7 Must-Buy American Spirits According to a Craft Distilling Expert

Leopold Bros. Michigan Tart Cherry Liqueur Photo © Jordan Holloway & Ross Evertson
By Ray Isle Posted October 17, 2014

Author James Rodewald shares 7 American craft spirits to put on your shopping list.

Author James Rodewald shares 7 American craft spirits to put on your shopping list.

Leopold Bros. Michigan Tart Cherry Liqueur ($35)
“When I was in Denver, I stalked these guys for days. I drove out to see them several times, but no one was ever there, and no one ever answered the phone. However, a friendly bartender let me taste a few of their products, and I thought this cherry liqueur was terrific.”

St. George Spirits Dry Rye Gin ($35)
“I’d love to make a Negroni with distiller Lance Winters’s Dry Rye Gin and the amaro he’s working on. But until it’sready, I’ll keep using Campari as my mixer because the gin itself is so darn good. All three of his gins are fascinating, but the Dry Rye is my favorite.”

New York Distilling Company Rye Whiskey ($39)
“Allen Katz, who’s a genius when it comes to rye, resisted the temptation to age it relatively quickly in small barrels. He used large casks, which are a huge time investment but pay off in flavor.”

Osocalis Rare Alambic Brandy ($40)
“Any company that is willing to wait 13 years to release its first product—this fantastic brandy—is clearly dedicated to proper aging.”

Germain-Robin Craft Method Brandy ($48)
“The brandies they’re aging at this California distillery get their inspiration from Cognac, but they’re made with great California fruit. The quality-to-price ratio is off the charts.”

A.D. Laws Four Grain Straight Bourbon Whiskey ($70)
“Al Laws and Jake Norris’s commitment to doing things the right way at this Colorado distillery, with no shortcuts, left me deeply impressed. I got to sample this whiskey straight off the still two and a half years ago and was amazed by its richness.”

Balcones Distilling Texas Single-Malt Whisky ($70)
“Balcones is arguably the best small whiskey maker in America. How Chip Tate keeps the wood flavor in check, I don’t know, but his craft whiskeys are the rare ones that taste like the spirits rather than the barrel.”

Related: American Stouts and Porters
American Beer, Bourbon or More
An American Gin Renaissance

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