Three Superb Spirits Employing Surprising Materials

A vodka produced with hops, an oak-aged gin and a barreled Boulevardier for your liquor shelf

On a recent trip to indie food and drink specialty shop Mouth, in NYC, we discovered a bunch of curious creations that hadn’t crossed our path before. After leaving with plenty of products to taste, three struck our attention for their unique approach to taking the familiar and abstracting it with new materials. From one of the best pre-bottled cocktails to an eccentric vodka and thoughtful gin, the following are worthy for those who enjoy experimenting and exploring the world of at-home cocktail-making.


The Barreled Boulevardier

Park City, Utah‘s High West Distillery continues to garner acclaim for their range of whiskies. But with The Barreled Boulevardier they’ve achieved something rather different. The classic cocktail, in this instance composed of bourbon, Vya sweet vermouth and Switzerland’s Gran Classico bitter liquer, has been married in American oak bourbon barrels before bottling. The result is charming and delicious, balancing both sweet and bitter flavors. It’s 72 proof and is best served on the rocks, but the pairing potential is endless. ($55)


Glorious Gin: Oaked

There’s plenty of experimentation in the world of gin aging, with everyone from

Beefeater to

Beehive putting out thoughtful options. Brooklyn’s Breuckelen Distilling Company sports their own aged gin, and it’s the product of one year in virgin American oak barrels. Glorious Gin: Oaked utilizes many expected botanicals, from juniper to lemon and rosemary, but they also boast grapefruit peel and ginger. The base spirit also hails from wheat grown in upstate New York. In essence, there’s a nice balance of floral and citrus notes, but with hints of a brown spirit that’s more than just the vanilla from the oak. ($54)


Hophead Hop Vodka

Another acclaimed American distiller, San Fransisco’s Anchor Distilling, released the Hophead Hop Vodka a few years back and it still impresses. Most associate vodka with being odorless and flavorless, unless of course you are buying something intentionally flavored. But Hophead tastes much like it sounds, and is flavored from macerated hops hailing from the Pacific Northwest, which are added before distillation, as opposed to after. The taste profile is distinct, as is the aroma—calling to mind a trip to a brewery or distillery. In a way, this vodka is gin-like with the hops acting as a floral component, and yet it’s really something entirely on its own: complex and creative. ($40)

Images by Cool Hunting