Georgia’s antiquated liquor laws aren’t stopping these distilleries from creating new spirits like a ginger lemon liqueur, a wheated bourbon rested in Georgia white oak and a bierschnaps in collaboration with a local brewery. Here’s what’s new in the world of Atlanta-distilled spirits.
Fiddler Bourbon (second release), ASW Distillery, 86 proof, $35
Since opening its distillery doors last summer, ASW has released an apple brandy, an American single malt rye and a wheated bourbon called Fiddler that’s been flying off the shelves since hitting the market in November. Fiddler is a triumph--a true distiller’s bourbon. “Foraged” from whiskeys “with promise”, ASW “fiddles with” the spirit using a number of blending and aging techniques. ASW’s Chad Ralston said of this latest Fiddler iteration, “ We hand-harvested three white oaks in Jackson County, Georgia in 2015, split up the heartwood and seasoned it outdoors for over a year, then fashioned the heartwood into staves that we charred and placed into Fiddler Bourbon barrels for the last couple of months of maturation.” All of this fiddling created a highly-nuanced spirit with notes of maple syrup and vanilla. We hear there’s a third release in the works. Stay tuned.
199 Armour Dr. NE Ste C, Atlanta. 404-590-2279, aswdistillery.com.
Watch the story behind Fiddler Heartwood Bourbon:
Lawn Dart ginger lemon liqueur, Old Fourth Distillery, 75 proof, $28
We love a distillery that likes to have fun with its spirits and no other distillery in Georgia is having as much fun experimenting with alcohol than the team behind Old Fourth. Owners Jeff and Craig Moore and Gabe Pilato have found success with their sugarcane-based vodka and Southern dry gin along with a few limited release absinthes and liqueurs. Their latest spirited undertaking is the ginger lemon goodness of Lawn Dart. Unlike limoncello, expect Lawn Dart to be less sweet and a bit tart. The vodka-based liqueur is vapor-infused with lemon peels and cold-pressed ginger juice. It packs quite a punch at 75 proof. A great sipper on its own over ice or with soda. We found it also makes a solid Arnold Palmer with a swift kick.
487 Edgewood Ave. SE, Atlanta. 844-653-3687, o4d.com.
Outlier No. 3 Bierschnaps, Independent Distilling Company (IDC), 90 proof, $54
This small, Decatur-based distillery has put out a corn whiskey, a bourbon and a rum since opening in 2014. But when you’re sandwiched in between two breweries (Blue Tarp and Three Taverns,) there’s always room for collaboration. Enter IDC’s bierschnaps part of their Outlier series of spirits. A beer-based spirit native to Germany, IDC collaborated with its across-the-parking-lot neighbor Three Taverns to distill Georgia’s first bierschnaps from the brewery’s 2014 Feest Noel Christmas Ale made from 100% malted barley. “Being a small distillery allows us the opportunity to do these types of one-offs and collaborative experiments and give people something they’ve never had before,” IDC’s Michael Anderson said. This limited release bierschnaps carries notes of candied sugar and spices like cloves, cardamom and allspice. Check IDC's website for bierschnaps tasting events near you.
731 East College Ave., Decatur. 770-842-8100, independentdistilling.com.
Scotch-style whiskey release party from Monday Night Brewing and ASW Distillery, $65
Be one of the first people to taste (and bring home a bottle of) Monday Night Brewing’s scotch-style whiskey in collaboration with ASW Distillery on Feb. 27. Tickets are $65 and include a tour, tastes and souvenir bottle of this soon-to-be-released whiskey. For tickets: freshtix.com/events/monday-night-asw-whiskey-launch . Release party to be held at ASW. Can't attend the party? The whiskey is due to arrive at a store near you in early March.
Monday Night Brewing, 670 Trabert Ave, NW, Atlanta. 404-352-7703, mondaynightbrewing.com.
ASW Distillery, 199 Armour Dr. NE Ste C, Atlanta. 404-590-2279, aswdistillery.com.
In addition, head down I-16 to Savannah and take a tour of that city's first legal distillery since Prohibition. Ghost Coast, which officially opened in mid-February, is located about a half mile north of the historic river district in the renovated 1950s nightclub Frozen Paradise. Tours will highlight Savannah's liquor-soaked past, the distillery floor and include tastes of its first release, Vodka 261. The vodka is a nod to the 261 years since the end of Georgia's first official prohibition and the founding of Ghost Coast. Tour and tasting: $12.50. Tour, tasting, souvenir Vodka 261 bottle: $32. 641 Indian St., Savannah. 912-298-0071, ghostcoastdistillery.com.