It’s no secret that we Southerners like to have a cocktail or two every now and again and lucky for us there are plenty of really great Southern-made spirits out there to mix it up. Whether you’re tailgating before the big game or rocking on the front porch watching the sun go down, whip up a cocktail with one of these liquors made right here in the South.
Well, you can’t talk about Southern liquor without mentioning bourbon, so we’ll jump right into it …
Buffalo Trace Eagle Rare
Maybe it’s the notes of toffee and honey but we can’t get enough of Buffalo Trace’s Eagle Rare Bourbon made in Frankfort, KY. Aged no less than 10 years, it’s so smooth, it’s scary. It’s become our go-to drink for any drinking occasion but we’ve found that you can’t always find it at restaurants and bars — so when we do find it, it’s a must order.
SB Tip: If you ever get the chance to visit the Buffalo Trace Distillery, do it. We went on the tour this summer and were amazed at how beautiful the grounds were and how much history there is surrounding the distillery and distilling process. Plus, it’s supposedly haunted … Oh, and bourbon balls at the end of the tasting never hurt anyone. If you can, get on a tour led by Freddie Johnson. He’s the man and is third generation of his family to work at Buffalo Trace. It’s been months and we still talk about Freddie’s tour …
Lewis Redmond Bourbon
Bourbon purists who believe bourbon is only made in Kentucky might disagree with this choice but Dark Corner Distillery in Greenville, SC (yes, THAT Greenville), is breaking all the rules with its Lewis Redmond Carolina Bourbon that’s aptly named after a 19th century outlaw and bootlegger who was pardoned for his crimes under one condition: He had to start making his hand-mashed whiskey for the Palmetto State. We’re glad he did because we’re loving the molasses and peanut accents of this bourbon.
13th Colony Sour-Mash Bourbon
Alright, here’s another bourbon we found that’s made outside of Kentucky. This sour-mash bourbon is distilled in Americas, GA, by 13th Colony Distilleries and has been meticulously aged in charred American oak barrels for three years. It has notes of cinnamon, caramel and vanilla creme — but be careful because it packs a big punch at 105-proof!
Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka
We discovered Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka last summer and are really, really happy we did. It’s light and refreshing and makes us nostalgic about picking honeysuckle off the vines as kids. We also love the vodka’s sweet (but not too sweet!) finish that keeps it from having an overwhelming ethanol bite at the end. They have several other flavors including pecan and a seasonal pumpkin spice. Cathead Distillery is located in Jackson, MS.
Dixie Southern Vodka
Out of Charleston, SC, Dixie Southern Vodka is another great vodka that’s winning the flavor game. With a wide variety including mint, citrus and black pepper, the cocktail combinations you can make with these are endless.
Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka
Distilled in Dripping Springs, TX, right outside of Austin, Deep Eddy’s Ruby Red Vodka is a grapefruit-infused vodka that’s so tasty you’ll want it just on the rocks. Deep Eddy’s goes the extra mile distilling their vodkas 10 times, giving it a cleaner and smoother finish, so drink up! It has real fruit in it, so it’s gotta be good for you, right?!
Doc Porter’s Gin
Doc Porter’s Distillery gin made in Charlotte, NC, is a personal favorite of ours because they are very careful about not adding too much juniper during the distilling process, which is what gives a lot of gins a licorice flavor and the reason why some people don’t like to drink it. Doc did it right! It’s the smoothest gin we’ve ever tasted — and know even non-gin drinkers will like this version.
Cardinal American Dry Gin
Another homegrown, Carolina-made gin that caught our attention is Cardinal American Dry Gin made in Kings Mountain, NC, by Southern Artisan Spirits — the third legal distillery to open in the Tar Heel State. They pride themselves on using all organic ingredients and 11 different botanicals to get what they consider the perfect gin flavor.
Silverback Distillery Strange Monkey Gin
Strange Monkey Gin from Silverback Distillery located in Afton, VA, captures everything drinkers love about traditional gin — the predominate botanical flavors of juniper, coriander and bitter orange peel. Plus, how cool are the bottles? They’re sure to be a conversation starter at any function.
WARNING: Your Southern drawl may become slurred with consumption — and always drink responsibly. Cheers!
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