Is it us, or does local just taste better?
In the case of Heimat New York liqueurs, locally sourced ingredients make all the difference when it comes to crafting the brand’s signature spirits. Plus, with the release of its new, seasonal elderflower liqueur, it bottles the flavors of the Hudson Valley to take happy hour to new heights.
For those who are new to the Mamaroneck-based brand, Heimat New York, which draws its name from a German word that loosely translates to “homeland,” is all about using fruits and flowers sourced fresh and locally from New York. Owner and founder Ute Londrigan places a special emphasis on ingredient from the Hudson Valley, citing the region’s abundant natural resources and agricultural industry as motivating factors.
“We’ve worked with various farmers from the region, and they’ve been so helpful – in case one farmer doesn’t have what we need (or the quantities), they’ve referred us to friends or family that may,” Londrigan explains.
In the case of Heimat’s elderflower liqueur, Londrigan connected with a family farm in the Marlboro area for fresh, local flowers. While she prefers to keep the names of the farms she works with under wraps, she’s glad to be able to work very closely with a local farmer on the liqueur that’s near and dear to her heart.
“Elderflower is a very popular liqueur back where I’m from, and I actually grew up with elderberry syrups in Germany, given the health benefits. Hence, it is something we’ve been working on since the very beginning, but we first wanted to concentrate on our fruit liqueurs,” she notes. “Elderflowers are just so different from fruits – very delicate – and they require a few new techniques as well. That’s why [the liqueur] also took us several years to perfect.”
To produce Heimat’s elderflower liqueur, Londrigan and her team work very closely with their partner farmer to ensure they source the freshest flowers possible. Once the farmer announces that the elderflowers are a peak bloom and fragrance, the Heimat team drives to the farm to pick up the ingredient as soon as possible.
“We get our flowers fresh, first thing in the morning, i.e. we drive out to the fields and are packing [the flowers] into our truck literally minutes after they have been cut. We rush back and begin crafting that same day,” she explains. “We made three trips this year up to the Hudson Valley so as to ensure the optimal time between harvest and production, as you don’t want anything to happen to the flowers in between.”
Heimat’s attention to detail and intensive recipe testing are worth the effort. Utilizing fresh flowers and a secret process, the brand creates a distinctive liqueur that envelops the senses and embodies the namesake ingredient. Upon tasting, the libation evokes a fresh and bright flavor with a delicate body that leads into a long, memorable finish. As for how to drink it, Londrigan recommends trying it neat to start, since that’s the best way to sample the spirit at its purest. For a simple drink, mixing the liqueur with prosecco or Champagne is delightful and refreshing. Of course, it’s equally enjoyable with gin or tequila, or even paired with the brand’s rhubarb liqueur.
While Londrigan originally intended for the elderflower liqueur to be a limited edition offering, the positive reception by retail shops and bars and restaurants in the first few weeks of the product’s debut has led her to consider giving it a permanent spot in Heimat’s lineup instead. While the drink will remain “limited” to the extent that it can only be produced when elderflowers are in season, it will become one of the brand’s signature offerings.
Even though Heimat just recently released its elderflower liqueur, it’s already excited for plans on the horizon. Thanks to the brand’s popularity in the Hudson Valley and beyond, Londrigan is ready to scout for a bigger location in the region.
“We’ve become super efficient in our current location, but we need more space to continue on our current pace of growth, work on our next ideas, and create a fun space for visitors,” she reveals. “In terms of liqueurs, we’re always working on new ideas. We don’t often go into too much detail on our next projects, but we will say that we’ve been doing quite a bit of aging, so you may see something new there in the next six to 12 months.”
Until then, browse Heimat’s fruit-filled liqueurs, which range from white peach to blackberry and nectarine, then find them locally and mix them into one of the recipes provided on the brand’s website. Elderflower gin & tonic, anyone?