Stephen Gould is using some very old recipes at his very new distillery in Golden.
Golden Moon Distillery was founded in 2008 by Gould, who set out to produce herbal liquors “made with the same type of artisan production processes utilized by distillers making premium products in the mid-to-late 1800s.”
“It’s something of a lost art, because in the 1800s, even here in Golden, lots of immigrant distillers were probably making these recipes in their backyards,” Gould said.
One example of that old fashioned style is Golden Moon’s gin, which Gould said uses many herbs and botanicals not found in the London dry gin style that currently dominates most liquor store shelves.
“That has some zip,” self-professed gin fan Chip Hord of Golden said after sampling a shot in the Golden Moon tasting room last week.
“I usually don’t drink it straight, but this is tasty,” Hord added.
Also on the distillery’s menu is dry curacao liquor, which Gould said could fulfill a similar role as blue curacao or triple sec in most modern cocktails, though it contains less sugar and more alcohol than either.
“It’s used in dozens and dozens of classic cocktails,” Gould said.
Golden Moon’s product line definitely leans towards the legendary and exotic. Also currently available is an absinthe, and a Crème di Violet.
Gould grew up in the area of Reno, Nev. Through a variety of careers, including the founder of a brew pub, a trained sauce chef, and an executive for Ford overseeing the car company’s supply chain in Asia.
A business opportunity brought Gould and his wife to Golden from the Midwest in July 2012, and he says they are here to stay. He says if all goes well, Golden Moon will expand into a “larger destination distillery” in the heart of Golden within a few years.
For now, the distillery is enjoying just receiving state and federal approval to distribute different liquor varieties. Gould says Golden Moon products are now available in the distillery tasting room, as well as at several upscale bars and restaurants across the state.
“If you don’t see our products at your local liquor store, just ask for them,” Gould said.
The operation is an environmentally friendly one. For liquors such as his grappa, Gould said he uses the pumice grape material from Colorado wineries which otherwise would have just been thrown out. The solid remnants of the herbs used in distilling Golden Moon’s gin are sold to area farms as compost and fertilizer material.
As for new products, Gould says he has quite a few ideas. He certainly has enough recipes to work from. He can boast a collection of hundreds of liquor recipe books, one of the biggest in the world. The collection ranges from as early as the 1500s to the modern day. Within those pages, Gould says, are quite a few interesting recipes, including one that has a strong Golden connection, Cherry Bounce.
“Legend has it that the first sheriff of Golden used to make it and sell it on the side,” Gould said.