Monday, 31 October 2016 15:03

Distillers’ Choice: Booze purveyors talk about their favorite spirits and cocktails

Written by  Joe Boomgaard and Josh Veal
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By nature, distillers are a reflective lot. They make spirits and then often store them away in barrels for years on end to allow the wood and alcohol to mellow into a delicious quaff. That time-consuming process creates opportunities for introspection — and drinking, of course. Revue asked distillery owners from around West Michigan about their favorite spirits and cocktails. Here’s what they had to say.



Bill Welter

Owner, Journeyman Distillery, Three Oaks

“My favorite drink is Journeyman Last Feather Rye neat in a Staymaker old fashioned glass as pictured. What I love about whiskey is the history and time that passes from when the whiskey goes into barrel and the time it comes out. Sitting down with a glass of Last Feather Rye gives me pause and time to think about all that’s transpired with Journeyman and all that is still to come.”

Josh Cook 

Co-founder, Green Door Distilling Co., Kalamazoo 

“Over the past year while starting Green Door, I’ve found myself gravitating towards great value bourbons. (Small business owners don’t have much of a whiskey budget!) One in particular is on my mind: Old Grand-Dad 114. It’s an incredibly bold, full-flavored, and high-gravity bourbon. I enjoy it either neat, or with a 2-inch cube of ice, served in an 11-ounce rocks glass.”


Paul Marantette 

General manager, Coppercraft Distillery, Holland

“For me, the most enjoyable cocktail we make is our Rye Manhattan. Not only does it feature my favorite spirit we produce, our Rye Whiskey, but it also shows the true spectrum of how we craft cocktails here at Coppercraft. Operating under a manufacturer’s license, everything we serve here we make completely from scratch, including the sweet vermouth and bitters that complete our manhattan. The spice of our rye shines through while being complemented by the luscious sweetness of our vermouth, giving it an incredible mouthfeel that will satisfy any spectrum of cocktail drinkers. We serve our manhattan in a rocks glass with a single large cube, flamed orange peel and an in-house brandied cherry.”


Jon O’Connor 

Co-founder, Long Road Distillery

“At Long Road, we pride ourselves on making authentic, honest and truly world class spirits, 100 percent from grain to glass. This take-no-shortcuts philosophy is important to me both on and off the clock. I wouldn’t say that I necessarily have a go-to spirit or drink, but when I do have the opportunity to enjoy a drink outside of Long Road, I look for spirits that are made in a similar fashion to the way we make ours: honest about their process, bold in flavor and those that respect and honor their traditions. Some of my favorite drams include Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal and Fernet Branca, all served neat of course.”


Brandon Voorhees

Co-founder, Gray Skies Distillery, Grand Rapids

“My go-to cocktail is the Manhattan, preferably with my favorite spirit: rye whiskey. I tend to go light on the vermouth, for just a sweet background, while allowing the spiciness of the rye and a couple drops of bitters to do most of the work. This old-school cocktail is a perfectly balanced sipper, especially as we get into the winter months. This will be the first cocktail I mix up once our very own Gray Skies Straight Rye is done slumbering in barrels sometime in 2018.”

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