Before Phil Brandon founded Rock Town in Little Rock ten years ago, Arkansas hadn’t had a legal distillery since Prohibition. Now, the distillery churns out award-winning vodkas, gins, whiskeys, and liqueurs—all very much rooted in Brandon’s home state.
“I’m a fifth-generation Arkansan, and when I started the distillery, I wanted to source as many products as I could from Arkansas,” he says. Rock Town buys grain grown within 125 miles of the distillery for its vodka, gin, and whiskies, and gives post-distilling waste to a local farmer to feed to his livestock (it’s still got a touch of alcohol in it, so the distillery staff jokes that Arkansas has extra-happy cows).
For this deceptively strong cocktail, Rock Town’s vodka packs a punch underneath the distillery’s own bourbon cream and coffee liqueur, made with cold brew from a North Little Rock roastery called Leiva’s, whose beans come from the owner’s family farm in Guatemala. “The liqueur tastes just like pure, strong, cold-brewed coffee,” Brandon says, “lightly sweetened and nutty.”
They serve the drink up at the bar within the distillery, along with a rotating cast of other cocktails. “We top it with either brandy cherries or bourbon marshmallows from local creamery Loblolly,” Brandon says. “It’s a delicious blend of coffee, cream, with that hint of bourbon. We call it the Landslide.”