With names pulled straight from the neighborhoods of New Orleans, Seven Three Distilling is making its hometown proud with its unique and delicious spirits.
Seven Three Distilling Co.
Like most craft distilleries Seven Three Distilling makes its home in a primarily industrial district, in this case located just on the edge of the French Quarter. Upon entering, guests are greeted by a spacious, well-appointed gift shop, followed by a small lounge and inviting tasting room to the left. A stylish bartender works behind the large t-shaped bar, mixing beautiful craft cocktails from bottles of house-made syrups and liqueurs. The walls throughout the space are lined with a graphic maps of the city, the names of New Orleans neighborhoods emblazoned in a vintage-style font that matches the packaging of the bottles that fill the room.
The front of house is only a part of the picture: The rest of the sprawling building has ample barrel storage for aging spirits, and of course plenty of space for the large, hybrid still that is the center of the operation. Looking at the building, impressive branding, and diverse line of spirits, it’s hard to believe Seven Three Distilling is only two years old.
Spirits with a Story
One of the first things that stood out to me when entering Seven Three Distilling was the beautiful branding found throughout the merchandise and packaging. The company is named for the seventy-three neighborhoods that make up the city of New Orleans, and each spirit is meant to represent an individual neighborhood. The bold text on each bottle has the vintage vibe of an early 1930’s speakeasy, and the label art can be found on everything from shirts to coasters.
While only in operation for two years, the four owners took five years preparing to open the doors. While none had prior distilling experience, they did their research, made the right connections, and dove into the trade. From what I saw on my visit, the dedication and commitment to detail is clear in every aspect of the business.
It’s no surprise that Seven Three is producing quality products and winning all sorts of awards for their spirits. The hybrid still (part column, part pot) is under the watchful eye of their master distiller, Erik Morningstar. Erik has a prestigious distilling background and extensive training, and it shows in the complexity of flavors that come off the still.
In addition to the flagship St. Roch Vodka and its cucumber variant, Seven Three also has two versions of Gentilly Gin (regular and barrel-aged), Marigny Moonshine, and a blended Irish Channel Whiskey. A clear Black Pearl Rum and a sweet wheated Bywater Bourbon are currently in development, with the first hopefully to be released soon, and the second only a year old and in need of further aging.
My favorite of the spirits was the Gentilly Gin. Sweet, spicy, and with hints of anise and clove, it’s an herbaceous new-wave gin made from infusing their smooth vodka with sixteen different botanicals.
The St. Roch Cucumber Vodka came in a close second and was another favorite of our little group. Infused with real cucumber, the flavor is subtle but present. Its bright, leafy-green notes would be perfect in a Bloody Mary or even a Pimm’s Cup cocktail.
Currently, Seven Three is taking broader distribution slowly in an effort to make sure things are done right. The product can be found throughout Louisiana, and while they do not have an online shop, if you call they can ship product throughout most of the United States, by the case or bottle.
As a history lover, it’s hard not to fall for this product and its ties to New Orleans. Seven Three Distilling is all about telling the stories of the city, and there is certainly so much to learn and celebrate here!
At a Glance: Seven Three Distilling
Location: 301 North Claiborne Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112
Hours of Operation: Open Daily, 12-6pm; Thursday 12-8pm
Atmosphere: Industrial look; upscale drinks in a casual atmosphere.
Food Availability: Assorted snacks available for purchase.
Must Try: I strongly suggest taking the tour – you’ll try most of the spirits and it is one of the more informative and well-timed distillery tours I’ve yet to take.
Insider Info: Definitely leave some time before or after your tour for a cocktail. With homemade syrups and liqueurs, you know you’ll be in for something special.