A decade ago, Ohio micro-distilleries were few and far between. But changes to Ohio liquor laws have made it easier to open and run such ventures, and today there are more than two dozen operating in the Buckeye state.
We tasted a few Ohio vodkas, two liqueurs and one bourbon for this issue – and we’ll be featuring more Ohio spirits in upcoming issues. We give an enthusiastic two thumbs up to the efforts of these home-state distillers!
Red Eagle red e vodka
Distilled from grapes, this vodka from the Geneva-based Red Eagle distillery is one of the most distinctive vodkas we’ve ever tasted – from anywhere. Its rich, complex aroma leads to a smooth and delicious flavor with lush notes of spice and fruit.
80 proof; $28
Seven Brothers Touchstone Wheat Vodka
This vodka, distilled in Painesville, is made from Ohio soft red winter wheat and spring water. Bright, fresh citrus aromas, vivid peppery spice and a touch of anise on the finish make this a fine choice with mixers or without.
80 proof; $22.88
Seven Brothers Espresso Infusion Vodka
Made from Ohio wheat infused with freshly roasted espresso beans, this has a pronounced coffee aroma with charred, toasty notes. Unlike coffee liqueurs, this is not sweet but has an intensely smoky, coffee flavor.
80 proof; $22.88
Seven Brothers Cinnamon Infusion Vodka
Another Ohio wheat product, this time infused with natural cinnamon. It’s hot and spicy – but not sweet – with a hint of baking dough that reminded us of cinnamon pastry.
$22.88; 80 proof
YTown Barreled Vodka
This vodka is distilled from cane sugar by Candella micro-distillery in Youngstown. Aged in new American oak barrels, it almost tastes like a hybrid of vodka and bourbon with its nutty, toasty character and hints of burnt sugar and toffee.
80 proof; $32.75
Cleveland Underground Sugar Maple Finished Bourbon Whiskey
Note that this whiskey does not contain sugar! It is aged in barrels made from Sugar Maple wood – the same trees that yield maple syrup – which gives it a lush vanilla/caramel aroma and nutty, buttery, rich flavor.
92 proof; $44.95
Rocky River-based Premium Infused Spirits makes a delicious limoncello-like liqueur that tastes like freshly squeezed lemons still bathed in sunshine. With no artificial flavors, this is the real deal. 80 proof; $29.60 Also available is Lillo Coffee Liqueur – a sweet, delicious slow-infused liqueur, this has true coffee aroma and flavor. 80 proof; $29.60
Prices may vary.