I’ll be the first to admit that ever since my trip to Dublin where I sampled a variety of Irish whiskeys at the Irish Whiskey Museum, I’ve been on a whiskey kick lately. While randomly searching for distilleries in Connecticut, I discovered that we have a distillery right here in Bridgeport! Asylum Distillery is the first distillery to open in Fairfield County since the Prohibition. It is one of 12 craft distilleries in Connecticut and I couldn’t be prouder that they are based in my new hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

 

Asylum Distillery

Connecticut Proud – CT Grown & Distilled

Asylum Distillery is craft distillery that makes award-winning vodka, gin and corn whiskey. As a craft distillery, Asylum isn’t afraid to stand out. It doesn’t appeal to the masses but instead, husband and wife owners Robert and Bridget Schulten make what they like which happens to be bold, small batch spirits. Asylum currently has six spirits in production including vodka, gin, corn whisky, maple whiskey, aged corn whiskey and ginger zap.

All of Asylum’s spirits are gluten-free and made with corn sourced from local Connecticut farms. The distilling and bottling process happens on the premises and similar to breweries and vineyards, you can visit the distillery for a tour and tasting.

Asylum Distillery

 

Why corn at Asylum?

Whiskey Ingredients

It’s simple, corn grows in Connecticut.

Corn is also versatile – it’s considered a vegetable when wet and a grain when dry. It also holds flavor longer and since it’s viscous (thick), it stays on your tongue.

 

Asylum Distillery Tour

Asylum Mule

The Asylum team (Robert, Bridget and Neil) set the tone for the evening by welcoming us to the distillery with a delicious drink called “Asylum Mule”. This refreshing cocktail (even in winter) keeps it simple with three ingredients: Asylum Ginger Zap Vodka, cranberry and ginger beer.

I highly recommend trying Asylum Mule (or passing it my way because I love ginger)!

Asylum Mule

During our distillery tour, Distiller & Educator Robert geeked out about the distilling process. He showed us the different types of equipment used to make spirits like fermentation tanks where “happy yeast” are added to the mix.

However my favorite part of the talk was learning about the Prohibition Era which started January 1919. The Prohibition lasted 13 years and from the very beginning, Connecticut strongly opposed it. In fact, during the ban, Connecticut was considered the “wettest” state in the nation.

Robert went on to share the three ways that you could drink legally during the Prohibition:

  • Go to church and get wine
  • Go to a speakeasy
  • Or visit a doctor and get a prescription

If you want to learn more about the 18th Amendement and its impact on Connecticut, I recommend watching the documentary “Prohibition: Connecticut Goes Dry”.

 

Spirit Tasting

We started the tasting with vodka and worked our way up in flavor – gin, moonshine (Asylum Corn Whiskey) and whiskey (white and aged). All of our samples were served neat. We were also offered water and salty snacks to cleanse our palates in between.

Across the distillery I could hear another guest saying, “This is good gin”. And that it was – so smooth and far from bland!

Towards the end of the tour, Robert passed out samples of a new spirit that he was working on and asked us to guess the main ingredient. It took me a minute to put my finger on it but I guessed celery and I was right!

It’s clear that Rob enjoys experimenting with flavors and trying fun new combinations.

 

Related: Honey Tasting at Red Bee Apiary in Weston

 

Final Thoughts

A group tour and tasting at the Asylum Distillery offers an incredible value perfect for those who want to try something new in Bridgeport or expand their horizon with the distillery that “dreams in flavors”.

Although the distillery is small, it packs a serious punch.

During the tour you’ll discover local craft spirits and learn about the distilling process. Distiller Robert is knowledgeable, passionate, and he has a great sense of humor; it felt like we’ve been friends for ages.

I recommend signing up for the tour ahead of time to secure your reservation (reservations required) but you can also buy Asylum products at the distillery. Or head to any of the 200 locations that carry the brand in Connecticut including liquor stores, restaurants and bars.

I can’t wait to see what Asylum comes out with next!

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