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The distilled spirits produced by Traverse City vintners and microdistillers carry distinctive flavors – from the fruit brandies produced by local wineries (try the cherry eau de vie at Black Star Farms or the delightful Cinq a Sept brandy at Chateau Chantal) to the small-batch vodkas and whiskeys made by Grand Traverse Distillery in Traverse City and Northern Latitudes Distillery in Lake Leelanau.
Grand Traverse Distillery is Michigan’s largest microdistillery, and their True North Vodka is distilled from locally grown rye (“the finest rye in the world”) and the region’s sweet glacial water. They also make a True North flavored with a hint of Traverse City cherries, a wheat vodka made from Michigan wheat, and a 93 proof straight rye whiskey called Ole George.
On the Old Mission Peninsula, Jolly Pumpkin has created a wide menu of “Civilized” spirits at their microdistillery – almost all of them compounded with local ingredients: a vodka made from local Riesling grapes, a cherry vodka called Sakura, a gin made with Old Mission juniper berries, and whiskeys made with local rye and wheat.
Northern Latitudes Distillery creates whiskeys that use locally-grown corn, rye and wheat (though, like the brewers, they still have to import barley from nearby states), vodka produced from Michigan wheat, corn and sugar beets – and one flavored with locally-grown horseradish -- as well as gin-flavored with local juniper and other botanicals.
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