Distillers Sitdown Series: Ted Palmer of Roundhouse Spirits

The 1st Annual Colorado Distiller’s Festival will be held on September 18.  As part of the roll-out, we will be interviewing the participating CO distillers to feature in the coming weeks.

Today, we’re featuring Roundhouse Spirits in our sit-down with Ted Palmer.


Biographical information


Ted Palmer of Roundhouse Spirits

Full Name
Charles (Ted) Palmer

Current Location:
Boulder, CO

Name of Distillery:
Roundhouse Spirits


You and your distillery

Where did you grow up?
Littleton, CO

How old were you when you had your first drink of a spirit? What was the story behind it?
I was about 9 or 10, I had a nasty bout of flu and my dad made me a hot toddy with bourbon so I could get some sleep, it worked like a charm.

What’s your favorite cocktail?
The Classic Martini with a twist

What cocktail best showcases your distilled spirit, if applicable?
See above

What food pairs well with your spirit, if at all?
Vanilla ice cream with the Corretto Coffee Liqueur

Why are you Colorado-based?  If you moved to Colorado to start your distilleries, why?
I am a Colorado native and I appreciate the laws Colorado has/hasn’t for our industry

How long have you been distilling?
7 years

Now, how long have you really been distilling? 
30 years, My dear grand dad got me started.

How did your distillery get its name?
All of the trains in ‘Thomas the Train’ would meet up at the ‘roundhouse’ to socialize and drink cocktails!


Your distillation process


Roundhouse stills

What’s a fond memory you have of distilling?  Please as many details as you’d like.
I was 16 and had just made a new still and the first batch out of it was fantastic! The feeling of making a still and then having it work the first run was something that I will always remember.

Where do you get the ingredients for your distillate?
All over the world. I try to use organic wherever possible and that often means that I have to get them wherever I can find them.

How do you make your neutral grain spirit?
I buy it since a pot still really can’t make 192 proof NGS.

What’s your favorite spirit to make and why?
Gin, it smells so good and it tastes different each 15 minutes that you taste it coming out of the still.

Do you filter?  If so, why?
Of course! Would you buy a bottle of booze with stuff floating in it? Now if you were meaning do I carbon filter? The answer would be NO! that would remove all the flavor that I worked so hard to get into the spirit.

What’s your philosophy on heads and tails removal?
Leave the heads and you will soon be dead, tails are best recycled.

What do you listen to while you brew/filter/distill?
I put my Ipod on shuffle. Mostly Zappa, Les Claypool and The Black Keys.

Tell us about your still.  Is it a column or pot still?  Does it have a name?
The first pot still that I used for 1 ½ years, was a 3 gallon copper alembic and was called Thomas, the new stills are a 20 and a 130 gallon copper alembics and don’t have names.




Ted's Imperial Gin

What do you think of selling new-make white dog?
It is just fine as long as the spirit is top notch quality.

What type of whiskey do you make? (bourbon, straight etc.)
I make Ginskey!! A barrel aged “New Western” style gin called Imperial.

How long is the average age of your whiskey?
Age statements don’t mean a damn thing. If I age in a 5 gallon barrel, 6 months is the same as 2+ years in a full sized 53 gallon barrel, so don’t get me started!!

What are the predominant flavors in your whiskey?
Imperial has all of the wonderful botanical flavors of my gold medal winning Roundhouse Gin plus the smooth vanilla and caramel notes from the wood with a hint of cinnamon that magically appears after the angels take their share.

How do you drink your whiskey?
Neat with a little branch water.



Roundhouse Gin

What style do you use to distill your gin? (London method, blending method etc.)
I do a maceration in the still and distill once.

How many botanicals are in your gin and what are they?
11 organic botanicals, Juniper, Coriander, Orange, Lemon, Lavender, Chamomile, Hibiscus, Sencha green tea, Orris root, Angelica root, Chinese star anise

Are there any of the botanicals that you believe set yourself apart?
The tea and the anise seem to be what most people notice.

What is your favorite way to drink your gin?
A classic martini without vermouth as there are plenty of flavors already in the gin.

What is the base for your wash? (grapes, potatoes, apples, etc.)



Are there any other less than mainstream products that you distill?
Imperial Barrel Aged Gin!

Thanks, Ted Palmer!

If budget was no issue, what would you like to try to distill?  Yes, bacon is an acceptable answer
Bumble Bee Honey

What are some developments you’re planning on in the coming future?
3 flavors of Agave spirits, Blanco, reposado and anjeo, single malt whiskeys

Why should folks buy local CO spirits?
Every dollar that you spend in the local economy gets spent again in the local economy! Nuff said.


A BIG thank you to Ted Palmer for a great interview!  
Don’t forget to buy your ticket to the CO Distillers Festival!

About Jess Hunter

Jess is a lady and a scholar. If she's not mulling over the various names of famous mustaches and their respective bitter cocktails, she's nibbling on American Craft Singles and Cantillon. Connect with her by email at jesshunter@denveroffthewagon.com.