We asked Charles Kallé, a spirits genius at the Manhattan shop Whiskey & Wine Off 69, what locavore liquors to give this year. Most of these are on the shelves of well stocked liquor stores. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, ask. Shop owners can often order just a few bottles at a time.
1. Rough Rider Bull Moose Rye
Aged in three successive barrels, it has rye’s spiciness, sweetness from bourbon barrels and hoppiness from the beer-kissed malt whiskey barrels.
2. Uncouth Vermouth
Made with herbs foraged by the Brooklyn-based infusionist herself. The pear-ginger is wonderful straight or in a cocktail.
3. Indigenous Empire State Wheat Vodka
Has a natural vanilla butterscotch component, great for sipping and far superior to infused vodka.
4. Chief Gowanus Gin
Made like New Holland Gin in 1809, this is a great one for historians. The use of rye instead of wheat gives spiciness and complexity.
5. Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur
Handcrafted, small batch and unlike alternatives that are continuously produced at the expense of flavor and integrity. Like the name says — it’s intense. Great straight or as a mixer.
6. Catskill Provisions NY Honey Whiskey
Excellent handcrafted rye whiskey infused with late-summer Catskills honey. The honey is underlying, not in your face or overly sweet. Use in a Manhattan and skip the sugar.
7. Barber’s Gin
Floral, aromatic and great on the rocks. One of my favorite New York gins.
8. Catskill Distilling’s Buckwheat Otay
Bourbon made with buckwheat, with a fun name that references the Little Rascals. The buckwheat softens it up.
9. Due North by Van Brunt Stillhouse
The Brooklyn whiskey makers’ rum project, named for the sailor’s expression. Bold flavors, sip it straight.
10. Bourbon from J.W. Overbey
Upstate grain and craft-malted barley, distilled in Bed-Stuy by a tiny new two-man distiller. Light in texture but with complex flavor. Great stocking stuffer.