Thomas J. Story

We gathered a panel of expert judges to sample hundreds of spirits and find the best whiskey, gin, vodka, soju, and more in the West

Sunset  – February 28, 2020 | Updated July 5, 2020

This year introduced the very first Sunset Spirit Awards, a weekend-long event where our panel of expert judges gathered in Sonoma County to sample hundreds of spirits comprising our inaugural competition slate. Together, they canvassed the Western liquor landscape, sipped through swathes of spirits, and arrived at a consensus group of winners. Here’s the complete list of winners and runners-up—now get to sipping.

Winners

Best of Show

Crater Lake Spirits Black Butte Whiskey

Best Vodka

Tahoe Blue Vodka

Brandies

Best American Grape Brandy

O’Neill Vintners and Distillers BrandyLab

Best Eau-de-Vie

New Deal Distillery New Deal Pear Brandy

Best Cachaca – Aged

Toco Cachaca

Best Mixer – Bloody Mary

Smokin Mary Smoked Bloody Mary Mix

Best Bacanora – Comiteco

314 Huellas Bacanora 

Best Rum – White

Drink Tank Ltd. Tank Rum

Gin

Best Dry, London Dry

Great Women Spirits Ada Lovelace Gin

Best Gin – Flavored, Infused – Distilled

Lee Spirits Company Strawberry Ginger Gin

Best Gin – Distilled

Mythology Distillery Needle Pig Gin

Whiskeys

Best American Craft Whiskey – Luxury

Crater Lake Spirits Black Butte Whiskey

Best American Straight Rye Whiskey, Premium

Redwood EmpireWhiskey Emerald Giant Rye Whiskey

Best Small Batch American Aged Rye Whiskey – Premium

Barber Lee Spirits Single Malt Rye

Best Small Batch Bourbon 10 Years and Younger – Ultra Premium

Denny bar Company The Devil’s Tell Whiskey

Best Small Batch Bourbon 11 Years and Older – Premium

Eastside Distilling Burnside Buckham Reserve

Best Whiskeys Special Barrel Finished Bourbon – Ultra Premium

Savage & Cooke The Burning Chair

Best Straight Bourbon – Luxury

Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Best Tennessee Whiskey – Ultra Premium

Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey 

Liqueurs and Others

Best Absinthe

Barber Lee Spirits Absinthe Blanche 

Best Herbal Botanical

Spiritopia Ginger Liqueur

Best Fruit Liqueur

Skip Rock Distillers Raspberry Liqueur

Best Chocolate Liqueur

Denny Bar Company Zen De La Creme – Chocolate Liqueur

Best Coffee Liqueur

Laurel Canyon Spirits Black Hjerte

Best Soju / Shochu

American Soju Cucumber

Runners-Up

Double Gold

Southern Star Double Shot Coffee Bourbon Cream Liqueur

Breckenridge Distillery Breckenridge Gin

California Distilled Spirits Darjeeling Gin

Highclere Castle Gin

Blinking Owl Distillery Gin

Cutler’s Gin

High Noon Hard Seltzer Can

Spiritopia Peppermint Liqueur

Four Roses Small Batch

Oak & Eden Bourbon & Vine

Oak & Eden Bourbon & Spire

Gold

503 Distilling The Blood Orange Bloodhound

Contigo

Redwood Empire Whiskey Lost Monarch Blend of Straight Whiskeys

Mythology Distillery Hell Bear

Virginia-Highland Whiskey Port Cask Finished

Doc Swinson’s Straight Rye Whiskey Finished in Rum Casks

Oak & Eden Rye & Spire

Savage & Cooke Lip Service

Mezcal El Tinieblo El Tinieblo Joven

Smokin Mary Green with Envy

E&J Distillers XO

Cocktail Squad Blackberry Bourbon Smash

Eastside Distilling Portland Mule Marionberry

Longtucky Spirits Caribbean Queen

314 Huellas Bacanora

Alquimia Organic Alquimia Extra Anejo

Parce Ron Reserva Especial 8

Parce Ron Reserva Especial 12

Pur Spirits Williams Pear Liqueur

Chapter One Navy Strength Gin

Half Moon Bay Distillery Harvard Avenue Gin

Urban Press Spirits Affinity Gin

Trail Distilling Trillium Gin

Longtucky Spirits Alpine Dry Gin

Shelter Distilling O’Pinyon Gin

High Noon Hard Seltzer Can

Cocalero Cocalero Clasico

Encino Lady Mi Corazon

Bear Flight 

Willow Creek Distillery Malt & Oats

Blue Marble Cocktails Moscow Mule

Buzzbox Mojito Cuban Mojito

Straightaway paper Plane

Straightaway Lintik

Camarena Reposado

Batiste Rhum Batiste Rhum Ecoiste Silver

Camarena Silver/Plato

Egan’s Irish Whiskey Vintage Grain

Thumb Butte – Bloody Basin Bourbon Rodeo Rye

Four Roses Small Batch Select

American Soju Watermelon

Breckenridge Distillery Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey Single Barrel

Redwood Empire Whiskey Pipe Dream Bourbon Whiskey

Arizona Craft Beverage Arizona Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Top Note Tonic Classic Tonic

South Fork Vodka 

Bently Heritage Source One Single Estate Vodka, Wheat & Oat blend

JT Meleck Vodka

Keep Reading: