LI Spirits spreading its wings

[William M. Dowd photo]

Rich Stabile (right) and his cohorts at Long Island Spirits are developing a reputation for never standing pat.

In addition to the LiV Vodka that has been getting strong reviews (like this one), the facillity has just started making Sono Rinata, a brandy made from Merlot grapes grown at the nearby Peconic Bay Winery.

On top of that, a line of Sorbetta Liqueurs -- lemon, orange and strawberry -- are just now coming on the market.

Stabile, who was on a Saratoga Springs panel during a seminar on New York craft-distilled products earlier this week, told me he has just put the line on sale at the Long Island Spirits distillery store in Baiting Hollow. Its major public debut, however, will be in Manhattan next week at a trade-only event called "Spirits In the City."

The liqueurs are no artificially-hyped product. Take the lemon, for example.

"It took 4,500 lemons to make 300 gallons of the lemon sorbetta," Stabile told me. "And, we peel every one of them by hand.

"We came up with a way to do that by using a hand-held electric drill. At first we tried it with just a peeler, but it was murder in the arms."

I had the opportunity to try both the orange and lemon expressions at the seminar, and enjoyed both. Go here to read my "Dowd's Tasting Notes" review of them and a batch of other NY-made spirits.

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