Thanks to the great natural resources out here, boutique distilleries are cropping up as fast as you can say "happy hour." Here are some to watch
Park City, UT
A former Genentech scientist and his wife opened this ski in/ski out “gastro distillery”―the first legal distillery in Utah since the 1870s.
They bottle Rendezvous Rye Whiskey (it won gold at the 2008 World Spirits Competition) and Vodka 7000', made from local oats and snowmelt water. highwestdistillery.com
Inspired by a love for the Northwest, Dry Fly Distilling embraces sustainable resources and local ingredients.
The first grain distillery in Washington since Prohibition, it produces gin, vodka, and a limited-edition Wheat Whiskey (released in August) that’s flying off the shelves.
Santa Barbara, CA
Nanoscientist Michael Wyrsta is behind RND Vodka, one of the purest vodkas we’ve tasted (it’s made in Colorado from Rocky Mountain water).
Instead of being produced with a traditional pot still, which can leave unwanted flavors, it’s made with a continuous glass column still, resulting in a spirit that is simply ethereal in flavor.
This distillery’s handcrafted 12 Bridges Gin is a happy union of London dry gin and the Dutch spirit jenever.
12 botanicals spice up the spirit, including sweet Norwegian blue juniper, ginger, citrus, and―an unusual and welcome finale―cucumber, which is infused in the gin during distillation. Tastings are free. integrityspirits.com
Kauai’s first permitted distilled-spirits producer has finally opened its doors.
The Kõloa Rum Company produces small batches of microdistilled rum with sugar from one of Hawaii’s oldest mills; its four varieties range from a smooth white rum to an aromatic and bold dark one. Tastings are free.