MASTER DISTILLERS DAN PAQUIN AND JOHN WHITEMAN – Mountain Spirit Distilling, Plattsburgh

Mountain Spirit Distilling founding owners Dan Paquin and John Whiteman met and realized they had a common interest. They both had made home brewed beer and wine and were interested in craft distillation. The friends tinkered a little and made a product that most of their friends enjoyed so in February 2016, Mountain Spirit Distilling, the only locally owned and operated craft distillery in Clinton County, New York was created.

Mountain Spirit Distilling is located in what is the industrial area of the retired Plattsburgh Air Force base at 35 Florida St. and is housed inside an old Explosive Ordnance Disposal building that was built in 1956.

Master Distillers Paquin and Whiteman’s idea is simple, make a spirit product that is locally sourced. According to law, 75 percent of Mountain Spirit’s total ingredients needs to be from products grown or produced in New York State. This includes the whey that is fermented to produce their vodka, ‘Driven Snow’.

Paquin and Whiteman use corn for their bourbon and white spirit recipes, supplied from a local farm, and malted barley, brought from North Country Malt in Champlain. Twice distilled, cooled and condensed back into liquid, it is distilling at 190 proof – 95 percent alcohol. When the finished spirit flows, the Master Distillers immediately filter, proof and bottle some of it as ‘Adirondack Glow’, a “white whiskey” similar to moonshine. They put the rest of the spirit batch on charred-oak chips to age. Eventually, this is filtered and bottled as ‘Workin’ Man’s’. Paquin and Whiteman modeled this liquor after bourbon, but because it hasn’t spend at least two years in an oak barrel, they can’t legally label it as bourbon. The recipe, however, does make a bourbon flavor. Paquin and Whiteman can control the flavor by adjusting the amount of chips they add and how toasted those chips are. Dan and John designed and built their activated-carbon filter, which uses charred-walnut chunks to pull out any lingering impurities.

‘Morning Wood’ vodka is the latest addition to their line up of spirits. This is a distilled vodka with a smooth coffee flavor and is a excellent addition to any cocktail recipe.

These Master Distillers have produced four new spirit tastes for the North County in less than 3 years. The future is looking bright in Northern New York with these distillers at the helm of Mountain Spirit Distilling.