spiked hot chocolate, that, really, I was hooked. Both on the rum that goes in it, and the distillery for serving this delectable treat.


I'm all about the chocolate. And the pleasant warmth that starts in your belly after drinking it just adds to the experience. It was like drinking a cup of hot chocolate pudding, like drinking memories of my childhood (minus the rum, of course).

Barakos generously shared the hot chocolate recipe, which is a great addition to your holiday celebrations and which I've included below (I split it in half to accommodate home portions. I've made this at home, although I reduced the cayenne to fit my taste level -- it was really spicy as served by the distillery! He noted that this recipe "works great with our rum as it has such a big nose and flavor profile."

Mason Dixon Distillery Spiced and Spiked Hot Chocolate 

26 oz whole milk
6.6 oz semisweet chocolate
6.6 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne
200-250 ml of MDD Rum

Mix and heat slowly in a double boiler so as to not scald or cause the milk to become bitter; stirring constantly.

Getting there: 331 E Water St, Gettysburg

Hours: Wednesday-Saturday: 11:30 a.m.- 9:30 p.m; Sunday brunch: 10 a.m. -2 p.m.

Dogs: why would you even consider it?

Website: http://www.masondixondistillery.com/

For other day trip destinations in and around Adams County, go to the Blog's Find a Great Place to Day Trip or click on the Gettysburg or Destination Gettysburg label below.

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