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Palmer Distilling Company Makes Old-School Cool


A rustic stable on the steep hills of Manayunk is now home to a craft distillery. Palmer Distilling Company is the work of husband-and-wife-team Walter and Kate Palmer, who purchased a small still and embarked on vigorous recipe experimentation, using friends and family as preliminary

From the get-go, the Palmers identified their Liberty Gin as a trademark product. It took a year and 50 distinct batches to hit on the final version—a lively floral variation that delivers a mesmerizing whiskey mouth feel. 

Keen on tradition, Walter strives to mimic recipes that could’ve circulated in Philadelphia during the Revolution. To assist with his historic attempts, the Palmers purchased an 800-liter still fashioned out of Portuguese copper. They loosely follow— with some modern flair—an 18th-century Dutch recipe that incorporates citrus and spices among its rich botanicals. Also vital to the process is the use of Pennsylvania springwater and local ingredients, including malted barley from Deer Creek Malthouse in Glen Mills. 

In addition to their gin still, the Palmers weren’t shy about progressing into the whiskey market. They’re now producing Manayunk Moonshine, an
unaged, 90-proof corn whiskey. An aged bourbon will be unveiled in the future, among other things.

Visit the Palmers’ pocket-sized headquarters for tastings, cocktails and bottle purchases. Walter recommends crafting classic G&Ts with Fever-Tree tonic, or checking their site for signature cocktail recipes. Be sure to scout their apothecary-style bottles in some regional liquor

376 Shurs Lane, Manayunk, (215) 588-5108. 

Photo by Tessa Marie Images.