After a successful career as an aerospace engineer, Daniel Preston found the impetus for his next big project close to home. His family owns an organic cacao farm in the Dominican Republic, so he began to source the beans to produce high-quality chocolate. Since the fermented cacao beans used to make chocolate can also be distilled, that led Preston into creating cacao-infused rum and liqueur. Next, he turned his eye to bourbon. The secret behind his Widow Jane bourbon is its most basic ingredient: mineral-rich water sourced from a historic limestone mine in Rosendale, N.Y.
DON’T MISS THESE SPIRITS: In addition to Don Rafael cacao rum and cacao liqueur, you’ll want to get your hands on a sample of the Widow Jane 10-year-old five-barrel-blend whiskey. Preston has also experimented with growing heirloom corn varietals that are 100% GMO-free, producing exciting new bottles of Heirloom bourbon that differ greatly depending on the type of corn used.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: It’s not enough to taste the products; you’ll want to visit the stunning distillery in person on a weekend tour from noon to 6 p.m. Public tours cost $20 per person. Private tours are available by appointment only.