It’s 5 o’clock for 30 Days! Dive into Virginia Spirits Month

Images: VA FOodie, Alex Block, Martin KNize

Images: VA FOodie, Alex Block, Martin KNize

We’re fairly sure everyone would agree that 2020 as a whole has been a bummer so far. But what if we had some good news? And what if that news involved alcohol? Intrigued? Read on!

You may not know it, but 2020 is a banner year for Virginia Spirits. It commemorates 400 years of distilling in Virginia. No, that’s not a typo. The first recorded distillery was founded in 1620 in Southampton, Virginia. So, what better way to celebrate that heritage than with a boozy celebration of one of Virginia’s oldest and proudest industries? Enter Virginia Spirits Month!

Due to COVID-19, this year’s Virginia Spirits Month is going to look a little different from years past. Namely, folks aren’t going out and having cocktails as much as these days. So, we teamed up with the Virginia Distillers Association to bring you some inspiration to enjoy this special month–safely! FYI, If you don’t know already, Virginia residents can now get booze shipped directly to your door for the first time EVER! 

Not a mixologist? Don’t sweat it! You can still visit Virginia distilleries all over the state. Check out the Virginia Spirits website, where you’ll find an interactive map of the Virginia Spirits Trail. They have a handy filter, so you can see which distilleries have pick-up, to-go, and direct delivery options. You can also find distilleries that are open according to Virginia’s Phase 2 guidelines. If you want to visit a distillery, please be sure to call first to make sure you have the best possible boozy experience. There are 73 active licensed distilleries all around the Commonwealth, so no matter what part of Virginia you call home, top-notch spirits are at your fingertips.

If you’re a budget-conscious connoisseur of spirits, Virginia ABC will be offering 20% off online and in-store purchases for a select list of Virginia Spirits on Thursday, September 10, 2020 ONLY, so mark your calendars!

Curious about learning more about specific spirits? Check out the Virginia Distillers Association’s YouTube channel. They’ll be doing virtual tastings all month long!

Need some cocktail inspiration? Check out the cocktails page on the Virginia Spirits website. You can filter by type of liquor, distillery, theme, and more! Got a killer recipe? Submit it! 

Now, we know a good mixed drink when we see one, but we’re not mixologists by any means. But in the spirit of Virginia Spirits Month, we tried our hand at crafting cocktails, and we had a great time doing it! We also used Virginia-made mixers like shrubs and syrups to take these cocktails up to 11. Let’s dive in!

Image: Va Foodie

Image: Va Foodie

Cocktail #1: The Clover Club
Spirit: Silver Dolphin Gin
Distillery: Three Brothers Distillery

This was a fun one! The Clover Club is an older cocktail recipe (by U.S. Standards at least) that pre-dates Prohibition. So what better way to kick off Virginia Spirits Month than with this classic cocktail? 

Silver Dolphin Gin from Three Brothers in Disputanta will definitely catch your eye. It’s a brown gin, y’all! Described as a “naval strength compound gin” the flavor profile of this barrel-aged gin is much bolder than the clear gin in your traditional G&Ts, so we were excited to try it!

For our take on the recipe, we swapped the traditional Grenadine with a Virginia-made Elderberry Syrup by Red Root & Co, and we gotta say– this syrup goes SO WELL with this gin. The tart, earthy flavor of the elderberry really complements the spice of the barrel-aged gin. Final verdict: YUM.

Image: VA Foodie

Image: VA Foodie

Cocktail #2: Moonstruck Mule
Spirit: Honey Habeñero Moonshine
Distillery: Belle Isle Shine

We’re big Moonshine fans over here, so obviously we had to give the very-popular Honey Habeñero moonshine from Belle Isle Shine a try. This moonshine’s “sweet heat” flavor comes from the infusion of local honey and organic habaneros grown about 50 miles away from Belle Isle’s distillery in Richmond. Yummy AND local? Sign us up!

Mules are traditionally made with vodka, but moonshine is just so much more Virginia-y, don’t you think? Plus, this recipe features even more Virginia goodness–grapefruit shrub made by Mother Shrub. They’re another RVA-based company, and their drinking vinegars are BOMB. Seriously y’all, the combo of shrub, moonshine, and ginger beer is smooth, tart, and refreshing. 

Image: Va Foodie

Image: Va Foodie

Cocktail #3: Classic Daiquiri
Spirit: Four-Port-Rum
Distillery: Virago Spirits

Who doesn’t love a daiquiri? They’re delicious, tropical, and you can put those adorable little toothpick umbrellas in them. Virago SpiritsFour-Port-Rum is the perfect thing when you wanna get your drink on like a fancy pirate. It’s a blend of four different rums from all across the Caribbean. The bold spice of the British-style rums blends with the mellowness of the Spanish-style rums to create one mighty fine rum. 

Now, you can make a daiquiri with just about anything. You basically just need rum, citrus, and a sweetener. We used Crescent Simples’ Peach Hibiscus syrup to really kick it up a notch, and we were NOT disappointed! The sweet, peachy flavor of the syrup blends excellently with the spice of the rum and the tartness of the lime juice to make a majorly delicious drink. We figured that summer is almost at an end–let’s go out on a high note. 

Image: VA Foodie

Image: VA Foodie

Cocktail #4: Sazerac
Spirit: High Rye Bourbon
Distillery: Lost Whiskey Club

We got fancy for this one! The Sazerac is a classic cocktail, usually made with rye whiskey. We decided to give the VA Foodie version a little twist. We used a High Rye Bourbon from Lost Whiskey Club instead, and whew! It was a game-changer! This cocktail was spicy, smooth, and satisfying.

And since y’all know we love local, we used Aromatic Bitters from Blackwater Bitters based out of Lynchburg. These small-batch artisan bitters definitely can keep up with the big-name bitters out there, and then some! It packs a serious punch, and it pairs perfectly with the Lost Whiskey High-Rye Bourbon. This was the perfect cocktail to wrap up our at-home cocktail celebration, great for evening porch sitting or as an after-dinner aperitif.

Hopefully, we’ve given you some spirited inspiration for celebrating Virginia Spirits Month. It really is a great way to support craft distilleries, which are a huge part of what makes Virginia so special. So get some spirits shipped to you, head to a currently-open distillery, or grab some cocktails curbside, and party like it’s your birthday–all month long!

*Special thanks to mixologist-extraordinaire Alastair Colquhoun who crafted all the cocktails for the photoshoot.

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