Nine Southern Small-Batch Spirits

A new breed of craft distillers is turning out some creative—and very tasty—takes on Southern tradition

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    Southern Corn WhiskeyAmericus, Georgia
    The only craft distillery in Georgia, Thirteenth Colony makes two varieties of vodka and an award-winning gin. But distiller Graham Arthur also produces a limited run of this Southern Corn Whiskey, developed from a traditional regional recipe and aged in old oak barrels. 13colony.net

    Serving suggestion:

    Southern Old-Fashioned
    
1 tsp. granulated sugar
    
1 tsp. water
    2 dashes Angostura bitters
    1 slice orange peel
    2 oz. Southern Corn Whiskey
    Maraschino cherry

    In an old-fashioned glass, muddle the sugar, water, bitters, and orange peel together until the sugar has dissolved. Fill glass with ice, add whiskey, and stir. Garnish with a cherry.

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    American Spirit Whiskey Atlanta, Georgia/Charleston, South Carolina
    Somewhere between moonshine and bourbon, this white whiskey is ultra-filtered to mellow the bite typical in most un-aged whiskies. Its versatility makes it a great base spirit for cocktails. americanspiritwhiskey.com

    Serving suggestion:

    White Christmas Julep
    1 oz. American Spirit Whiskey
    ½ oz. peppermint schnapps
    ½ oz. creme de cacao
    3 oz. half-and-half

    
Combine ingredients in a cocktail glass over ice and stir. Garnish with a mint leaf.

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    Cardinal Gin Kings Mountain, North Carolina
    Operating out of an old textile mill, the Mauney family spent two years developing the recipe for their Cardinal Gin—a smooth Western-style gin in which fresh organic botanicals trump the usually dominant juniper. southernartisanspirits.com

    Serving suggestion:

    
Simple gin and tonic served with a lime.

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    Hoodoo Chicory Liqueur Jackson, Mississippi
    From the makers of Cathead vodka comes Hoodoo, a brand-new chicory liqueur reminiscent of New Orleans–style coffee. Not too sweet, not too bitter. catheadvodka.com

    Serving suggestion:

    Café Au Lait
    5 oz. brewed coffee, hot
    
2½ oz. steamed milk
    2 oz. Hoodoo Chicory Liqueur

    
In a cappuccino cup, combine coffee and steamed milk. Then add liqueur and stir.

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    Arkansas Lightning Little Rock, Arkansas
    A traditional moonshine early bootleggers would appreciate, Arkansas Lightning is pot-distilled and made with Arkansas corn and wheat. Careful, this stuff’s bottled at 125 proof. arkansaslightning.com

    Serving suggestion:

    Lightning Tea
    
1 oz. Arkansas Lightning
    
7 oz. sweet tea

    
Mix in a tall glass with ice.

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    Lewis Redmond Carolina Bourbon Whiskey Greenville, South Carolina
    Tucked in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains (Carolina moonshine country), Dark Corner Distillery has just released South Carolina’s first hand-mashed bourbon since Prohibition—named for the notorious nineteenth-century bootlegger Lewis Redmond. darkcornerdistillery.com

    Serving suggestion:

    Neat.

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    Smith’s Premium Vodka Smithville, Texas
    Farm to bottle—and back again. This vodka from Bone Spirits is triple-distilled and made with locally sourced Texas grains. After distillation, the fermented grains are given back to the farmers to be used as fertilizer or livestock feed. bonespirits.com

    Serving suggestion:

    Smith’s White Russian
    1½ oz. Smith's Vodka
    1 oz. Kahlua
    1 oz. light cream
     
    In a shaker half filled with ice cubes, combine all ingredients and shake well. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes.

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    RED Absinthe Nashville, Tennessee
    Inside the former home of Yazoo Brewery, Corsair distillers Darek Bell and Andrew Webber like to experiment. If you’re feeling adventurous yourself, try their RED Absinthe—a traditional nineteenth-century recipe augmented with citrus, tarragon, and red hibiscus for floral notes and color. corsairartisan.com

    Serving suggestion:

    Love in the Afternoon
    Bitters (Angostura or Peychaud's)
    
Sugar cube
    
1 oz. Corsair Red Absinthe
    4 oz. dry champagne

    Shake one dash bitters onto sugar cube. Pour absinthe into flute, and add cube. Slowly add bubbly.


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    No. 1 Texas Single Malt Whisky Waco, Texas
    Centuries-old Scottish distilling tradition gets a Texas transformation with this award-winning single-malt whiskey from the folks at Balcones. From inspecting raw ingredients to bottling and labeling, they take the handcrafted moniker seriously. balconesdistilling.com

    Serving suggestion:

    Neat.

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