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Bartender’s Choice

Sure, having a signature drink or a cask of your favorite whiskey is pretty cool, but how about creating your own spirit? A number of enterprising mixologists have gone from pouring liquor to helping produce it. Here are four of our favorite bartender bottlings, which are all of course designed to work well in cocktails.

Aviation Gin ($29):

In 2006, cocktail consultant Ryan Magarian co-founded Aviation Gin, which is produced in Portland, Ore., by House Spirits and is available in 14 states and across Europe. The rye-based liquor is infused with seven botanicals, including juniper, cardamom and sarsaparilla.


Banks 5-Island Rum ($28):

Banks (pictured above) is a blend of more than 20 rums of different ages. Award-winning bartender and advisor Jim Meehan helped launch the brand in August 2010. It’s now available in New York, Massachusetts and D.C., and will be in Illinois next month.

Campo de Encanto Pisco ($35):

This new pisco brand claims to be made “for bartenders by bartenders.”  One of the founders is Duggan McDonnell, who owns San Francisco’s famed bar Cantina, which specializes in all things Latin American. The alcohol is now available in California and New York, and it’ll be in Oregon soon.

Square One Botanical ($35):

A couple of years ago, when Square One wanted to create a complex, infused alcohol, they asked H. Joseph Ehrmann, advisor and owner of the historic San Francisco saloon Elixir, to assist in developing the recipe. The resulting spirit is flavored with eight different aromatics, including lemon verbena, chamomile and coriander.

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Mixing your cocktail

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