Vermont brings several things to mind: maple syrup, of course. Fall foliage. Good skiing.
But craft distilling? The industry isn’t joined at the hip with Vermont’s reputation yet, though it is expanding. During the last three decades, distilleries have popped up all over the tiny New England state. Though Vermont’s official drink is plain milk, these distilleries offer plenty of options for stronger beverages to enjoy during your visit.
You may want to visit every one of them. But if you are pressed for time, here are four of the highest customer-rated and most-talked-about distilleries in the Green Mountain State.
In the shadow of snow-capped mountains and part of the recently renovated Mountain Inn Killington Distillery is mere miles from the largest ski resort in the eastern United States. Come for the views, stay for the Maple Cask Bourbon and other fine spirits offered by this distillery. Hungry for more than a drink? Delicious nibbles made from sustainably sourced ingredients from local farms around Killington are also on offer. Try the four-cheese mac n cheese or hand-cut truffle fries.
From humble beginnings to a current state-of-the-art facility in Montpelier, Caledonia Spirits is known for its international award-winning honey-infused gin, called Bar Hill Gin. Barr Hill Vodka is also distilled entirely from raw honey. It takes 4 pounds to make each 750mL bottle, equivalent to the life’s work of 893 honey bees. Bar Hill Gin and Vodka as well as Tom Cat Gin are available at Caledonia’s forest-surrounded facilities and bar.
This craft distillery aligns itself with “old world ideals” and community involvement. In this case, its namesake, St. Johnsbury in the northeastern section of the state. You aren’t just supporting the company by visiting its tasting room and speakeasy; you are contributing to the entire town. This distillery is known for its rum, including elderflower, maple and dark maple varieties, among others. Gin and vodka are also stars.
This simply named company provides anything but simple pleasures. A family-owned and operated business for decades, Vermont Distillers is the producer of the Metcalfe’s family of liqueurs and Catamount Vodka as well as other limited-edition spirits and liqueurs. The distillery occupies a former ski resort facility in Marlboro. The skiing may be long gone here, but the tasting room is up and running and waiting to serve you any number of cocktails and spirits.
By Ty Unglebower