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Dear friend of fine spirits,

We have added a gin, a whiskey, and a rum from Great Lakes Distillery to the craft-method spirits marketed by Craft Distillers. Founded in 2004 by Guy Rehorst, the distillery is Wisconsin’s first since Prohibition.

To my mind, excellent liquor displays two easily-overlooked aspects of producing fine spirits. First, being “clean” = the absence of any negative aspects: flavors and aromas are pure, apparent, distinct. You can’t get there without rigorous attention to every detail of production, which even the best-intentioned usually fall short of. The second is balance”= the spirit’s qualities are harmonious and integrated: nothing too dominant, nothing overshadowed. Very few producers achieve it consistently.

The Rehorst gin is both subtle and CLEAN: try it over ice and notice its clean citrus and spicy ginseng, with the juniper held in BALANCE. Good stuff, especially at $35. It won a double gold at the SF Spirits Competition. The Kinnickinnic whiskey blends purchased Kentucky bourbon with their own barley malt: the youthful CLEAN malt puts the oaky bourbon into BALANCE; an excellent value at $39. The Roaring Dan’s (an early-1900s adventurer arrested for piracy on Lake Michigan) rum ($35) BALANCES rum’s sugar-derived heaviness (in this case, grade-A molasses) by adding maple syrup to the second distillation. Excellent product. Note that all three spirits incorporate an intelligent & creative innovation: our kind of distillery.

Ansley Coale