Two cocktail flights at Madison County Distillery
Beer & Wine,  Foodie Travel,  Upstate New York

Madison County Distillery: Go for the Drinks but Stay for the Tacos

Nestled in the hills of Cazenovia is Madison County Distillery, the one and only distillery in the county. When they first reached out to invite me to the distillery, I was ecstatic. I’d been meaning to visit for ages, so I made plans to go one Saturday afternoon. Needless to say, my husband and I were thoroughly impressed with our entire experience.

About Madison County Distillery

Located in Cazenovia, NY, Madison County Distillery is a family- and veteran-owned business, led by patriarch Mike Basla. As a military family, the Baslas moved around a lot. But when Mike retired, they eventually made their way back to their original home in Central New York. At the time the family knew they wanted to start a business together. Something where they could be creative while supporting the community and boosting the local economy.

After brainstorming for a bit, they landed on a distillery. Marissa, her father “the General”, her siblings, and their cousin Chris (the distiller) run the operations together. Each family member brings a different skillset to the business. And they already owned a large piece of land in Cazenovia. It was meant to be.

– Mike Basla

The main structure for the new Madison County Distillery was built using 200-year-old reclaimed wood found on their property. The first floor of the barn features the distilling equipment, kitchen, bar, and lots of pub-style seating. Dining tables flow out onto a large patio and into the yard, mixed among fire pits leading to a concert stage. Upstairs the barn has a large event space available for private events.

Looking for more things to do in Cazenovia? Check out this list.

The Spirits

As previously mentioned, cousin Chris does all of the distilling. Surprisingly, Chris lives in Washington DC. But he comes back every month to distill the next batches. The family is lucky to have a plot of land with a natural limestone-filtered spring, providing fantastic water as the base for all the spirits. Without good water, you can’t run a distillery.

Currently Madison County Distillery produces three spirits: Route 20 Rum, Stone Quarry Vodka, and General’s Gin. Each of them is named after a local landmark or significant person. All three are delightfully smooth.

Bottles of rum, vodka, and gin at Madison County Distillery

When you visit the distillery, I recommend sampling each spirit on its own first. as well as in cocktails. They offer both gin and vodka cocktail flights, so we had one of each. Each flight comes with four miniature versions of their signature cocktails, made with either gin or vodka. Additionally, there are several more cocktails to choose from as well as rotating seasonal creations.

My favorite cocktail? The Honey Gin Spritz.

But if you happen to visit the distillery and do not want liquor, they also have a variety of local beer and wine to enjoy.

The Food

As for the food, they are well-known for their taco options. So much so that they won an award from Eat Local New York for having the best tacos around! The best way to order them is through the taco flight, of course. It comes with EIGHT TACOS, so is definitely meant to be shared. Ours was a mix of chicken, beef, pork, veggie, and fish. Believe it or not, the fish taco was my favorite. 🌮

Other entrees also share the Mexican inspiration. Nachos, chicken tortilla soup, homemade guacamole, and enchiladas round out the menu. Some of the only non-Mexican options are the buffalo chicken dip and the MCD burger.

The apps and desserts also lived up the hype. The candied bacon and brie bites were both delightful and unique options to enjoy.

Lastly, I’m not shy about my adoration for a good dessert menu. And yes, sometimes I will go to a restaurant just for their dessert options. Here is another spot where Madison County Distillery excels. While I enjoyed the key lime pie, chocolate chip cookie sundaes are one of my absolute favorite desserts – and this one was perfectly warm and gooey.

Events at Madison County Distillery

The large barn has a large bar, an event room upstairs, and extensive outdoor seating – perfect for live music in the summer. So if you’re looking for a place to host a private event, consider the distillery. Or if you’re looking for something unique to do, check out what events are happening. Live music, trivia, and more fill the calendar.

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