There once was an old silver mining boomtown by the name of 7 Troughs where you could park your horse, walk into a saloon and order a glass of whiskey from the town’s own distillery. The town’s whiskey was so fine, you could taste a hint of Sage Brush, a dash of cottontail rabbit’s foot, and a whisper of the Black Rock desert wind. It was a whiskey that a cowboy could still savor on his tongue as he rode off into the dusty, crimson sunset. Nothing but desert for endless miles where the winds of the Old West still blow tumbleweeds through abandoned mining towns: this is the Nevada we cherish. Tom Adams has brought that Nevada to The Basement with 7 Troughs Speakeasy.
“We want you to know about the story and why we are doing this; not just what you are drinking but why you are drinking it,” says Tom, owner of 7 Troughs Distilling Co., talking about the philosophy behind his latest business venture, 7 Troughs Speakeasy in The Basement. “We are not here to make craft cocktails that contain 15 different ingredients. We want you to know about what’s in the glass and why we made it and why it’s special. We are going to tell you what the products are and there are no questions that are off limits.”
What makes 7 Troughs spirits so special? Before he began distilling, Tom hired an archivist to help discover recipes from the pre-prohibition era of old Nevada mining towns. “Everything we create is pre-20th century. If it was made in the 18 or 1700s, those are the recipes that we seek and then we recreate them,” he says. The name “7 Troughs” comes from one such boomtown located North of Winnemucca in the Black Rock Desert. The few distillers that survived prohibition, the same big names you find on the bottles shelved in the hard liquor section, later became successful by creating recipes for mass production that required a more scientific approach. “We do more art than science,” says Tom. 7 Troughs seeks to mimic recipes of the smaller, pre-prohibition distilleries. “We wanted to give a nod to the old-timers. They made due with what they had. And that’s the path that we follow. We are small enough so we can afford to do that. We still use a flame fired pot. We sourdough mash all of our whiskey. We let Nevada flora ferment our products for us.” Which means each batch has its own unique Nevada flavor that can be influenced by the season in which it is produced.
Tom, a proud business owner, is a Nevadan first. “I was born in St. Mary’s. Third Floor!” The passion that Tom has for making authentic, Nevada-made spirits started with changing state law. It was only in late 2011 that it became legal for small local distilleries to exist and Tom was one of many at the forefront that helped write new state law allowing for small distilleries to emerge. “We recognized a void in law, and then we filled that void. …….. When you do that, you gotta put your money where your mouth is. So we started 7 Troughs Distilling Company,” says Tom.
For the same reasons Tom is passionate about staying true to his Nevadan roots, he is overjoyed about finding a home for 7 Troughs Speakeasy in The Basement. “When I came to The Basement for the first time, I absolutely fell in love with this place. It speaks to me. The building is beautiful. The building has so much intense history to it. I would just like people to know [that] they should come here and check out the building and they should ask questions about it.”
Next time you’re at The Basement, park your “horse” outside, pull up a stool at 7 Troughs Speakeasy, ask any question you like, and have the bartender pour you a glass of pure Nevada.