Farm-to-table fare is commonplace. But what about grain to glass? Small-batch distilleries and spirits spots — crafting gin, rum, whiskey, vodka and even moonshine — are popping up around the Triangle with greater frequency. Here’s a look behind the scenes at the Triangle’s latest spirits spots and what’s worth sipping on.Read More
6 Triangle Small-Batch Distilleries Worth Tapping Into
Where to drink small around Raleigh, Durham, and more
1. Durham Distillery
This Bull City distillery began offering tastings and tours October 1, 2015, with its Conniption gins launching in ABC stores two months prior. Now distributed in over a dozen states and the U.K, the award-winning gin now even cans its own cocktails.
Why gin? “We chose to be a gin distillery not only because we love gin and have a passion for the category but also because we are the first gin distillery in the United States to distill gin leveraging both traditional vapor distillation and cold-vacuum distillation with our rotary evaporators,” says co-owner Melissa Katrincic. “The use of rotary evaporators in gin distillation had never been done in the U.S. and was only used by two other distilleries in the entire world at the time.” She adds, “It enables us to create natural flavors without heat and our techniques are truly differentiated for why Conniption gins are recognized as some of the best gins in the world.”
Lee and Melissa are the first — and to date only — gin distillers from the American South to ever be inducted into the prestigious Gin Guild in London.
2. Mystic Farm & Distilling Company
With “luxurious, bold and sophisticated spirits,” Mystic Farm & Distillery offers an unparalleled spirit lineup of bourbon, whiskey, bourbon liqueurs, gin, vodka and spirits. The “soul” of the lineup is barrel-strength Soul of Mystic, a North Carolina spirit distilled from North Carolina farmland-grown corn and wheat. Mystic’s exceptional bourbon starts with 45 percent wheat that is aged for two-plus years for a smooth finish and aromatic blend (think butterscotch and caramel with a toffee, spice, toasted coconut finish). Barrel-strength bourbon offers include the likes of Heart of Mystic with a non-chill filtered base. And for vodka lovers, there’s now Mystic Vision vodka, a luxe vodka with a clean finish. All spirits are available by pickup only at the distillery within 24 to 48 hours of order placement. And, with COVID protocol in place, premium tours/tastings of the Triangle’s only farm distillery are on offer to view the production process firsthand from grain to glass. Two-hour tours are on offer via one six-person ticket (buy one ticket and experience Mystic with up to six total people).
3. Graybeard Distillery
Known for its Raleigh-borne Bedlam Vodka that’s made from rice (and thus 100% grain-to-glass gluten-free), Graybeard Distillery hit the scene in 2017, combining a seven centuries-old recipe with today’s technology for drinkers who want to “live rebelliously.” The result: a wildly popular vodka perfect for drinking straight or mixing that is “light on the nose and complex on the palette.” While tastings and tours are currently on hold for COVID, curbside retail remains on offer Monday through Friday (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) — just simply show up. Keep your eye on Graybeard’s site and social media for updates.
4. Raleigh Rum Company
“Born of our love for craft beer and cocktails,” Raleigh Rum Company hit the scene in 2014 by the hands of three North Carolina natives — partners Matt Grossman, John Benefiel and Chris Mendler — with a dream to fill the hole in the market and bring top-notch craft rum to the market. The hometown rum distiller now offers its handmade hot selections — literally, like Carolina Reaper Rum, as well as its premium white rum, spiced rum and sweet dark rum — in local ABC stores in the NC section. For safe and socially distanced tastings and tours (masks required), abbreviated hours are currently Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. (with bottle sales, including limited release Procrastinator’s Reserve). Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a curbside pickup
5. Oak City Amaretto
Bottling “the best amaretto, period” is Raleigh’s own Oak City Amaretto, crafted from owner Anthony Scalabrino’s grandmother’s authentic Sicilian amaretto recipe. Sourcing only all-natural U.S. ingredients, Oak City’s flavor-forward quality amaretto serves up a smooth finish sans the cloying or bitter aftertaste often associated with amaretto. Bottles are available at local ABC stores to sip Oak City Amaretto at home — or for a bartender twist, Relish Craft Kitchen & Bourbon Bar, STIR Raleigh, and more feature the amaretto.
6. Broadslab Distillery LLC
With a legacy of “North Carolina moonshine perfection,” this moonshine-maker offers Legacy Shine, Legacy Reserve, Carolina Coast Spiced Rum, Carolina Coast Silver Rum and “sippably delicious” Legacy Appleshine.
Named for the famed “Broadslab” region that is Johnston County that has been known for its home-brewed whiskey since before Prohibition, the family distiller pays tribute to this rich legacy with its solid copper 500-gallon Broadslab double thumper pot still — “the perfect tool for authentic whiskey-making in volume production.”
For a $12 one-hour tours of the farm distillery to learn about the products from grain to bottle (plus a free shot glass and tasting), you can book online. Post-tour, you can order a glass of wine, beer or mixed drink. Please check the site for abbreviated holiday hours. Normal hours will resume Saturday Jan. 2.