The spirits (#5) 2012.


If you are not yet full of spirit(s), then you have only your self to blame.

Over the past weeks, I have shared with you a smorgasbord of American-made adult beverages – gin, vodka, rum, whiskey (#1) & (#2).

However, in researching these posts, I have uncovered a number of other great US-made spirits that do not fit into any of my featured categories.

That seemed very unfair. So, today’s post is all about the other amazing American-made spirits discoveries I’ve made.

Check them all out. (Just not all at once. That would not taste good!)

These products are as diverse and as fabulous as the companies who make them.

NB: Tasting notes were provided by the distiller (unless otherwise noted) and prices are approximate and may vary by state or reseller.

Apple Jack – Made in Chagrin Falls, Ohio

You Ought to Know: Fruit brandies may not be staples of the modern bar, but it certainly was in the days before Prohibition. In an agricultural society, fruit was accessible, bountiful and perishable making it an ideal choice as a liquor base. Lianne and Tom Herbruck are working hard to bring the taste and tradition of that history with their Apple Jack (Apple Brandy).

Ingredients/Process: Made from approximately 25 apple varieties. Handmade. Micro-Distilled. Barrel aged.

Tasting Notes: (Batch #3: current release) Depth of character that playfully intertwines notes of ripened fruit, subtle citrus and spice within a back drop of wood, caramel and warming alcohol.

How to Drink: Neat and/or in cocktails.

Price: $33

Distillery: Tom’s Foolery

Other Products: Sour Mash Bourbon (coming soon)

Averell Damson Gin Liqueur – Made in New York

You Ought to Know: Damson plums may have fallen out of fashion with many, most people preferring larger, sweeter varieties of the fruit, but they are still preferred by the folks at the American Gin Company. That is because small, crimson, tart and spicy Damson plums are the key ingredient in the Company’s bold, bright Averell Damson Gin Liqueur.

Ingredients/Process: New York Damson plums. Barrel pressed to extract the juice with rich color of the skins. Then blended with small batch American gin.

Tasting Notes: The taste is tart, fruity, spicy and just a little sweet.

How to Drink: Straight over ice and/or in classic fizzes and/or Averell cocktails.

Price: $28

Distillery: American Gin Company

Other Products: DH Krahn Gin

Barn Swallow Draft Cider - Made in Burlington, Wisconsin

You Ought to Know: ÆppelTreow was conceived in 2001 out of a desire to make high-quality products from apples. Today they make apples and pears into sparkling, draft style, still and aperitif style beverages.

Ingredients/Process: Apples (Red Delicious, Cortland, Ida Red, Greenings)

Tasting Notes: Fruit forward, crisp, semi-dry cider. Crisp and refreshing. Green apple, tart, slightly bubbly.

How to Drink: Chilled neat.

Price: $8

Distillery: ÆeppelTreow Winery & Distillery

Other Products: Perry, Apple Doux, Appley Brut, Orchard Oriole Perry, Bunting Berry Cider, Red Poll Cider, Sparrow Spiced Cider, Orchard Oriole Perry, Kinglet Bitter Cider, Pear Wine, Summer’s End Apple Wine, Cyser Rose Honey-Apple Wine

Don Estaban Cacao Liqueur – Made in Brooklyn, New York

You Ought to Know: Cacao Prieto produces bean-to-bar chocolate made fresh daily from the finest organic, single origin Dominican Cacao and distills a line of small batch, cacao-based liqueurs and rums. Cacao Prieto was founded by Daniel Prieto Preston, an inventor and aerospace engineer, whose family has been farming organic cacao and sugar cane in the Dominican Republic for more than 100 years.

Ingredients/Process: Made from single origin Dominican Cacao and cane sugar.

Tasting Notes: Wonderfully complex and unique with bright notes of dark chocolate with supporting notes of toffee, vanilla bean, and toasted marshmallow with a hint of pepper.

How to Drink: As a digestif and/or in Don Estaban Cacao cocktails.

Price: $47.99

Distillery: Cacao Prieto

Other Products: Don Rafael Cacao Rum, Widow Jane Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

Ginger Liqueur – Made in Portland, Oregon

You Ought to Know: New Deal Distillery began with a simple dream: make a great vodka and change humanity for the better. They began making their artisan vodkas in small batches from Bull Run water and organic ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible. Today they have added gin and a few other specialty spirits to their artisanal lineup.

Ingredients/Process: Chopped, fresh organic ginger root and infused in spirit for many weeks. Finished with organic cane sugar and a hint of agave nectar.

Tasting Notes: Intense spice of ginger balanced with sweetness.

How to Drink: Over ice and/or with bourbon and/or in a Moscow Mule and/or in a Dark & Stormy and/or in Ginger Liqueur cocktails.

Price: $23.95

Distillery: New Deal Distillery

Other Products: New Deal Vodka, Portland 88 Vodka, Hot Monkey Vodka, Mudpuddle Vodka, New Deal Gin No. 1, Portland Dry Gin, Recipe #33, Coffee Liqueur, Distiller’s Workshop

Limoncello di Sonoma – Made in Sonoma, California

You Ought to Know: Limoncello is a traditional Italian liqueur produced primarily in Southern Italy where every family has their own treasured recipe. Hello Cello has brought that Old World taste and craftsmanship to the New World. They make their Limoncello di Sonoma from the best quality, organic ingredients available from a network of growers in Northern California. Limoncello di Sonoma is an authentic, artisan alternative to the imported mass-produced limoncellos currently available on the market.

Ingredients/Process: All organic ingredients – lemons, grappa and agave syrup. Hand-crafted in small batches using a custom filtration system. No chemicals, colorings, artificial flavors or preservatives.

Tasting Notes: Fresh, crisp, juicy.

How to Drink: As a palette cleanser and/or after-dinner drink and/or Limoncello recipes.

Price: $24

Distillery: HelloCello

Other Products: BelloCello di Sonoma, FigCelloHooker’s House Bourbon

North River Port – Made in Lee, New Hampshire

You Ought to Know: Flag Hill has grown from a small winery to New Hampshire’s largest vineyard, its first distillery and one of its most eco-conscious citizens. Flag Hill’s distillery building is a sustainable structure with radiant heat floors and solar thermal roof that harnesses both the sun and excess steam and hot water generated during the production of the distilled spirits.

Ingredients/Process: Aged in oak.

Tasting Notes: Has qualities of black licorice, clove, layered almond and balanced oak ending with a perfect amount of heat.

How to Drink: Neat.

Price: $24.95

Distillery: Flag Hill Winery & Distillery

Other Products: Cranberry Liqueur, Strawberry Liqueur, Blueberry Liqueur, Raspberry Liqueur, Sugar Maple Liqueur, White Mountain Moonshine, Graham’s Grappa, Josiah Barlett Barrel Aged Apple Brandy, Karner Blue Gin, General John Stark Vodka, Pommeau, De Chaunac, Flag Hill Red, Marechal Foch, Flag Hill Blush, Cayuga White, Vignoles, Flag Hill White, Raspberry Fruit Wine, Wild Blueberry Fruit Wine, Apple Cranberry Fruit Wine, Apple Fruit Wine

Peach Applejack – Made in Valatie, New York

You Ought to Know: Harvest Spirits was started when Derek Grout (a former graphic designer) returned home and decided to take advantage of the family’s best and most plentiful asset – apples. (His family has been growing apples and other crops in the Hudson Valley for over 50 years.) By using the farm’s surplus Derek is preserving his family’s way of life, hertiage and land while at the same time making an exciting line of distilled products.

Ingredients/Process: Made from fresh picked peaches, pitted by hand and soaked in their Cornelius Applejack. (No sugar added.) Then strained and put back in the barrel.

Tasting Notes: Mellow sweetness with rich flavors of spice and oak. A true fruit spirit.

How to Drink: Neat and/or in cocktails.

Price: $32

Distillery: Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery

Other Products: Core Vodka, Black Raspberry Core VodkaRare Pear Brandy, Hudson Valley Grappa, Hudson Valley Pear Brandy, Hudson Valley Apple Brandy,

Poire Prisonniere - Made in Ashford, Connecticut

You Ought to Know: Yes, that is a real pear in that bottle. In keeping with European tradition, West Hill Distilleries’ bottle is heart-shaped and contains a full-size Bartlett pear inside. To accomplish this, the pear is grown inside the bottle – a process that begins with placing a bottle upside down over a tiny, delicate pear in June and ends in August with a captive full-grown pear inside.

Ingredients/Process: Ripe pears mashed in a hammermill. Fermented for two or three weeks and then distilled.

How to Drink: Poire Prisonniere cocktails

Price: $75

Distillery: Westford Hill Distillers

Other Products: Framboise, Pear William, KirschFraise, Apple Brandy

Snap – Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

You Ought to Know: Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction borrows its name from Walter Benjamin‘s 1936 essay of the same name that explores the implications, impact and effects of mechanical reproduction on art – its aura and value. The Company continues Benjamin’s work by making and displaying (in their Philadelphia store) thought-provoking products of real cultural capital. SNAP is one example. Based on the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Lebkuchen (ginger snap), SNAP is innovative high-quality small-batch spirit carefully made of high quality organic ingredients that is perfect for wintry cocktails, but has also charmed its way into a few summer ones.

Ingredients/Process: 100% certified organic. Base is a neutral distillate derived from pure cane sugar combined with an array of organic ingredients like cinnamon, cloves, rooibos tea and fresh ginger. Distilled in limited batches.

Tasting Notes: Somewhat sweet, spicy and buttery. Molasses up front with a long ginger finish and hints of vanilla.

How to Drink: Neat and/or in bourbon or rye cocktails and/or Snap cocktails

Price: $32.99

Distillery:  Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Other ProductsRootRhubarb TeaSage

Spirit of Apricot – Made in Suttons Bay, Michigan

You Ought to Know: In 1998 by Kerm Campbell and Donald Coe purchased 120 acres complete with a palatial red estate house, stables, barns and paddocks. Since that time they have turned the land into a Northern Michigan destination complete with an artisanal vineyard/distillery, an inn, cafe and boarding stables.

Ingredients/Process: Fully ripe fruit is fermented on the pits and then distilled rapidly to retain flavor and aroma. The distillate is aged in glass.

Tasting Notes: Crystal clear, full bodied, floral and velvety. The flavor is honeyed and indulgent. A satisfying, fruity brandy with a lingering finish.

How to Drink: Neat and/or in cocktails and/or in food.

Price: $27.50

Distillery: Black Star Farms

Other Products: Pear and Its Spirit, Spirit of Apple, Spirit of Cherry, Spirit of Pear, Spirit of Plum, Spirit of Vineyard Red Grape Grappa, Spirit of Vineyard White Grape Grappa

From Our Old Friends

Oregon Cranberry Liqueur – Made in Portland, Oregon

Ingredients/Process: Begins with Clear Creek’s brandy. Macerated Oregon cranberries are added.

Tasting Notes: Entirely true to the fruit: dark red, tart, lightly sweet, and very fruity.

How to Drink: Neat and/or in champagne and/or over vanilla ice cream and/or in other cocktails and/or in desserts.

Price: $29.95

DistilleryClear Creek Distillery

Other ProductsBlackberry LiqueurLoganberry LiqueurCassis LiqueurCherry LiqueurRaspberry LiqueurPear LiqueurMcCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt WhiskeyOregon Pot-Distilled BrandyGrappa MoscatoMarc de GewuztraminerGrappa of Oregon Pinot NoirGrappa of Pinto GrigioCavatappi Grappa NebbioloCavatappi Grappa SangioveseEaux de Vie – Apple, Pear, Kischwasser, Blue Plum, Mirabelle Plum, Framboise and Douglas Fir

Red Absinthe – Made in Nashville, Tennessee

Ingredients/Process: Using 1800’s recipes and herbs tweaked with citrus, tarragon (dragon wormwood, a relative of the grand wormwood used), and red hibiscus.

Tasting Notes: Clean, fresh, floral.

How to Drink: Traditional and/or modern cocktails.

Price: $60

Distillery: Corsair Distillery

Other ProductsArtisan Gin, Vanilla Bean Whiskey, Spiced Rum, Wry Moon, Triple Smoke, Pumpkin Spice MoonshineSeasonal & Experimental spirits

Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur- Made in Denver, Colorado

Ingredients/Process: Proprietary blend of over a dozen herbs and flowers blended with small amounts of ginkgo biloba, echinacea, coriander, and orange zest. They are then mixed with spirits and aged in small glass carboys. Strained (not filtered) and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

How to Drink: Neat and/or chilled and/or Three Pins cocktails

Price: $20

DistilleryLeopold Brothers

Other Products: Silver Tree Vodka, Leopold’s Gin, American Small Batch Whiskey, New York Apple Whiskey, Rocky Mountain Blackberry Whiskey, Rocky Mountain Peach Whiskey, Georgia Peach Whiskey, Rocky Mountain Blackberry Liqueur, Michigan Tart Cherry Liqueur, New England Cranberry Liqueur, American Orange Liqueur, Frenchpress Style American Coffee Liqueur, Absinthe Verte


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