Behind the Bottle

Cold Weather Spirits

By Derek Reno / Photography By Emily Kaelin | Last Updated December 15, 2015
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Cocktails for those long, winter nights


Absolute access all of the time is overrated. Awaiting what’s fresh and relishing that moment is one of our Midwest treasures. There’s nothing quite like the taste of delayed gratification.

It’s in this spirit, with the help of two amazing and largely Ohio-sourced spirits (that we thankfully can buy all year round), that we use some winter offerings to compose two original cold weather cocktails that will warm the coldest of days.

The release of cranberries that don’t come in a frozen package is always a bit special to mixologists in Columbus. Sure, cranberry juice is always on the shelf but the fresh berries and the stuff you drank with your vodka in college are worlds apart. It’s always a seasonal notation the first time you see those red packages lining your market’s produce shelves.

“Garden Of The Poison Oak” makes use of this by perfectly pairing cranberries with Watershed Distillery Bourbon Barrel Aged Gin with its citrus peel and spice balance. Rhubarb is certainly a flexible taste when it comes to the seasons, but “Art In The Age’s Rhubarb” (tea), a full-proof spirit that’s shaped up to be one of the most thrilling new releases in the spirits world, works masterfully here. The addition of a few more winter touches, including rosemary, turns this cocktail into a crisp, snowbound chiller.

Figs often remind one of a European winter holiday. Utilizing an at-home infusion technique and a locally made bitter brand, we can bring the Old World to Columbus, especially when we add the triumphantly complex OYO Michelone Reserve Bourbon Whiskey to the mix. To make this Manhattan-inspired, spirituous sipper, we dip into the aforementioned lands across the sea to add a few spirit choices that enhance the flavor profile, and the time of year. The “Fortified Fig Manhattan” satisfies.

We don’t have to look far for two of the best spirit brands in the country. We don’t even have to wait long for the influx of winter’s edible contributions. Enjoy them now. It’ll be spring before we know it.

Fortified Fig Manhattan

Fortified Fig Manhattan
Figs often remind one of a European winter holiday. Utilizing an at-home infusion technique and a locally made bitter brand, we can bring the Old World to Columbus, especially when we add the...

Garden Of The Poison Oak

The release of cranberries that don’t come in a frozen package is always a bit special to mixologists in Columbus. Sure, cranberry juice is always on the shelf but the fresh berries and the stuff...

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