If your drink makes you wince, take it as a sign from the alcohol gods: It’s time for a quality check. Swap that Malibu for one of the locally produced concoctions below. From cocktails in a bottle to masterful mixers to after-dinner delights, there’s something for everyone. Cheers to supporting Midwest distilleries.
Corpse Reviver, North Shore Distillery
The renowned, family-owned distillery produced only 515 bottles of the summery spirit, which borrows flavor profiles from the classic, ’30s-era Corpse Reviver No. 2 cocktail (gin, Cointreau, Lillet, lemon juice, and absinthe) and gets its citrusy flavor from a hit of white wine. Impromptu party? No problem: Shake with ice and serve. Get it at Green Grocer.
Hatter Royale Hopquila, New Holland Brewing Co.
Credit owner Brett VanderKamp with the inspiration to distill barley and add a serious amount of dry hops. The sweet and spicy combo is reminiscent of white tequila and best served either as a shot or Hoparita: triple sec, sour mix, squeeze of lime, splash of Sprite, and, of course, a salted rim. Available at Provenance Food and Wine.
Bloody Mary Zinger, Longbranch
Pack a punch in your brunch with this badass Bloody Mary mix. Made in the suburbs of Chicago from a secret blend of ingredients (all we know are Tabasco, Worcestershire, and zero thickeners), it’s just spicy enough to be part of your complete breakfast. Pick up a bottle at one of these locations.
Spirit of the Vineyard Red and White Grape Grappas, Black Star Farms
The tiny winery/distillery in Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula double distills its grappa, producing a strong digestif without the typical bite. Fruity red (made with cabernet franc, pinot noir, and merlot) is as indulgent as a slice of chocolate cake; aromatic white (a blend of riesling, gewürztraminer, and Vignole) is light and sweet. Available at Binny’s Beverage Depot.
Hard Cider, Lehman’s Orchard
Another Michigan stunner, Lehman’s Orchard grows and picks each piece of fruit that goes into its specialty ciders. This season 22-ounce bottles include Honeycrisp (dry) and apple raspberry (semisweet). Available at Provenance Food and Wine.
Or throw a party for your friends and tap a keg of blueberry apple, cherry apple, or Jonny Appleseed variety. To request, call 269-683-9078 or e-mail email@example.com.
42 Ice Wine, Fenn Valley Vineyards
Ice-cold temperatures aren’t always a bad thing: They’re the reason that Fenn Valley is able to produce its 42 Ice Wine, which was recently served — with a side of baked Alaska — at the White House’s Governors Ball. Clean and fruity with hints of mango and peach, it’s a sweet postdinner sip. Available online.
Photos: Courtesy of North Shore Distillery; Courtesy of New Holland Brewing Co.; Courtesy of Longbranch; Courtesy of Black Star Farms; Courtesy of Lehman’s Orchard; Courtesy of Fenn Valley Vineyards
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