CP Photo: Kaycee Orwig
Manager and distiller Jerry Sunday mixes drinks at 4Four6 Distillery.
The idea of slowly sipping a glass of bourbon or scotch or any hard liquor isn’t appetizing for everyone. It can take years to appreciate the very strong flavors and high-alcohol content of straight booze, and for some, the spirits are just too strong.
But a new distillery in Sharpsburg offers a good variety of spirits that seem tailor-made for people looking to step into the waters of drinking hard liquor straight up.
4Four6 Distillery opened last year in the borough along the Allegheny River and operates out of a small building on Sharpburg’s Main Street. It was started by owners/sisters-in-law Marcy Sunday and Maria Yeater. The building hosts a small bar and a handful of tables in a comfortable setting up front, with the distilling equipment in the back and on the second floor.
The distillery is currently selling gin, rum, and a specialty gin called “tea gin.” The menu offers cocktails, flights, and bottles. Bottles and cocktails can be purchased to-go. Their Clementine Gin is their best seller and is a delicious mix of sweet citrus and herbal gin. A total crowd pleaser.
On a recent visit, I sampled 4Four6’s American Dry Gin, the white and white spiced rums, and the Swamp Monster tea gin. Each was very approachable and lacked that strong, sometimes overpowering, alcohol aroma up front, and little to no burn going down. All would serve as good introductions for people looking to enjoy spirits straight up or on the rocks.
CP Photo: Kaycee Orwig
Cranberry Clementine Car at 4Four6 Distillery
The American Dry Gin is smooth and has no burn up front, which was a pleasant surprise because many gins tend to have a strong burn. I took several whiffs of the gin before drinking without even a semblance of wince, which allowed me to pick out some of the gin’s sweet and herbal notes. The dry gin also has a strong herbal finish and is hazy, which provides a bit more body than typical clear gins.
The two white rums share a similar quality to the gin. Both are flavorful, but also relatively easy drinking. They also aren’t too sweet, which I found refreshing.
The Swamp Monster, though loaded with several different flavors, might be even more approachable than the distillery’s other spirits. Gin is not something many people drink straight up, but the Swamp Monster tea gin adds enough extra ingredients that I could see enjoying a glass on the rocks. There are hints of juniper, licorice, green tea, and cinnamon that roll through each sip. 4Four6 suggests adding it to lemonade and has a cocktail called the Palmer Daly, named after golfers Arnold Palmer (who loved to mix iced tea with lemonade) and John Daly (who loves to drink booze.)
Both Swamp Monster and Snow Queen tea gins are made with tea and spice blends sourced from Tupelo Honey Teas in Millvale.
4Four6 also offers a wide array of cocktails, and I tried the Gin Fizz on my visit. The beverage was a mix of Snow Queen tea gin, cream, lime, and soda water. It had a nice frothy head topped with nutmeg, and tasted like key lime pie in a glass. It was pretty sweet and satisfying, but left me wishing it was a bit stronger with the booze.
What really stands out about 4Four6 is just how approachable all their spirits are. Nothing really kicks you in the face, and all the flavors are easy and enjoyable to taste.
At times, the distillery also makes bourbon and whiskey. While I haven’t tried those spirits yet, I expect they will be smooth and flavorful, like the rest of 4Four6’s offerings.
4Four6 Distillery. 703 Main St., Sharpsburg. Thu-Fri. 4-8 p.m. Sat. 12-8 p.m. 4four6distillery.com