"Holy Muckleyeye!”

It’s a winner! And what’s more, Bayshore folks don’t have to go all the way to Colts Neck to get it at the distillery. It’s available in Highlands every Saturday at the Farmer’s Market at Huddy Park.

Muckleyeye is one of the creations at the Colts Neck Stillhouse, located next to Delicious Orchards off Route 34, and partners Geoff Karch and Mike Simko have done a terrific job of creating something new, cooling, refreshing, and reasonably priced. Even better, they’re also purchasing all their fruit through Delicious Orchards so everything is guaranteed to be fresh and top of the line.

The Holy Muckleyeye from whence the name of these mildly alcoholic fruit mix drinks comes is actually saying Karch’s dad made up and used whenever he found something really exciting.

The distillery, which was founded in December two years ago, actually distills rum, bourbons, and vodka, all also available at the Farmers Market and distillery, but it’s the 12 ounce cans I tasted at the Market that intrigued me.

A set of four cans, or 48 ounces, is $15, about the price of a decent but inexpensive bottle of wine, and there are four different fruit flavors to choose from. There’s a real fruit Daiquiri, made with pineapple, coconut, rum and some other natural flavors, a Vodka soda, made with lemon and lavender, a Gin Fizz made with grapefruit and honey, and Vodka soda made with watermelon and hibiscus. All are carbonated and suggested to be refrigerated and served with ice. The owners will tell you, but it’s also proudly displayed on the cans, that each drink is “crafted with white knuckle enthusiasm, exuberant pride and the spirit of proclamation.”

Yes, indeed, it is an alcoholic drink, in fact it’s 9 per cent alcohol by volume. But it’s a great summer cooler any time of day, plus getting you a supply of vitamins A and C.

They’re called ‘cocktails in a can’ for now, but come fall, the Muckleyeye cocktails will be available in 12 ounce bottles. And because the distillers use only fresh fruit, the varieties will change with the season. Look for some Expresso Martinis and Pomegranate Cosmos in the cooler weather. The distillers are also talking about an apple cider vodka soda but they’re still in the tasting process on that one.

It all started when Karch decided he really didn’t want to spend the rest of his working life advertising and tv business in which he had been successful. He read about distilling whiskey several years ago and decided he wanted to make something, and that seemed to be the perfect fit.

At the distillery the company makes white rum on site by blending east coast craft molasses, with yeast and water, and letting nature and time do the rest. They also distill American gin, white rum bourbon and rye whiskey and a wheat distilled vodka. Their vodka is made from wheat, and their bourbon is 57 per cent corn, then aged in American oak barrels to give it the lush flavor of true bourbon, a drink that can only be called bourbon if it’s made in the United States. Naturally, they don’t distill any Scotch, this that can only be made in Scotland. It’s easy to say their distilled spirits all have character, taste, charm, and are done right, all set in a historic building with many interesting things to see, and cocktails to drink, at the Distillery itself.

Check out their Facebook page to get hours and events at the Distillery. But stop in at the highlands Farmer’s Market on a Saturday morning and taste for yourself. I know you’ll come away saying “Holy Muckleyeye!”


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