The spirit industry in America is much like the beer industry; some large corporate distillers turning out good quality vodka, gin and whisky along with a growing number of artisan producers of these same products.

In large cities such as Chicago and San Francisco, small distilleries turn out superb spirits, many of them organically produced. Vodkas and gins are most common, but there are even a few examples of single malt whiskey.

This is certainly an encouraging alternative to the commercially produced spirits in the US, but the truth is that these artisan spirits are a drop in the bucket next to the huge amount of vodkas, gins and whiskeys made by the large companies and are sold in huge numbers; given the promotional money spent by these firms.

But the new competition is a bright sign at least in terms of some of the famous whiskey producers that have recently introduced specialty bourbons, aged for a dozen or more years, many of them single barrel products. They are responding to a public looking for more high quality American spirits. The success of these products is a great thing for the American sprits industry.
Top Picks for USA
Frey Ranch
Clear color. Bold, pungent, piney complex aromas and flavors of pine sap, lacquer, dried flowers, and smoked pepper and campfire fire with a creamy, lively, dryish medium-to-full body and a peppery, complex, long pine needle, honeyed juniper, and chalk finish. An amazingly powerful and intense gin with 3D fresh piney juniper flavors.
97 points $32.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Navy Strength Gin
Clear color. Bright, clean, floral fresh grassy aromas and flavors of licorice cream, fig and dried citrus, herb pepper bread, and resinous juniper with an even, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, refreshing, long mixed peppercorns, herbal honey, cinnamon ginger bread, and minerals finish. A lively, spicy gin that will be great in cocktails.
96 points $38.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Anchorage Distillery
Aurora Gin
Clear color. Herbal, spicy aromas of rice pudding with cinnamon, lavender and saffron, marinated grape leaf, and ginger beer with a satiny, bright, dry fat body and a hot, stimulating, relaxed coriander and black cardamom, flaxseed and rose water, black peppercorn, and cinnamon and cajeta finish. A rich, elegant, and evocative gin with a great combination of fruit, spice, and herbs in a malty, creamy frame.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Distillery No. 209
Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Reserve Gin
Gold color. Herbal aromas and flavors of grilled oranges, juniper and ginger root, caramel sauce on whipped cream, and sage and cinnamon sticks with a lightly tannic, crisp, fruity medium body and a tingling, appealing, medium-length caramelized mango, sea salt, rose petal and cedar plank, and mixed peppercorn finish. A classic barrel aged gin for timeless cocktails.
95 points $59.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
J. Rieger & Company
Midwestern Dry Gin
Brilliant clear color. Delicate, green aromas and flavors of fresh herbs, toasted peppercorns and nuts, and delicate piney juniper with a satiny, vibrant, dryish medium body and a warming, complex, medium-length citrus custard, anise candy, minerals, and floral honey on granola finish. A silky, nuanced gin with fine flavor and elegant balance.
95 points $29.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Barrel Reserve Gin
Light gold color. Bright, attractive aromas of spumoni gelato, egg nog, and mint cookie with a velvety, crisp, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, medium-long brown spices, juniper and lemon candy, pepper, and cedar finish with light oak. A spot on barrel aged gin that balances creamy spicy oak and sweet citrus and juniper notes brilliantly.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
The Art of the Still
Clear color. Fresh, herbal aromas and flavors of lavender sachet, juniper berries and spruce tips, fresh linen and rosemary, and fresh lemon with a velvety, bright, dryish light body and a tingling, interesting, long coriander and chamomile, vanilla bean, orange marmalade, and pink peppercorn finish. A rich, long finish makes this a excellent contemporary martini gin.
94 points $13.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Vermont Spirits
Coppers Gin
Clear color. Herbal, spicy aromas of fresh citrus melange, juniper, rosemary, parsley, green onion and basil, and spicy ground black pepper and corn masa with a velvety, bright, dryish light body and a peppery, interesting, medium-length cardamom, rose water, and anise finish. An exotic, spicy gin for sophisticated g&t’s.
94 points $28.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
MTN Distillers
Clear color. Interesting, peppery aromas and flavors of cinnamon candy, sports tape, ground black pepper, and lemon chiffon cake with a satiny, crisp, dryish light body and a peppery, medium-length gentian, italian anise cookie, and chalk finish. A vibrant stylish gin that will be very versatile.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Navy Strength Gin
Clear color. Spicy aromas of cumin, lime peel, and barbecue potato chip with a round, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a peppery, subtle, medium-length ginger, black pepper, angelica root, and juniper finish. A very distinctive, spicy and lightly smoky gin that will play nicely in creative cocktails.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab