Not so long ago, the thought of adding the flavors of the forest into a wintertime cocktail seemed unimaginable, with visions of sipping Pine-Sol dancing in the heads of imbibers. Today, the studied drinker has learned that hints of spruce, fir and even cedar can bring both depth and breadth to a cold weather tipple. If you’re among the curious, explore these four woodsy ingredients just waiting to find their way into your winter solstice cocktail hour rotation.
Origin: Ashland, Oregon
Price: $40, 750 ml
Classic Cocktail to Upgrade: Gin & Tonic
Regular Rogue Spruce Gin is similar to sipping a Christmas Tree in the best possible way, with spruce’s earthy zip complementing the floral nature of juniper berries. Rogue’s Pink Spruce Gin variation takes those flavors to a deeper, more complex level by aging the gin for 4 to 6 months in Pinot Noir barrels. Buy it here.
Flavor: Douglas Fir
Origin: Portland, Oregon
Price: $50, 375 ml
Inspired by an obscure Alsatian distillate and the product of a decade of tinkering, Clear Creek’s Douglas Fir Eau de Vie is made with handpicked springtime Douglas fir buds. With its green color and deep forest essence, the spirit has become the poster child for coniferous cocktail ingredients, and rightfully so. Use it to upgrade a Gimlet. Buy it here.
Origin: Silver Plume, Colorado
Price: $11, 8 oz.
Dram’s syrup has notes of spice and citrus to balance out its natural pine flavor, making it ideal for pairing with your favorite bourbon or rye in a Toddy preparation. Buy it here.
Origin: Wellington, New Zealand
Price: $25, 100 ml
The creation of these bitters began as an attempt to capture the essence of a cigar, but it evolved into something much more robust. With its spicy notes of cedar, bitterness from dried orange peels and a hint of fruit from cherries, the woodsy elixir pairs well with bourbon and dark rum drinks. Buy it here.