Behind the Scenes, consumer education, Learning, New Tastes, Pennsylvania

Wine Living and Boardroom Spirits: Making Vodka and Cocktails!


A new generation is taking interest in drinking, and now, distilling craft spirits; and in the USA, changes to liquor laws at the State level have made it easier than ever to make whiskey, brandy, vodka, gin and anything else that can be conjured from a still.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to visit a fairly new facility, literally miles from my home in the suburbs. Distilling ain't just for the backwoods of Kentucky, or gritty industrial areas, anymore! That should give you an idea of how exciting and fertile these times are for people who love their spirits and cocktails.

I met Marat Mamedov, co-ower and "front man" for the distillery, through my friend Victor Ykoruk of Majestic Wines and former Karamoor Estate. Like myself, Marat is a former desk jockey (once with Deloitte) who just couldn't stomach the corporate grind for much longer, so he came up with a plan to live out his true passion: He wanted to craft beverages of the highest quality and share them with the world. I like this guy!

Boardroom features Hagyo stills from Hungary; their distillery is actually the US showroom for this particular model. Other distillers interested in purchasing Hagyo equipment can come to Lansdale to view it in operation and even learn how to use it.

Together with his brother, Vlad, and his wife, Zsuzsa, they founded Boardroom Spirits. The guiding principles are quality, innovation, purity, collaboration, and sustainability, but obviously it doesn't stop there. They're also stewards of the local community and use all-natural and organic ingredients from neighboring farms and businesses.

The distillery works in collaboration with the University of Corvinus in Budapest, using their department of Food and Food Science for R&D on their own products. They also seek to pay forward the educational element, by helping to develop budding distillers, looking to start up their own operations.

As you can tell, these guys (and gal) aren't thinking small. Before opening their doors, they hired Master Distiller, Attila, an Environmental Engineer, Biotechnologist, and Chemist from Romania. Fortunately he also has a passion for making the highest quality spirits.

The thing I like most about Marat and the Boardroom family, is that they're open to using the distillery for whatever good they can do with it; anything from hosting charity events to training seminars.

Boardroom Spirits is open Wednesday - Friday from 4PM to 9PM and offers tours on Saturdays and Sundays. Drop in and visit them if you live in the Philly area.


Last week I had the pleasure to try out Boardroom's new gin, coming hot off the stills. It's a London Dry style, fresh and clean, citrusy and featuring the juniper element in generous portions. Would be fantastic for a classic Martini.

I was fortunate enough to spend a few weeks in the distillery, mostly shooting for the episode above. We decided to start simple by focusing on vodka production and an easy cocktail recipe people could duplicate.

As you may hear, when the stills are running, it's loud in the house. And hot. We actually shot this video twice; the first time around it was so hot, we were sweating on camera and decided to bag it. Oh, and a major summer thunderstorm complete with hail going on. Sometimes you just can't win.

A fresh batch of gin, coming off the still. Release is due in September.


Most distilleries start out making vodka, because it can be made from almost any raw base material and is relatively easy and fast to make (of course I'm simplifying here). After putting a small ransom down on equipment and facilities, a distillery needs to start generating revenue quickly... and vodka is usually the answer.

When I was at the distillery, I got to taste their Gin (due out in a few weeks), a refreshing London-Style offering that was stronger in citrus notes and juniper than some styles. Their Beet Vodka was fantastic, and did indeed have notes of iron and earth in there. I'll be using this spirit to craft cocktails at an upcoming event for The Suburban Social on October 28th. It will be a lot of fun coming up with something!


In true spirit (pun intended), Marat and crew are always thinking about the future (as am I) and we're planning a series of video projects that will help further explain Boardroom's mission, educate consumers and also support those interested in getting into distilling. Be on the lookout for those down the road, but until then, enjoy this flagship video. Cheers!

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