“Today was okay. If I can find joy in my work and the people I meet, I can die tomorrow and be proud to have lived this beautiful life. Yes, today was a good day,” says Jack From Brooklyn, as he ends a guided tour of his Red Hook Distillery for a dozen liquor fans. Jack then points to the top cover of Berta, his huge brewing machine:
“Last year I almost lost everything to Sandy. The water level was that high. I’d been only 3 months in production when everything was destroyed. Every day I wanted to quit. But the neighbors came to help. And then volunteers came to help. I’m glad I didn’t lose faith and kept my dream alive.”
Jack brews a unique floral drink made from Brazilian cloves, Indonesian cassia, Nigerian ginger, Indonesian nutmeg and Moroccan hibiscus. This Caribbean recipe has been in his family for hundreds of years but everyone brewed only small batches from their kitchens. Jack had the idea to bring this flavor to Red Hook and market his product under the name Sorel.
“You see where I come from, alcohol and especially rum is the remedy for everything. You caught a cold? Rum. Your body hurts? Rum.”
These huge scoops are filled with Sorel’s raw ingredients before they get boiled. Smells of cinnamon, ginger and flowers will surely bring heat to your senses. One could compare the essence of Jack’s product with the MamaJuana mixes offered to tourists in the Dominican Republic.
“It’s like infusing a huge batch of tea, then adding organic grain alcohol to it.”
You can find Jack’s unique product in 15 states and production keeps on scaling. This tough entrepreneur has a strong character. Maybe that’s what brought him to Red Hook, once a stubborn fishermen hood. But under his imposing physique surely beats a heart of gold.
You can find Jack From Brooklyn at 177 Dwight Street.