Bottoms up

By Kate Welsh
Updated February 13, 2018
EC: People Are Making Whiskey from Stale Bagels Now
Credit: Photo by Brian Leatart via getty images

We're in a strange—erm, innovative?—time when it comes to booze. People aren't just making drinks from other drinks anymore, a la pumpkin spice latte beer. It was only a matter of time before simply flavoring drinks (like pilsners that taste like bacon) became a thing of the past. When a beer made from leftover bread called Toast Ale launched in England in January 2016, the husband-wife duo behind Alchemy Distillery in Northern California took note. Toast Ale brews its beer from surplus bread to contribute to lessening food waste. To make a new whiskey, Alchemy Distillery's Amy Bohner turned to another carb: bagels.

Bohner teamed up with her local bagel slingers, Los Bagels, for help making whiskey out of bagels. They arranged to give Alchemy Distillery their stale plain, multigrain, sesame, and poppyseed bagels. (Previously, all the leftover bagels would all go to pigs in surrounding farms. They still get the whole-wheat raisin, jalapeño, garlic, onion, salt, Parmesan, and everything bagels.)

Bohner receives 60 pounds of bagels every single week, and freezes them until there's enough for a run. Then the bagels are chopped up in a commercial grade wood chipper and left to ferment (like rye or barley in traditional whiskeys) in a new American oak barrel. Bohner is hoping that the first batch will be ready by Hannukah this year—a perfect excuse to pour a drink to go with your post-temple lox spread.