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April 14th 2020 - Ritual Sister Smoked Pineapple

April 14th 2020 - Ritual Sister Smoked Pineapple

There’s a town surrounded by water and filled with farms and vineyards that we call home. Some of the worlds most famous painters have lived + worked here; they were enamored by the light. A house sits up on the cliffs just a short walk to the coast line. It’s big and white, with a long porch, and a barn in back. That’s where you can find us, when we’re not inside the big metal box, painted a shade of black with a name like Midnight Magic. It’s trimmed in white and there’s no sign on the door but that suits us just fine. This is Matchbook Distilling Co. When the world went into quarantine, we saw fewer people. Our local bar closed. Our small circle got smaller. The 2 mile ride between the distillery and our house on the cliffs somehow got shorter. We craved a little luxury to brighten the day - so we created it in two ways - and this is the story of Ritual Sister. Luxury no. 1… a giant fire pit. This Spring, the internet sold out - everyone was at home, and everyone loves a beautiful, hot, carefully controlled hearth. We wanted something big - an activity, a hobby and a third place for us to be. These days it may be unusual to both live and work with a group of people. But what is usual anymore? So there we were. Our “single family household.” With a stash of bagged concrete and stone bricks. And shovels. A few days later, we had a fire pit. Dug and laid into the earth stretching about 8 feet wide and a few feet deep. Luxury no. 2.. the acquisition of 4,000 lbs of fresh pineapples. We peeled, and juiced and fermented the first half into a fresh pineapple eau-de-vie. Delicious. But the second half.. and here’s where things got real real interesting.. ..We filled that pit with pineapples. The process began early in the AM, building a questionably high fire — getting it up to about 400F. Hours later, spreading out the coals and laying down 2 layers of pineapples in a spiral configuration. A second layer of hot coals to top it off before burying the entire pit and celebrating. We celebrated pineapples, and fire pits. We celebrated our single household / work place, the joys of being outside, and life in the country. Three days later we returned with shovels to dig up our prize. The pineapples were beautiful. They were charred in places but mostly a rich gold in hue, and they dripped with caramel. We tossed them into fermenting bins and stomped on them. For 3 weeks. Just a splash of Champagne Yeast. When it was finished, we pressed off the juice and loaded it into our copper pot column still. And we ran it - distilling the essence of that roasted fruit and the lingering smoke into the bottle. And that, is Ritual Sister. I taste the smoke and the earth and the roasted pineapples in all the right places. But I can also taste the work in it. Those days were long. And while I started them alone, building the fires in the early morning light, as the sun came out, so did the team. All day, and into the night, everyone pitched in. Adjusting the technique, moving hot coals and hauling earth. I taste the work in it and it makes me warm. I hope you can too. Happy Autumn, Cheers!


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