fb-pixel Skip to main content

Cocktails and invention at GrandTen Distilling

Cofounder Matt Nuernberger at GrandTen Distilling in South Boston.
Cofounder Matt Nuernberger at GrandTen Distilling in South Boston.Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff/Boston Globe

Matt Nuernberger and Spencer McMinn, cousins and cofounders of GrandTen Distilling in South Boston, are excited to have you to their place for a drink. “I think people can expect a unique experience. We are probably one of the few distilleries in the country where the alcohol goes from the still straight to the glass,” says Nuernberger (pictured).

Last week the two rolled out their new on-site cocktail program. “There is no middleman, so you are going to taste the spirit exactly how we intend it to be enjoyed,” he says.

But it’s not exactly a full bar. “Unfortunately you can’t serve a Bud Light. No beer, no wine, just cocktails,” says the distiller. Though he adds that there are plenty of nonalcoholic options on offer.


Their license to serve is like that of a brewery or a winery — all the alcohol must be made on site. Nuernberger admits that poses some problems for mixing certain drinks, but it also offers some unique R&D opportunities. He gives an example: “Right now we don’t have any amaro, for an amaro-based cocktail like a Hanky Panky. So we could go and create an amaro just for use at the bar without having to worry about supporting that spirit in a broader market.”

Before the bar opened, the pair would need to be sure they could sell enough of any new product to recoup the cost of production, which is always something of a gamble. Now, Nuernberger says, they can try out a spirit during service. “If it’s quite popular and the customer is saying, ‘Hey, can I get a bottle of this?,’ it gives us an opportunity to see what’s popular before we spend a lot of time producing it.”

The two are very excited about their new cocktail menu, which features several experimental spirits. Nuernberger suggests a drink called the Dorry & Martin: “It uses our Wire Works special reserve barrel-aged gin, a unique Angelica liqueur, and vermaro, a special spirit we made to mimic sweet vermouth.”


We won’t miss the Bud Light.

383 Dorchester Ave., South Boston, 617-269-0497, grandten.com.

Catherine Smart can be reached at cathjsmart@gmail.com.