This July, Tasting Table celebrates the great state of American food and drink.
Aquavit comes from Scandinavia, and absinthe comes from France, right? Well, not always. The following spirits have roots all over the globe, but—surprise!—they're all made right here in the USA.
CelloVia Meyer Limoncello: Wheeling, Illinois
Inspired by a trip to Italy's Amalfi Coast, this Midwestern riff on the sunny lemon-infused liqueur is made with juicy Meyer lemons, yielding a silky, balanced flavor that lands somewhere between orange and lemon.
Copper & Kings Absinthe: Louisville, Kentucky
Copper & Kings isn't the only absinthe made in the U.S., but it does take a certain moxie to make a brandy-based hooch in the heart of Kentucky bourbon country. Distilled from Muscat grapes, the Blanche bottling evokes lemon verbena and licorice, while the Ginger, Citrus and Lavender flavors push even harder on the botanicals.
Fernet Leopold Highland Amaro: Denver, Colorado
Italy's famous fernet takes on a Rocky Mountain slant, aged at a high altitude in barrels that previously held Napa Valley Chardonnay. The amaro retains the traditional herbal bitterness, but it's more sippable than its Italian counterparts, with a complex spearmint-and-sarsaparilla flavor profile.
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Kinsman Rakia: San Antonio, Texas
This small-batch apricot brandy is made by Dorćol Distillery; co-owner Boyan Kalusevic grew up in Serbia, where the spirit is sometimes referred to as "Serbian moonshine." This Lone Star version mingles stone fruit with almond for an after-dinner sipper that's nothing like firewater.
Ovrevann Aquavit: Duluth, Minnesota
Yes, aquavit has its roots in Scandinavian drinking culture, and the owners of Vikre Distillery draw on Norwegian heritage to make this caraway-accented spirit. The product's name is Norwegian for "Lake Superior."
Westland Distillery Peated American Single Malt Whiskey: Seattle, Washington
If you think deliciously smoky single malts come only from Islay in Scotland, think again. This peaty pour is made with Washington state-grown barley, although the peat comes from a Scotland bog.