Makin' Moonshine


With its sexy, slim bottle, elegant black-and-gold label, wooden cork and the Charter Oak seal, Onyx Ultra Premium Moonshine ain’t your grandparents’ hooch. Rendered from a Prohibition-era recipe, this updated, 80-proof libation is super smooth, made for sipping like top-shelf whiskey or mixing like a quality vodka.

Introduced last October, Onyx is the first moonshine to be produced in Connecticut since the days of speakeasies and rumrunning. “When people hear ‘Connecticut-made,’ they think New England quality,” says Adam von Gootkin, 29, who, with partner Peter Kowalczyk, 31, has poured body and soul into researching and creating for the past two-and-a-half years. “Both our families have ties to moonshine and a heritage in Connecticut,” says von Gootkin. “We wanted to do something different, that we believed in, and we had an urge to make something with our hands, so Onyx is what we came up with. We’re proud of how it’s growing every day.”

The velvety, honey-apple-scented, clear alcohol, with “spicy wood undertones,” is handcrafted in small batches at the Hilliard Mills in Manchester. Freshly drawn Connecticut spring water is used to blend down the secret corn/grain formula.

Onyx’s already a hit: In February it was selected as the official spirit of the 2012 Grammy Awards.

To keep up with growing demand, the partners recently expanded distribution to Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and von Gootkin says the aim now is to “show the world what the finest Connecticut-made American moonshine tastes like.”

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Makin' Moonshine

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