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Ingredient Hunter: Regional Spirits

Looking for something special? We’re talking about bottles so unique that your drinking buddies won’t be able to find them at all. Well, you’re in luck. Thanks to the dozens of craft distilleries and small brands around the country, there’s now an array of products that are only available in select markets. Here are a few to keep an eye out for during your spring travels.

Arkansas Hickory Smoked Whiskey ($24)

Hickory smoke is commonly used in Southern barbecue, but until recently, nobody we knew of had ever added it to whiskey. This unique spirit is made by smoke-drying wheat before it’s fermented, distilled and aged in former bourbon casks. Made in downtown Little Rock, it’s only for sale in Arkansas.


Batiste Rum ($40):

It’s not particularly easy to find the sugar cane-based rhum agricole from Martinique, and it’s even harder to get your hands on liquor produced on its Caribbean neighbor Marie-Galante. Fortunately, Batiste—which is made on the tiny island and bottled in San Francisco—is available throughout California.

Black Star Farms Spirit of Apple ($25) and Spirit of Pear ($25):

Northern Michigan’s Black Star Farms boasts vineyards, two wineries and an inn. Plus, its distillery makes a selection of spirits from local fruits. The clear pear eau-de-vie and oak-aged apple brandy are its best sellers, and you can buy them in-state and at a handful of spots in Indiana.

Cuestión Tequila ($33 to $48):

Cuestión president and CEO Jason Fandrich grew up 15 minutes from Lynchburg, Tenn., so it makes sense that his reposado and añejo tequilas are aged in former Jack Daniel’s barrels. The tasty spirit is made in Jalisco, Mexico, and Americans can find it only in Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.

El Perico Silver ($30) and Reposado ($36):

The main reason this 100-percent-blue-agave liquor can’t be called tequila is that it’s distilled just outside Houston. (By law, tequila must come from Mexico.) The unaged silver is excellent for a Margarita, while the rum barrel-rested reposado is good for sipping over ice. The alcohol is on shelves in Arkansas, California and Texas.

Few Rye Whiskey ($65):

Produced in Evanston, Ill., a Chicago suburb that is home to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union’s headquarters and was dry up until the 1990s, this spirit thumbs its nose at Prohibition. The spicy-and-sweet whiskey (pictured above) can currently be found just in Illinois and the Pacific Northwest.

Perry’s Tot ($33) & Dorothy Parker ($32) Gins:

To great fanfare, the New York Distilling Company opened late last year in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s co-owned by talented mixologist and Liquor.com advisory board member Allen Katz. Currently, the brand’s two gins, the refreshing Dorothy Parker and the potent (114-proof) Perry’s Tot, are sold only in the Empire State.

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