The Best Local Liquors

“Local” liquor is often anything but. It starts as ethanol made by industrial manufacturers, then is aged, flavored, or filtered locally to make booze that only then has any claim to native status. But as craft distilleries proliferate—up fivefold in the past five years alone—producers are sourcing their wheat, rye, and sugar from nearby fields to capture regional terroir, as vintners do with wine. Result: flavors as distinctive as the ingredients. (Inga Hendrickson)
Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Vod Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eaux de Breckenridge Distillery Bitters Troy and Sons Platinum Moonshin Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Wh Death’s Door Gin

“Local” liquor is often anything but. It starts as ethanol made by industrial manufacturers, then is aged, flavored, or filtered locally to make booze that only then has any claim to native status. But as craft distilleries proliferate—up fivefold in the past five years alone—producers are sourcing their wheat, rye, and sugar from nearby fields to capture regional terroir, as vintners do with wine. Result: flavors as distinctive as the ingredients.

Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Vodka

Produced by a beekeeper in Vermont, the honey in this vodka is cold fermented and then added to the still for a richer, less astringent spirit. ($32, 375ml)

Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Vod Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eaux de Breckenridge Distillery Bitters Troy and Sons Platinum Moonshin Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Wh Death’s Door Gin
(Inga Hendrickson)


Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eaux de Vie

This 95-proof 95-proof liquor begins as brandy made from Oregon grapes, then the distillers add tips of springtime Douglas fir, enhancing the familiar juniper notes. ($50, 375ml)

Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Vod Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eaux de Breckenridge Distillery Bitters Troy and Sons Platinum Moonshin Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Wh Death’s Door Gin
(Inga Hendrickson)


Breckenridge Distillery Bitters

Among the new variations of potable bitters, this sipper is an ideal aperitif to settle your stomach before a big dinner, layered with complex flavors of roots, spices, and a hand-harvested alpine herb called genepi, similar to the wormwood in absinthe. ($29, 750ml)

Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Vod Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eaux de Breckenridge Distillery Bitters Troy and Sons Platinum Moonshin Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Wh Death’s Door Gin
(Inga Hendrickson)


Troy and Sons Platinum Moonshine

This smooth moonshine comes from heirloom white corn thought to be extinct—until it turned up on a farm outside Asheville, North Carolina, in 2010. ($30, 750ml)

Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Vod Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eaux de Breckenridge Distillery Bitters Troy and Sons Platinum Moonshin Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Wh Death’s Door Gin
(Inga Hendrickson)


Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey

Made with Pennsylvania grain, this rye is aged seven to nine months in 15-gallon casks, then bottled at 90 proof. ($40, 750ml)

Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Vod Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eaux de Breckenridge Distillery Bitters Troy and Sons Platinum Moonshin Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Wh Death’s Door Gin
(Inga Hendrickson)


Death’s Door Gin

Starting with organic wheat from Wisconsin’s Washington Island, Death’s Door adds handpicked juniper berries to impart a distinct North Woods twang. ($30, 750ml)

Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Vod Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eaux de Breckenridge Distillery Bitters Troy and Sons Platinum Moonshin Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Wh Death’s Door Gin
(Inga Hendrickson)

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