Backstory: Three Colorado natives walked into a bar…in Alaska. They returned home dreaming of opening a high-end distillery. Collaborations—such as the one with local Teakoe Tea that resulted in a limited-edition, deep purple spiced plum tea and rye vodka—are always on the menu.
Bottle to Buy: Syrah-Finished Whiskey ($85). When co-founder Scott Yeats received Dominio IV’s Syrah barrels from Oregon, they were still wet with wine.
Insider Info: The creatures represented on Mythology’s labels are the owners’ spirit animals.
Damn. Good. Spirits.
Backstory: This extension of master distiller Sean Smiley’s State 38 Distilling—whose offerings include vodka, gin, and absinthe—has a mass-market price range ($14 to $25 per 750-milliliter bottle), in part thanks to cheaper packaging.
Bottle to Buy: Absinthe Verte (starting at $23). Macerated with star and green anise, fennel, and wormwood, the spirit is distilled before it sits with vanilla beans and mint leaves.
Insider Info: Try an “A&T,” or absinthe and tonic. “It’s all the things you love about a G&T but with a stronger anise flavor,” Smiley says.
Backstory: After honeymooning in Ireland, Patrick and Meagan Miller began crafting the only triple-distilled single pot still whiskey outside of that country. It’s made with a minimum of 30 percent unmalted barley, which gives the spirit a unique spiciness.
Bottle to Buy: Carrowdair Whiskey ($40). It’s aged in quarter casks, which infuse oak into the sipper faster than full-size barrels do.
Insider Info: “Talnua” is Gaelic for “new land” or “new earth,” which refers to the Colorado grown barley in the recipe.
Backstory: Brothers Erick and Drew Demgen and their childhood friend Lou Pacenta, all avid homebrewers, have invested in one of the two iStill Next Generation stainless-steel stills in the Centennial State. These automate mashing, fermenting, and distilling.
Bottle to Buy: Summer Peach vodka ($29). This past summer, the crew cut and pitted 1,200 pounds of organic Palisade peaches to make this Colorado spirit.
Insider Info: To earn your après on the tasting room’s west-facing patio, hit the nearby hiking and biking trails in Chatfield State Park.
Backstory: Denver natives, longtime buddies, and liquor sales veterans Owen Locke and Rick Talley have a thing for both rye whiskey and aspen groves, so they age their spirits with charred aspen disks from trees they fell in Fairplay. To keep overhead low, they distill on borrowed equipment.
Bottle to Buy: Aspen Aged Rye (starting at $65; currently Locke & Co.’s only product). Expect brown sugar and fresh grassy notes.
Insider Info: Locke & Co.’s unique flask-shaped bottles fit in most back pockets (and yes, they hold 750 milliliters).