Last Updated on February 14, 2023 by Jeremy
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With the liquor laws easing in Pennyslvania, many brewers, distillers, and alcohol aficionados have been looking at getting into the business of helping appease a thirsty population.
In Carnegie, Quantum Spirits has been improving the libations game one spirit and cocktail at a time.
While this one is still young by distillery standards, with each passing year they are getting better and better with their spirits, bar program, and now even a full kitchen with a stellar food menu as well!
A Wonderful Spread at Quantum Spirits
When Quantum Spirits first opened, we had to do a double-take at their launch product- a rye vodka.
Normally when you hear rye, your thoughts instantly go to whiskey and you don't even entertain the idea of its use in other spirits. Quantum's vodka includes straight rye as well as rye malt and will give even the most devout whiskey drinkers (like us) reason to pause- is this really going to be vodka?
We can assure you, it was.
When you first sniff the vodka, you get an overwhelming sense of fruitiness- not a pungent alcohol kick like you'd expect from others. When you taste, the vodka unleashes a flavor that is distinctively rye, but is full of an unusual sweetness to it that the owners like to describe as being reminiscent of creme brulee.
Normally in these circumstances, we would smile and nod, as we're not really ones to pick obscure undertones out of liquors, but that particular tasting note hits it right on the head- so much so that we could be inclined to drink this particular vodka neat.
That is high praise.
Since then, we've returned to Quantum Spirits to try many more products that have come out including their citrus vodka, various gins, an exceptional grapefruit gin liqueur that we routinely have bottles of at home, their takes on vermouth and amaros, flavored bitters, and even a solera whiskey program that is introducing progressively aged whiskeys as the years go by (with even more new spirits planned for the future, too!).
Suffice it to say, you may head to this distillery because one or two spirits catch your eye, but if you're anything like us their entire portfolio will blow you away. Now we just can't wait for more aged products to hit the market! Thankfully, in the meantime we can enjoy some pretty killer cocktails from their on-site bar!
Go to Quantum for the Cocktails
There is more to Quantum Spirits more than sampling their spirits. The distillery is home to a rather beautiful tasting room that is sleek, simple, and dotted with intergalactic designs, black walls, and team nerd coasters (our personal favorite) as well as a modest outdoor patio space too.
Much like the spirit availability, the cocktail list here runs the spectrum.
During our first visit, we sampled the Schroedinger's Cat (a sparkling spiced cider, vodka, and orange mix) as well as the Galactic Mule (their take on a Moscow Mule with Maine Root Ginger Beer).
The Galactic Mule was about as perfectly balanced of a Moscow Mule as you can get, and the corresponding sweetness of the vodka helped balance out the rather robust flavors of the ginger beer quite nicely.
In normal circumstances this cocktail would've been our winner, but the Schroedinger's Cat took on a life of its own with a beautiful balance between the spiced cider and vodka. The orange slice floating on top also felt fitting for the sci-fi themed spot.
In subsequent visits, we've been drawn to other gems like their seasonal Old Fashioneds, a refreshing Grapefruit Gin & Juice, and a whole lot more. Some of these are spirit-forward, others are mixer-forward, and no matter what we're in the mood for when visiting we always find several new creations we want to try making this a great one to return to for the sake of variety.
Suffice it to say, whenever they get the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster on the menu we'll be the first ones there, along with our favorite towel (of course).
As an added bonus, Quantum Spirits has also been releasing many ready-to-drink cocktails over the years as well in 750 mL bottles and four pack cans as well. So if you're looking to have some of their best creations from the comfort of your own home, they have you covered there too!
Stay at Quantum Spirits for the Food Menu
We have to admit that the spirits and cocktail program at Quantum was enough to keep us returning time and time again (we've truly lost count of how many times we've been there over the years), but in 2021 the distillery also launched a full kitchen to have an on-site food menu as well.
The menu here runs the spectrum from more conventional bar fare (think nuts and soft pretzels) to items that you would expect at a more conventional restaurant or gastropub (tacos, flatbread pizzas, and a dedicated brunch menu on weekends too).
But when you start to dive down into the menu, you'll note some unique differences that you wouldn't expect to find. The soft pretzel comes with an IPA beer cheese made with a brew from a local brewery, many items feature sauces or slaws made with the distilleries own spirits, and more.
When you know their products are good straight or in a cocktail, you can rest assured they're also great cooked in food as well!
During our visit, we were able to grab an order of a special pork taco with a spicy slaw as well as their eggs benedict with ham and hollandaise. We loved how the tacos were served with the meat on top of the slaw for presentation purposes and neither dish was lacking in the flavor department as well (a good thing as they held their own against the cocktails at large as well).
Like Out-There Drinks? Try Experimental Cocktail Night
If you are in the mood to try more creative cocktails, Quantum's Experimental Night is for you.
This once-a-month ticketed event showcases four never-been-made-before cocktails within a set theme. In our November Experimental Night, for example, the theme was Sweater Weather and the class had cocktails sure to warm the bones with some fall flavors.
These are setup demonstration style, where Quantum's bartenders go through how to make each drink, and guests are served sample sized versions of each cocktail and given a recipe card to make some of the full-sized creations at home. Feedback is given, and some of the most popular may even make it onto the final menu later on!
Overall, Quantum Spirits is one of those places that isn't resting on its laurels and is always looking to the future to improve. More spirits? You know they're coming. New cocktails? They come out regularly. And the food program? Well, now you have a trifecta of reasons to visit this one.
So whether you go simply to try the spirits and pick up a bottle, have a cocktail or two, or grab food, this one has you covered many times over.
Quantum Spirits is located at 230 E Main Street in Carnegie, PA. We were guests of Quantum Spirits to try out their food menu above but are frequent customers as well.
For more local distilleries in southwestern PA, check out Boyd & Blair Vodka, Maggie's Farm Rum, Wigle Whiskey, Lawrenceville Distilling, and Liberty Pole Spirits.
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