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Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery (2021)

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Gin, vodka, rum and whiskey are great and all, but the American thirst for craft spirits has grown beyond the bounds of the traditional to embrace specialty spirits from around the globe. Modern-day distilleries now craft liqueurs, absinthe, aquavit, amaro and a host of other interesting libations alongside their flagship spirits.

  • Cardinal Spirits

    Cardinal Spirits
    Bloomington, Indiana

    Indiana’s Cardinal Spirits provide their American version of an Italian liqueur with its one-of-a-kind spicy and naturally sweet La Boite Amaro. Fifteen culinary spices are blended to compliment distilled red wine. The distillery also offers a Valencia Spanish Orange liqueur, a Songbird Coffee Liqueur with added bourbon vanilla beans and cane sugar, and a Floral liqueur infused with raspberries and jasmine, elderflower, and hibiscus.
    Photo courtesy of Cardinal Spirits

  • Boardroom Spirits

    Boardroom Spirits
    Lansdale, Pennsylvania

    Among the interesting offerings from Boardroom Spirits are their Periodic Table of Spirits, each distilled from fermented fruits and vegetables like beets, carrots, apples and pears. The distillery also makes a Triple Sec Liqueur infused with real oranges and sweetened with organic cane sugar.
    Photo courtesy of Boardroom Spirits

  • Sugarlands Distilling Company

    Sugarlands Distilling Company
    Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Sugarlands Distilling Company specializes in moonshine (a type of white whiskey), but the Tennessee distillery also makes a line of boozy Sippin’ Creams in flavors like Strawberry Dream, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Electric Orange, Eggnog, Dark Chocolate and Butter Pecan.
    Photo courtesy of Sugarlands Distilling Company

  • Tamworth Distilling

    Tamworth Distilling
    Tamworth, N.H.

    Tamworth Distilling specializes in unique spirits made from local ingredients, including their Tamworth Garden Gin Series, their line of Von Humboldt’s Natur Wassser and their Garden Infusion spirits using New England ingredients like Black Trumpet Blueberry, Chicory and Beet. From start to finish, each spirit embodies their scratch made ethos: local, house-milled grain, pure water, herbs and botanicals from the woods and their garden, along with local fruits and vegetables.
    Photo courtesy of Tamworth Distilling

  • Ghost Coast Distillery

    Ghost Coast Distillery
    Savannah, Georgia

    Savannah’s Ghost Coast Distillery offers a lineup of classic spirits, as well as some specialty products. The Chalmers Maraschino is made from Montmorency cherries, almonds and a peach noyaux made in-house. The Verte Herbal Bitters takes inspiration from a 150-year-old recipe with flavors of mint, lemon and thyme. Ghost Coast also distills a barrel-aged fernet and a peach liqueur.
    Photo courtesy of Ghost Coast Distillery

  • Letterpress Distilling

    Letterpress Distilling
    Seattle, Washington

    The grain-to-glass Letterpress Distillery in Seattle distills their spirits from locally sourced wheat and barley. The lineup of specialty spirits includes a bittersweet amaro, limoncello made from a house-distilled vodka base and real lemons and a spring seasonal blood orange liqueur.
    Photo courtesy of Letterpress Distilling

  • Long Road Distillers

    Long Road Distillers
    Grand Rapids, Michigan

    Among the spirits made by the folks at Long Road Distillers in Grand Rapids are two varieties of aquavit, a popular Scandinavian spirit. The Original Aquavit has a profile of herbs and spices, while the limited release Old Aquavit rests in used whiskey barrels for 12 months, lending it greater complexity with notes of dill and caraway. The Michigan distillery also makes limited release liqueurs in flavors like raspberry and cherry.
    Photo courtesy of Long Road Distillers

  • Highside Distilling

    Highside Distilling
    Bainbridge Island, Washington

    Highside Distilling does all its mashing, fermenting, distilling and aging in-house, using ingredients grown in Washington. Specialty spirits here take the form of Amaro Mele, made from Highside Distilling Gin, local apples and 10 different botanicals; Fernet Lario, a mint and menthol-forward spirit finished with raw Washington mint honey; and Amaro Rosina, an apertivo-style amaro distilled from apples.
    Photo courtesy of Highside Distilling

  • Griffo Distillery

    Griffo Distillery
    Petaluma, California

    In addition to its collection of spirits, mixers, and canned cocktails, Griffo Distillery in Petaluma, California, offers its best-selling Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur. Pairing a premium Mocha Java blend with five-times distilled vodka creates a rich and smooth liqueur with chocolate and berry flavors and a caramel finish.
    Photo courtesy of Griffo Distillery

  • 10 Torr Distilling and Brewing

    10 Torr Distilling and Brewing
    Reno, Nevada

    10 Torr Distilling and Brewing in Reno makes their distinctive Coffee Liqueur from hand-roasted coffee, cold-brewed and blended with vacuum-distilled vodka, turbinado sugar and Madagascar vanilla beans. It’s perfect on its own, in your morning coffee or added to a White Russian.
    Photo courtesy of 10 Torr Distilling and Brewing

 

The top 10 winners in the category Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery are as follows:

  1. Cardinal Spirits - Bloomington, Indiana
  2. Boardroom Spirits - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
  3. Sugarlands Distilling Company - Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  4. Tamworth Distilling - Tamworth, N.H.
  5. Ghost Coast Distillery - Savannah, Georgia
  6. Letterpress Distilling - Seattle, Washington
  7. Long Road Distillers - Grand Rapids, Michigan
  8. Highside Distilling - Bainbridge Island, Washington
  9. Griffo Distillery - Petaluma, California
  10. 10 Torr Distilling and Brewing - Reno, Nevada

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning distilleries!

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10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Ziggy Eschliman

Ziggy Eschliman

Ziggy Eschliman

Brian Christensen

Brian Christensen

Brian Christensen
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