March is Maple Month and Cabin Fever, a new 80-proof maple whiskey, is celebrating by sharing its many unique recipes with maple lovers.
What could be more New England than a maple whiskey created in the backyard garage? The spirit was recently developed, over many a family tasting, by brothers Rob and John Robillard, residents of Chester, New Hampshire and Norton, Massachusetts respectively. Their wives, Julie and Melissa, also lent a hand and taste buds to the effort.
Recipes range from tasty beverages like Uncle Bob’s Cabin Fever to fine food entrees such as Cabin Fever Maple Brined Pork can be found at the independently-owned company’s website www.CabinFeverSpirits.com.
“I came upon the idea of a maple spirit by traveling extensively outside the U.S. I noticed that every region I visited had a special fruit or plant that was distilled and made into a spirit,” noted Rob Robillard. “They all seemed very proud of their regional spirit. In Mexico they distill tequila from agave. The French are just as proud of their cognac. Scotch is from Scotland. In Iceland, they distill from a type of moss that grows there. It tastes awful. I thought a maple spirit would be more pleasing than this moss stuff.”
Robillard concluded, “It’s turning a hobby into a full-time thing,” he said of his new career. “I tried to create a spirit we New Englanders could be proud of — not just another trendy flavored vodka.”
Having performed well in package store and barroom tests, Cabin Fever is now available in more than 100 locations throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Tennessee, the spirits capital of the U.S.
The proof is in the tasting and at the cash register. At the most recent Whiskey A-Go-Go held annually at Juio’s Liquors in Westboro, Mass., Cabin Fever far outsold the other 150 brown spirit brands were sampled by the more than 850 participants.
Chilled filtered so it is not too sweet, Cabin Fever’s taste is a harmony of oak and maple at the forefront with hints of caramel and butterscotch. It benefits from traditional craftsmanship, such as 100 percent Vermont maple syrup, three-year barrel aging and devotion for extremely high quality.
According to Robillard, it took almost a year to get the engineering done and create a “robust product”.
The process of engineering a new spirit was not as smooth as the taste of the end product. In addition to traveling to Europe, Robillard visited locally renowned distilleries in the area. He also took distilling classes and has studied the subject for four years. His wife Melissa is the acting CFO and performs all the compliance and tax functions.
“A lot of work has to be done before it can be bottled,” he said. “Most people like maple and appreciate the fact it’s made with real maple,” said Robillard. “The trick was to keep the maple flavor without making it too sweet. Lots of effort went into striking the right balance. We even considered calling it ‘Cabin Fever Maple Spice.'”
Cabin Fever is produced and bottled in United States. But Robillard still conducts all his research and development in his backyard garage.
To sample recipes, find upcoming product tastings locations and date, and for more information, please visit www.CabinFeverSpirits.com.