New Local Spirits and Liqueurs to Try this Summer
Our local distillers are like year-round greenhouses–something exciting and intriguing is always blooming. Of course, the blooms are bottles full of delicious spirits and liqueurs, which are sure to make your summer tastier. Try any of the below new and new-ish releases and you'll see how right I am.
Copperworks Barrel-Aged Gin: This is a limited release that just came out last week, so hopefully there are still some bottles available of this special Copperworks gin. It has been aged in charred, new American Oak barrels and has a smooth flavor with the requisite juniper but in balance with spice and botanical hints, as well as a bit of vanilla and caramel from the barrel-aging. Like all Copperworks’ gins, it has been crafted in a still specifically designed for gin distilling. Because it’s a limited-release, this gin is only available for tasting and sale at the distillery tasting room.
3 Howls Rye Whiskey: The new rye from 3 Howls is amazingly the 12th spirit to be added to the 3 Howls lineup since it opened last summer. That’s a big family of booze! The 3 Howls rye is loosely based off a recipe of George Washington’s, and has a bit more corn mixed with the rye when making it, as well as a special beer barley. The end result has a smoky start with honey and vanilla notes mingling with the grain flavors and a bit of chocolate finish. It mixes well into classic cocktails where rye has had a historical presence, like the Old Fashioned, and is available in a range of liquor stores.
Old Ballard Liquor Co. Midsommar Aquavit: Devoted to bringing a wide array of traditional aquavits to the masses one bottle at a time (as well as some other scrumptious imbibables), the Old Ballard Liquor Co.’s newest release is distilled with the traditional caraway plus three kinds of dill, then infused with even more dill. The end result has an amazing dill and spice taste that has to be tried–preferably cold–with layers of flavor that are slightly woodsy but also completely individual and perfect for summer. It’s meant to be paired with food, and goes well with crayfish, crab and salmon. Learn more and pick up a bottle at the distillery.
Sidetrack Lemon Verbena Liqueur: A beautiful sipper years in the making, this liqueur is like nothing else on the shelves–the closest comparison would be Chartreuse, the classic French liqueur, except Sidetrack’s Lemon Verbena is much less expensive. A rich green color leads into a flavor that is hard to explain, with bits of herb, spice, citrus and more all playing together in a well-balanced way. There’s also, like the aged Chartreuses, a healthy kick. This is a liqueur to savor by itself, sure, but it also makes a top-notch cocktail. Your best bet for a bottle is to visit the distillery.
Novo Fogo Barrel-Aged Cachaça: Okay, this isn’t made in the state (it’s made Brazil where cachaça is from), but the Novo Fogo HQ is here, and the spirit was launched here, and so to me it’s local. And it’s wonderful. Aged for two to three years within the rainforest in American oak barrels that have been taken apart, sanded and re-toasted, this cachaça is a very memorable tipple, with banana bread, chocolate, cinnamon, bark, coffee and fresh pepper all coalescing on the tongue. Comparable to good bourbons, aged tequilas, and dark rums, it’s dandy solo, but also mixes well with others in cocktails.