Customers can get a free hand sanitizer with a gin delivery order.

By Cailey Rizzo
Updated August 07, 2020
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As New York City has been in the middle lockdown procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic, restaurant and bar owners have gotten creative as to how they're going to serve customers and stay in business — or in this case, they've changed specialties.

Lending help to the city's relief efforts, distillery companies in Brooklyn are keeping their facilities open by producing small-batch artisanal hand sanitizer.

“I never thought in my life that I’d be in the hand sanitizer business,” Greenhook Ginsmiths founder, Stephen DeAngelo, told New York Eater in a recent interview.

New Yorkers who order alcohol delivery from Greenhook Gin or fellow distillery St. Agrestis, will get a small bottle of house-made hand sanitizer free with their order. The offer is available throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

On March 24, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated in a press conference that the city has almost 15,000 cases of coronavirus, according to NBC New York.

To help prevent further spread of the virus, the Alcohol, Tobacco, Trade and Tax Bureau issued an advisory that distilleries around the country are legally allowed to produce tax-free hand sanitizer, which lead to their initial switchover in production. Some distilleries, including Greenhook Gin, are giving away their house-made hand sanitizer to New York hospitals, which are running low on supplies as the pandemic takes over the city.

“I don’t think the future is too bright for gin right now,” DeAngelo said. “This helps to keep my staff busy at this time, and we’re doing a lot of good for the hospitals as well.”

Kings County Distillery will give away bottles of its newly distilled hand sanitizer on site, with a suggested donation of $5 to cover production and raw materials.

Brooklyn’s new hand sanitizers are made using a combination of distillate (an ingredient that could go into a bottle of gin) and gel. They may smell slightly like juniper, one of the main ingredients of gin.

The use of gin as a disinfectant follows the viral report that sanitizer could be made from Tito's Vodka which was debunked by the World Health Organization. For hand sanitizers to work, they should be at least 60 percent alcohol and the popular vodka brand is 40 percent.