Photographs by Neil Doocy
Above: Tour the distillery at 259 Asylum St., Bridgeport, to see where and how the spirits are made.
In case you thought nothing was “real” anymore, that businesses just don’t care, consider ASYLUM DISTILLERY (asylumdistillery.com). These distilling wizards produce small-batch, gluten-free vodka, corn whiskey, gin and Fifth State Whisky (two more products are in the works). They even use Connecticut-grown, non-GMO corn.
Rob Schulten, Neil Doocy and Bridget Schulten—all longtime Southport residents—opened the local distillery nearly a year ago, and it’s the first of its kind in Fairfield County in nearly a century.
“My husband and I have always been cocktail people,” says Bridget, “not so much wine and beer.” While much of the country seemed to be chasing the wine and beer crazes, Bridget and Rob were pursuing perfect cocktails. “My husband is a chemical engineer, so he’s always interested in the process. So, about four years ago, when we were on vacation, we went to a distillery and asked ourselves why can’t we do this in Connecticut?” At that time, restrictions made it difficult for distillers, she explains, adding that in October 2015 state laws changed. “Now we can bring people in for a tour and a small taste, the way wineries and breweries do.” They can also sell up to two bottles on the premises. Such changes help the owners reach new customers.
Asylum sells to local stores and restaurants and works with local caterers. Roe Chlala of Festivities says she used them at a Near & Far Aid party held at the new Jaguar/Range Rover dealership. “I am also working with Rob and Bridget on a small-plates menu with a craft bar,” she says. “This would allow Asylum to host events. So fun!”
ASYLUM GIN MULE
8 mint leaves
1 oz. simple syrup
3/4 oz. lime juice
1.5 oz. Asylum Gin
2 oz. ginger beer
1. Muddle mint, lime juice and simple syrup in a shaker
2. Add ice and Asylum Gin
3. Shake and strain into mug over ice
4. Add ginger beer and garnish with mint sprig