Tom’s Foolery Distillery

East of Cleveland, tucked away in the quaint town of Chagrin Falls, you will find two of the most impressive stills in the micro-distilling game. Tom’s Foolery Distillery is one of them, the quintessential Mom and Pop shop. Built on a long standing love of the craft, time-honored techniques and some of the most beautiful equipment to date, Tom’s Foolery is a genuine golden nugget in a sea of fool’s gold.

Decades before craft distilling was coined, a 15-year-old boy wrote a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) in an attempt to distill some of his Father’s cider. That same little boy would later turn a childhood dream into a life-long career with 450 barrels of bourbon, rye whiskey and applejack. Tom Herbruck is the kind of man who has produced some of the best stuff on the market, yet refuses to call himself a Master Distiller. It’s a trait that makes him delightfully refreshing. Full ownership gives Tom and his wife Leanne the freedom to make all their own decisions without the stranglehold of financers. The result? A great product produced the right way, free of the shortcuts used by others to speed up production.

Tom’s desire for age old techniques is evident as soon as you walk through his door. With the open-air Cyprus fermentation tanks, locally sourced/home-grown grain, full size aging barrels in the rick house and a hand bottling line, there’s lots to ooh-and-ahh over but what really makes this product shine are the stills and the double distillation. When looking at bourbon most products on the market are a result of column-still production or in the case of Woodford triple, pot-still distillation. Tom’s Foolery, like most scotches, is double distilled in short copper pot stills, meaning that the product has more flavor before it ever hits the barrel. Once in the barrel it is aged for a minimum of 2-3 years to pick up the flavors of the charred American Oak casks.

As much we love this distillery and the people behind it, what really matters is the juice. Tom’s Foolery’s lineup consists of Applejack, Ohio Straight Bourbon and Ohio Straight Rye.

So let’s jump right in:

Applejack

  • Fermented Juice- 100% fermented sweet cider pressed from a wide variety of locally sourced apples (not cut with neutral grain alcohol like other standards on the market).
  • Alcohol percentage- 40 percent.
  • Notes- Light gold color. Fragrant nose, full of fruity esters. Body is hugely rich, but not at all sweet. No sugar of any kind is added to the applejack, yet there is a hint of sweetness from the vanilla in the used cognac barrels. Made entirely from apples and water, and aged in 3 different types of oak barrels.

Cocktail Recommendation

Applejack Rabbit

  • 2oz Tom’s Foolery Applejack
  • ¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¾ oz Fresh Orange Juice
  • ½ oz Grade B Maple Syrup
  • Shake for ten long seconds and Double Strain into a martini glass.
  • Garnish with an Orange Peel

 

Ohio Straight Bourbon

  • Fermented Juice- While Tom does experiment with mash bills, his current is 62 percent corn, 15 percent rye, 4 percent rye malt and 16 percent barley malt.
  • Alcohol percentage- 45 percent.
  • Notes- Deep amber, with a reddish-gold hue. Full bodied. Rich vanilla, mature oak, and apricot. Creamy texture created from fermentation in open-top wood vats. This bourbon was aged in northern Ohio in an unheated rack house, which produces a less-oaky finish. A smooth texture, produced through slow pot distillation.

Cocktail Recommendation

Old Fashioned

  • 2oz Tom’s Foolery Ohio Straight Bourbon
  • 1/3 oz simple syrup
  • 3-5 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Stir drink on ice for 30 seconds(or until diluted to your preference)
  • Garnish with a long orange peel cut to be around 1 inch by 2 inches and squeeze the peel skin side out aimed towards the drink so the oil will enhance the taste and aroma.

 

Ohio Straight Rye

  • Fermented Juice- Mashbill of 66 percent rye & 26 percent malted barley.
  • Alcohol percentage- 45 percent.
  • Notes- Deep red, with reddish-brown hue. Extremely aromatic, with spice berry overflowing the glass before the glass even approaches your nose. The first sip is rewarded with a rich full body, flavor that fills your mouth, like a perfectly cooked filet mignon, balanced with a sherry/mushroom reduction. This whiskey is like a full meal, with a perfect crème brulee finish.

Cocktail Recommendation

New York Sour

  • 2oz Ohio Straight Rye
  • ½ oz Simple syrup
  • ¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¾ oz Cabernet
  • Shake all ingredients except for the wine for ten long seconds and double strain over fresh ice
  • Add the cab, pouring over a spoon to help it float on top of the cocktail
  • Garnish with a lemon peel cut at 1 inch by 2 inches. Squeeze the peel with the skin side faced towards the cocktail to enhance with the essential oils.