Gin, vodka and cordial from Caledonia Spirits
Caledonia Spirits has some unusual workers on the payroll: bees.
Credit those swarming laborers with the fragrant lemon-yellow beeswax that seals each bottle of Barr Hill Gin and Vodka--and for the honey used in the excellent product found within those bottles.
During distillation, corn-based Barr Hill Gin ($43 for 750 ml) is washed over a basket of juniper berries and finished with a touch of raw honey before bottling. In the bottle, it's the color of the last rays of sun on an early spring day, and vivid with juniper's resinous kick. On the tongue, it's equally springy and snappy.
The supremely smooth Barr Hill Vodka ($33 for 375 ml) is made from cold-fermented honey wine. It hits cleanly, as you would expect from a vodka, but with a residual floral touch. This Vermont-based distillery also makes an easy-drinking Elderberry Cordial ($35 for 375ml) that combines the rich depth of elderberry (known for its cold-fighting properties) with apples and raw honey.
Along with those bees, due credit is most certainly also owed to Todd Hardie, who has been working with hives since the tender age of 12 and is behind these accomplished spirits.
Life takes a village; sometimes good spirits take a colony.
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