It’s not too late to RSVP! http://widowjane.eventbrite.com/
“Manhattan by Sail” will highlight a different distillery each week – join us on Tues Oct 2 and Thurs Oct 4 aboard the Clipper City in New York Harbor. The cocktails will feature Cacao Prieto spirits.
Cacao Prieto Rolls Out Latest ‘Widow Jane’ Bourbon
September 10, 2012 8:17am | By Alan Neuhauser, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
The event, which marks the debut of the distillery’s Widow Jane seven-year bourbon, will feature live music and free tastings of Cacao Prieto’s rum, bourbon and alcohol-free chocolate bars, plus cocktails and food at the Botanica event-space next door.
“This is becoming the epicenter for New York State whiskey,” owner Daniel Preston said. “New York is becoming the epicenter of the craft-food world. And I think we fall into that.”
Two thousands bottles of Widow Jane, made from Kentucky bourbon and water drawn from the former Widow Jane limestone mine in upstate New York, will hit store shelves next month, each selling for about $50, Clark said. The spirit is a follow-up to Cacao Prieto’s five-year Widow Jane bourbon, which debuted last month with 1,500 bottles and has nearly sold out.
Owner Dan Prieto Preston “owns a piece a property on top of the mine,” Clark explained. “We thought the name was pretty spectacular.”
The distillery is also preparing a new whiskey and a coffee liqueur. The whiskey, named Widow Jane Organic Wapsi Corn Whiskey, still needs to be aged — “at least six months or more,” Clark said. The liqueur, developed with Brooklyn Roasting Company, is expected to arrive in stores in October or November.
Join us at Astor Wines for a tasting of our Widow Jane Bourbon and Don Esteban Liqueur.
THE SHOPKEEPER’S GUIDE TO BROOKLYN: STUART & WRIGHT : ”Red Hook in general—there’s the new chocolate store, Cacao Prieto (218 Conover Street, Red Hook, 347-225-0130), and their factory is in the front. It’s unbelievable; you feel like you’ve been transported back 100 years. You can spend an afternoon sampling chocolate there!”
Posted by Rebecca Willa Davis on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Since opening in 2006, Fort Greene’s Stuart & Wright (85 Lafayette Avenue, 718-797-0011) has become a magnet for stylish residents of the borough (Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michelle Williams are frequent shoppers), thanks in no small part to the store’s excellent men’s and women’s designer roster. But owners Alec Stuart and Celeste Wright aren’t happy to just rest on their laurels; as Stuart explains, “There’s something building—we don’t know what it is, exactly, but it’s good to feel like we’re moving forward.” That something he’s referencing includes an expansion to start carrying home goods and books, a renovation in August, and an under-wraps plan to collaborate with some of the biggest Brooklyn creative-types over the course of the next few months (we can’t divulge the names just yet, but trust us when we say that the line-up is major). “You always hear people talking about lifestyle stores, and we’re really, authentically becoming a lifestyle store in a way that hasn’t been intentional,” notes Stuart. While we wait for the shop’s grand re-opening—Stuart & Wright will be closed for two weeks in August to make changes—we had Stuart, a longtime Fort Greene resident, share a few of his Brooklyn favorites in the first of a regular Brooklyn Magazine column.
Best Pizza: Not Ray’s (690 Fulton Street, Fort Greene, 718-855-8206). I usually get the straight-up plain slice.
Best Place to Spend a Rainy Afternoon: The Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, 718-638-5000). It always gets a rap for being the underdog [museum] in New York, but it’s amazing. They do great shows. And a rainy day in Brooklyn is a bummer, there isn’t that much to do.
Best Place to Break-Up: I’m such a foodie and my life revolves around food, so I’m going to go with Roman’s (243 Dekalb Avenue, Fort Greene, 718-622-5300)—because you’ll never leave unsatisfied no matter what the context of your meal is….Is that cheesy?
Favorite Store (That Isn’t Stuart & Wright): Erie Basin (388 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook, 718-554-6147) is always an amazing trip. Red Hook in general—there’s the new chocolate store, Cacao Prieto (218 Conover Street, Red Hook, 347-225-0130), and their factory is in the front. It’s unbelievable; you feel like you’ve been transported back 100 years. You can spend an afternoon sampling chocolate there!
Best Place to Buy a Last-Minute Gift: Saipua (147 Van Dyke Street, Red Hook, 718-624-2929) —their home products are great, or you can get a beautiful arrangement.
Best Place to Get a New Wardrobe: If it’s not at Stuart & Wright, all I want is vintage, and I love [10 Ft. Single by] Stella Dallas (285 North 6th Street, Williamsburg, 718-486-9482). The back room is filled with every vintage treasure I didn’t even know I’m looking for.
Best Place to Outfit Your Apartment: Brooklyn Flea (176 Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene). I found a guy there that has amazing vintage Japanese indigo textiles—I have no idea what I’m going to use them for, but he brings me back every week. There’s [also] the garages on Grand Avenue and Greene Avenue; it’s four garage doors that this guy opens and it’s all amazing architectural salvage ripped out of brownstones. It’s amazing stuff, but it’s hit-or-miss if he’s going to have his doors open. I haven’t [bought anything yet] just because I don’t need a marble mantel in my life right now, but some day I hope!
DANIEL PRIETO PRESTON / CEO / CACAO PRIETO
It’s easy to get distracted when you start with the word ‘chocolate’, but Daniel’s story snaps us back to attention rather quickly. He’s what we might call an ‘extreme career changer’ (if we were writing a reality show), and we were surprised to discover that even an aerospace engineer can apply his existing job skills to making chocolate. Of course, it’s so much more than that, as you’ll see when you read his interview, visit the Cacao Prieto website, or taste one of their amazing confections (are we getting distracted again?)
When did you know that you wanted to work in food?
My background is engineering. I founded an aerospace company producing life saving technologies for our military. When I sold the company the deal came with a five year non compete. I found myself in a position where I had to do something completely different. There was no real ‘aha’ moment, more like a conspiring of the universe that landed me here.
My closest friend is a noted foodie and mixologist in NY, he talked me into partnering on a cocktail bar. The bar is called Lingua Botanica (language of plants in Latin), aka Botanica. It features an extensive cocktail list of unusual and esoteric herbal liquors, fresh herbs and botanicals…. I developed an appreciation and fascination with herbal alcohols and artisan distilling… Overlapping with this I visited family in the Dominican Republic and was exposed to Cacao. My family goes back to the late 1800’s in D.R. and were always in agriculture. Cacao is truly a magical tree. I became fascinated by the plant and when I delved into the chemistry and science behind it I was hooked….
I set off to vertically integrate my family’s farm. Most people are not aware that cacao seeds (cocoa beans) do not taste like chocolate until they are fermented. Chocolate is a fermented food. The byproduct in the fermentation is a foul alcoholic liquid called “sweatings”. When I began integrating processes on our farm, it occurred to me that there were thousands of years of recorded science behind cultured foods: cheese, wine, yogurt, etc… and pretty much all of this had passed cacao by. Standard practice was to crack open cacao fruit (pods) in the field and pile up the pulp covered seeds to allow it to ferment. Basically completely uncontrolled and performed in a dirty environment, the fermentation begins contaminated. You would not find wine makers who would stomp their grapes in a puddle and hope they taste good in a week. So why cacao? I set out on a journey to do things differently. We have since re-examined and re-engineered most all aspects of cacao cultivation and chocolate production. The results led me into founding companies for liquor and chocolate, deeply rewarding and delicious enterprises…..
If I did have to pick an ‘aha’ moment, though, I would say it happened in architecting our farm expansion…We have outgrown our initial farm and are expanding with 2000 hectares. The project is monumental: we are clearing 300,000 coconut trees that are too old to be productive and replanting with 2,000,000 cacao trees. We are building a city for 1,600 employees, schools, churches, a saw mill, a brick factory, large scale biochar, compost and vermiculture operations, setting up germplasm repostories for the genetic preservation of the countries rare cacao breeds, building laboratories for invitro cultivation of cacao, etc……its a bit overwhelming…. I never thought I would fancy myself a farmer, but I also never dreamed just how much science is involved in operating a self sustaining farm (and how difficult it could be).
How did your previous work or life experience prepare you for a good food job?
I am a professional inventor, I hold over 100 patents in 17+ countries. The legal definition of an invention is something that doesn’t exist in the public domain and which is not obvious to someone normally skilled in the art. I have some particular abilities that make me a natural inventor: I have a photographic memory which allows me to catalog information I have read, I am very good at seeing patterns and connecting the dots that others pass by.
That said, I came across this industry of cacao and saw no vertical integration. There are many companies and people in between the plant nursery and the final chocolate maker. I saw no alignment of interests… I guess my skill set allowed me to visualize the way things should be and try to change it. We are beginning to change things on a national level, and before this project comes to completion we will have changed things on a global level.
What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome in pursuing your Good Food Job dream?
I am truly passionate and intellectually engaged by what we are doing. I imagine it will hold my attention for a long time to come…as to obstacles, they are everywhere, but that’s par for the entrepreneurial course, they’re what makes life more interesting.
What can you identify as the greatest opportunities in food right now?
I have never been much of an alarmist or conspiracy theorist, but I am sure that our current system of food production at a farm level in this country is not sustainable. I find the most exciting opportunities out there involve correcting this problem. Educating America in healthy diet and sustainable farming practices, etc.
If you could be compensated for your work with something other than money, what would it be?
Chocolate ! Already there.
Widow Jane Bourbon is now available!
We have a hand numbered limited run of only 823 bottles. Visit our store soon before we run out.
Be sure to also pick up a bottle of Widow Jane Pure Limestone Mineral Water – don’t ruin your bourbon with regular tap water.
Widow Jane Bourbon $52 (750mL)
Widow Jane Limestone Water $7 (750 mL)
Astor Wines and Spirits: We are proud to be the first and only retailer currently providing these original and incredible new spirits from Cacao Prieto.
Tasting of the custom coffee liqueurs produced for Brooklyn Roasting Company