Just in time for tailgate season (and for us non-beer drinkers), Southern Tier Distilling Company has introduced a new canned cocktail line made from its craft spirits. And if the name sounds familiar, yes, the distillery is an offshoot of Southern Tier Brewing located in Lakewood, along Chautauqua Lake.
Southern Tier Brewing's founder Phin DeMink obtained a distilling license in late 2015, with the intent to create spirits using 90 percent local ingredients. From spirits, the canned cocktail line evolved.
DeMink's goal was to reinterpret classic cocktail recipes using high-end ingredients. Three final cocktails were selected from among categories DeMink wanted to highlight: refreshing and dry (Gin & Tonic), sweet and savory (Vodka Madras) and spicy and boozy (Bourbon Smash). The cocktails went under some fine tuning at the distillery’s tasting room, The Empty Bottle, using customer feedback to hone in on flavor.
Cocktails highlight DeMink's favorite botanical flavors. Gin & Tonic is described as “a twist on a classic gin and tonic featuring hints of elderflower, cucumber and lime zest.”
The Vodka Madras is “a sweet and delicious cocktail consisting of cranberry, orange and lime ... Cardamom gives this carbonated cocktail a crafty twist."
Finally, the Bourbon Smash is “a citrusy 19th century cooler, cousin to the mint julep, this cocktail features a perfect balance of lemon, ginger and mint.” The vodka and gin cocktails are 8 percent alcohol by volume while bourbon goes up to 10 percent ABV.
Canned cocktails must be purchased at a liquor store. For now, distribution will be at Premier locations (3900 Maple Road., Amherst; 7980 Transit Road, East Amherst, and 3410 Amelia Drive, Orchard Park) and Global Wine & Spirits locations (4990 Harlem Road, Amherst; 3820 McKinley Parkway and 3211 Southwestern Blvd., Orchard Park). The product will also be sold at Southern Tier in Lakewood, and also New Jersey, Delaware and Ohio.
Suggested retail price is $14.99 for a four-pack of 12-ounce cans. Cocktails can be served cold in the can or poured over ice.
Southern Tier Distilling is located at 2051A Stoneman Circle, Lakewood. The Empty Bottle is open 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Tours are at 3 p.m. Saturdays.
At Southern Tier Brewing (2072 Stoneman Circle), The Empty Pint also hosts Saturday tours starting at 12:15 p.m. ($15) and has a nifty little food menu. The brewery's hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.