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Food + Drink

America’s Best New Distilleries

If there's one thing the 2016 election season has done, it's driven us to drink...and drink…and drink. Luckily, there are plenty of new distilleries across the country to drown our sorrows in a well-crafted tipple. Here, some of our favorites.

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Courtesy of Empire Spirits Project

1

Empire Spirits Project, NY

If you're a fan of gin, check out Empire Spirits Project. This Manhattan-based company, which does its distilling in Yonkers, is all about redefining the 400-year-old spirit by incorporating new flavor profiles. That means less juniper and more variations using unusual botanical pairings. We love the Smoked Gin with notes of caraway and peppercorn.

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Courtesy of Republic Restoratives

2

Republic Restoratives, Washington DC

Think the good people of our nation’s capitol need a stiff one? The women behind the crowd-funded Republic Restoratives sure do—so they’ve created Civic vodka, made from North American corn in their dual-kettle still in Ivy City. The reclaimed wood walled Ivy Room cocktail bar is open weekend nights for note-perfect Moscow Mules and NE Side Gimlets.

RELATED: 9 Classic Cocktails You Didn't Know Were Invented at Hotels

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Courtesy of K. Gennaro Photography

3

Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana, California

The first distillery in Orange County, Blinking Owl, is as cinematic in design as you’d expect a La-La-Land bar to be, with deep leather banquettes and brass detailing. But it’s the expertly made spirits that will have you coming back again and again: the organic Durham Wheat vodka is double distilled, and the citrus-flavored vodka gets its refreshing zip from Valencia oranges grown in Orange County.

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4

Upstate Distilling Co., Saratoga Springs, NY

A former bike factory near Albany is now a destination in itself: Upstate Distilling Co. makes peppery vodka, gin, and rye (New York was once reportedly the capitol of rye whiskey). Stop by for a few sips before--and after--a race at nearby Saratoga Race Track, built in 1863.

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5

Rocker Spirits, Littleton, Colorado

Inspired by a 1930s oil can, Rocker Spirits is all about the (nearly!) lost art of craft—for proof (get it?), just sample sips of its three-year-oak-barrel-aged whiskey and six-year-aged rum. Or try the autumnal cocktail, Alpha Adapt, at the bar—it’s a mix of cider, whiskey, hops, chocolate and fall spices, served hot.

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Courtesy of Donovan Roberts Witmer

6

Thistle Finch, Lancaster, PA

Calling all locavores: some 90% of the grains used to make Thistle Finch's rye whiskey come from surrounding Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. Slip through an unmarked door in this brick warehouse, belly up to the bar, and order a glass of their black pepper rye, aged in oak barrels with Tellicherry peppercorns.

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7

High West Distillery at Blue Sky, near Park City, Utah

Last year, the couple behind Utah’s highly successful High West Distillery opened an outpost at Blue Sky, where you can see grains aging into whi’key in copper stills. After a viewing, explore the ranch's 3,500-hundred-acres on a trail ride throughout the property.

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Courtesy of Jeptha Creed

8

Jeptha Creed, Shelbyville, KY

The first distillery since Prohibition in Shelby County has just opened outside Louisville, crafting non-GMO vodkas and moonshines available in (what else?) Mason jars. Bottom’s up.

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Courtesy of Joshua Kennedy Miller (JKM Photography)

9

Scratch Distillery, Edmonds, Washington

Opened last year in a Seattle suburb, Scratch Distillery makes non GMO, organic liquor of all sorts—including a vodka distilled from grapes and gin aged in onetime bourbon oak barrels. Register for a GINiology class to create your own flavored bottle of gin.

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10

Tate & Co. Distillery, Waco, TX

The hometown of that Chip and Joanna is also home to another Chip, distiller Chip Tate, who won the Best Overall American Whisky at London’s World Whisky Awards in 2014. His brand new distillery is perfecting a brandy made from French-American hybrid grapes that doesn’t even need to be “fixed up.” 

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