While wandering the downtown district off Traverse City, wondering what would be bought by the professional shopper that I am married to. My Brother-in-Law I think was having the same thoughts. All of a sudden, we walked by the tasting room for the Grand Traverse Distillery. I normally refrain from discussing any adult beverages other than wine, but on occasion something stronger does arrive. In my early days, I enjoyed Chivas Regal and the now gone, but highly remembered Dewar’s Ne Plus Ultra. I also nowadays enjoy some sipping Bourbon as it is called, which is single barrel aged liquid gold. Then I can’t forget my heritage of learning to appreciate Crown Royal, when that was considered the Gold Standard.
The two of us walked into the tasting room and kind of bellied up to the bar. Grand Traverse Distillery officially began selling their products in 2007 using local grains for their beverages. There were fourteen different items that one could taste from Whiskey, both Rye and Bourbon, Vodka, Gin and Rum. Most of the golden beverages from what I could ascertain were aged for three years and three months in American Oak barrels. They are doing so well, that they now have tasting rooms beyond Traverse City, in Leland, Frankenmuth and recently in Grand Rapids.
Since, we had wine for lunch and were going to have wine again for dinner, I had no desire to do too many tastings. I guess I would call it maturation, or maybe just realizing that I am not a kid anymore. One of the brands caught my eye, as I had remembered trying some when I was extremely young; I had to try the Grand Traverse Cherry Flavored Whiskey. I mean this is Traverse City, home of the Michigan Cherry Festival, and so many cherry orchards gave their lives, so that vinifera could be planted instead. This is their flavored version of their Straight Bourbon which is made from Corn, Rye and Malted Barley and then blended afterwards with three percent Cherry Concentrate from the Leelanau Fruit Company. It was a very easy drinking whiskey, especially since we were drinking it neat. I also tried their Dark Reserve Rum and other than the aging and the barrels, I am not sure what the mixture involved, but I was looking for something new to add to the bar at home and this was a very smooth Rum, and I very seldom drink Rum. My Brother-in-Law to his credit was more of a man, as he also tried the Chipotle Flavored Whiskey and he said that it was very hot and spicy, I declined as it didn’t sound like something I would like. After we paid and were ready to walk out, the young lady that attended to our tasting gave us each a boxed dram glass with the name printed on the side. I thought that it was a nice touch.