Refined Tastes: Georgia Distilleries & Must-try Spirits
Georgia has a long history of producing spirits — many of which you would never imagine. Yes, Georgia distilleries manufacture bourbon — a Southern staple — but several others make gin, vodka, apple brandy (with North Georgia apples), and even distribute rum and tequila!
Below are just of few of the Georgia distilleries that offer tours to show how their spirits are manufactured and bottled, tastings and souvenir bottles to enjoy at your next celebration. Pair their distinctive spirits with favorite Southern foods for a truly delicious treat.
Tours: Thursdays & Fridays 4:30 - 7 p.m.; Saturdays 2 - 5 p.m.
Must-try spirit: Apple Brandy
ASW Distillery's Apple Brandy offers the aroma and taste of fresh apples with the smoothness of of a French cognac. This brandy is exclusively made from fresh North Georgia apples harvested from Mercier Orchards. The hand-selected apples are mashed, double pot distilled, matured, finished and bottled entirely on the ASW Distillery property. This time-honored process results in an apple brandy that sips like a single malt Scotch.
Enjoy warm with oatmeal raisin cookies or a slice of pecan pie.
Tours: Thursdays & Fridays 5 - 9 p.m. & Saturdays 12 - 9 p.m.
Must-try spirit: Gin
Old Fourth Distillery's Southern-style Dry Gin is the brain child of group of five guys (childhood friends and business partners), who, bored with their comfortable jobs in technology and real estate, stepped out on faith to open Atlanta's first distillery since the early 1900s. Located in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, this gin is distilled from organic Italian wheat and infused with locally sourced fresh botanicals. The end result is a traditional gin with a twist and a whopping 94 proof — for a bigger taste and bolder experience.
Enjoy with pimento cheese and cucumber sandwiches.
Tours: Call for an appointment weekdays 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Must-try spirit: Moonshine
Although fairly new to the moonshine-making business, this Northeast Georgia distillery has bottled a smooth moonshine. Located in the foothills of the Southern Appalachian mountains, a region rich with a history of moonshining, Moonrise Distillery uses locally sourced ingredients from family farms. While enjoying a complimentary taste of their moonshine, be sure to try their bourbon and fruit brandies.
Enjoy in sweet tea and hot toddies.
Tours: Weekdays 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. & Saturdays by appointment 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Must-try spirit: Rum
Did you know that rum was the South's first spirit of choice — even before bourbon or whiskey? Drinking a glass of Richland Rum made by Richland Distilling Company is like taking a sip of Georgia history. What makes this rum unique is that each batch is made with Georgia sugar cane and natural water from Georgia's Aquifer as its only two ingredients, and then it is aged before bottling.
Enjoy flambéed in Bananas Foster or mixed into vanilla ice cream.