First off is a new release that’s locally produced and owned. Even better, with Hockey Day Minnesota this month, this product donates a portion of their profits to local Minnesota community hockey programs. But enough about the company — let’s talk about the actual product you’ll be taking home. This vodka is made with Minnesota-grown, organic corn and is gluten free. The result is a very clean-tasting vodka. When I first tasted it, I expected it to be good, but I was really impressed with just how great it is. I’ve already gone through a couple of bottles myself. It’s perfect to drink neat, on the rocks, in a Martini, or — as Northland co-founder Mark Parrish recommends — in a vodka soda with lemon. He certainly knows what he’s talking about.
Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum
Next, we have a spiced rum. But this is not your typical spiced rum. You don’t need to drown this with cola. This spiced rum can stand on its own. Made in the island nation of St. Lucia, it starts with the Chairman’s Reserve Original Rum base and adds local fruits and spices. It come across with lots of orangey citrus, cinnamon, and vanilla flavors. I like to use this to make something similar to an old fashioned. I don’t add sugar because the rum is naturally sweet. I just pour it over ice with a dash of bitters (I like Bittercube cherry bark vanilla), a cherry, an orange slice, and then stir. If you’re a whisky drinker and haven’t tried much rum, this version of an old fashioned is a great change.
Speyburn Companion Cask
With the price of single malt scotch set to go up, we were lucky enough to get our cask of Speyburn in just before the tariffs start. This item is sold only as a whole cask, so this exact whisky is exclusively available at Top Ten — once it’s gone, it’s gone. Speyburn Companion Cask is aged in ex-Buffalo Trace Distillery barrels, so you can expect some traditional bourbon flavors complementing the scotch. This is a great value to get your single malt scotch fix without breaking the bank after the holidays. I would drink this one on the rocks, in a scotch and soda, or in your favorite scotch cocktail.
Bubba’s Secret Still Brown Spice Liquor
This item is a little bit of an anomaly. This is a dessert beverage to me, a little sweeter than I usually drink, but man is it good. The people who make it say it’s based on pecan pie. The first thing I thought of was oatmeal cookies. The brown sugar flavor is what does it for me, along with the fact that I’ve eaten oatmeal cookies my whole life, but not much pecan pie. I’ve had this drink as a shot and on the rocks, and it’s delicious both ways. It’s a fun and different spirit to experiment with. Fans say it works great with cola and lemon-lime soda, but I think the possibilities are only limited to your imagination. You can make twists on all sorts of classics — margaritas, piña coladas, with ginger ale or root beer, you get the idea. It is definitely a fun way to stave off the cold this winter.
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EXPERT TIPS ON WINE, SPIRITS AND BEER FROM BILL “THE WINE GUY”, AND OUR OTHER RESIDENT EXPERTS.