7 Must-Try Spirits from the Great American Distillers Festival
Portland isn’t just home to great distilleries, it’s also home the Great American Distillers Festival. Now in its eighth year, GADF brings some of the top craft distilleries in the country together under one roof. We sampled the offerings to tell you about some of this year’s can’t-miss picks.
Sound Spirits “Vow of Silence” Herbal Liqueur: All of Sound Spirits’ offerings are worth trying, but if you have to pick just one, the herbal liqueur is probably the way to go. Made from a “centuries old French recipe” in Seattle, it’s wonderfully complex and will be a fun ingredient for creative bartenders.
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon: Although the festival is a great opportunity to try spirits from small distillers, it’s worth checking in with big brands too. Woodford Reserve’s new Double Oaked bourbon, which spends time in two differently prepared oak barrels, is a standout among the whiskeys.
It’s Five Rhubarb Liqueur: Hailing from Cashmere, Washington, the creatively named distillery makes a range of dry spirits and liqueurs. The rhubarb liqueur is nicely balanced between sweet and tart with lots of potential applications in cocktails.
Aria Portland Dry Gin: Don’t miss the newest Portland gin. Made by Martin Ryan Distilling at Bull Run Distillery, Aria matches a complex combination of botanicals with an assertive juniper note. Look for this to start showing up on Portland cocktail menus ASAP.
Ransom Vermouth: Ransom Spirits from Dundee, Oregon, is already a favorite among craft bartenders for its unique Old Tom and Small’s gins. Now they’re getting into the vermouth game with a dry vermouth flavored with wormwood, rosehip, cardamom, and a host of other botanicals.
Santa Fe Spirits Silver Coyote: American white dog is often simply unaged, corn-based bourbon but master distiller Colin Keegan has used some of his British flair to transform this white dog into a Silver Coyote. Santa Fe Spirits has combined Scottish yeast and European and American Malts to create a spirit with a more fruity aroma and sweeter and smoother feel than a traditional white dog.
Sub Rosa Saffron Vodka: It is hard to decide if the intensity of this drink comes from the eight flavorful spices or the 90 proof designation, but either way, this vodka is far from the standard boring vehicle for juice that vodkas can be. Sub Rosa has made a savory vodka as complex as gin with a mixture of flavors from cumin, coriander, ginger, and saffron.
To spice up your next party try this spirit in a Moscow Mule.
- 2 oz. Sub Rosa Saffron vodka
- 1/2 oz. lime juice (drop in empty hull of 1/2 squeezed lime)
- 4 oz. ginger beer
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