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Late Embers Sunchoke + Honey

Eau de Vie
New York

Sunchokes, just like agave, are made of chains of fructose molecules, called inulin. Because yeast can’t digest inulin, we need to unbind those fructose molecules - a process known as hydrolysis. In Oaxaca, the home of Mezcal, agave hearts are smoked, roasted and baked in giant pits with hot rocks. The agave hearts steam, breaking down the inulin - and there we have hydrolysis.

We were inspired by that process — so we built up our fire in the pit and began roasting 1800 lbs of local, organically grown sunchokes. We burnt wet burlap sacks to help increase moisture and build smoke. For the fermentation, we added some inulinase, an enzyme grown by aspergillus (koji) in a lab, to help finish the job of breaking up the fructose chains, making sure we wouldn’t leave any precious inulin behind. With the addition of water, local honey + champagne yeast, our fermentation began.

Ferment lasted a week before we transferred our mash to the still and ran it through a pot and column and the spirit collected right into demi where it rested.

The spirit is full - it’s smoky and earthy with notes of pear, black pepper + rose rounded out by the smell of earth, concrete and grass after rainfall and freshly chopped wood.

The Producer

Matchbook Distilling Co. is an R+D facility dedicated to bespoke contract production of spirits that champion agriculture, anthropology, tradition and science. Read more about them and their products on their website and The New York Times article about them.

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