5 unforgettable distillery visits by François Monti
There is no need to worry: visiting a distillery is a sport that does not know about seasons. Last July, at Tales of the Cocktail, Bacardi Martini’s Jacob Briars convened a first-class panel to present the must-see distilleries. Simon Ford (Ford’s Gin), Becky Paskin (ScotchWhisky.com) and Emma Janzen (Imbibe) visited hundreds of them, from the most artisanal to the most industrial.
Among all their recommendations we have selected 5 distilleries. Weekend expeditions or long-distance trips, there is something for everyone.
Macallan has just inaugurated a spectacular distillery. Strathisla is one of the prettiest. Famous Grouse, recently put on sale, is ideal to discover the secret of blends. It was Springbank, however, that caught our attention. Decidedly less romantic, it is nevertheless perfect for those who want to follow the entire whisky making process. And for good reason: here, we do everything, since malting. It is not unique, but it is very rare.
St George Spirits (USA)
Visiting an urban distillery has many advantages, especially if you are not travelling with a passionate person. And visiting St George in San Francisco is even better: founded in 1982, it would be the first artisanal distillery to open in the United States after prohibition. Above all, it produces gin, vodka, absinthe, whiskies, brandy and many liqueurs. Enough to go around multiple categories in a single visit.
Mount Vernon (USA)
The bourbon road is very popular. Simon Ford recommends going through the distillery of Maker’s Mark, “the Buckingham Palace of Bourbon”. History buffs would, however, make a detour to Washington D.C. before heading to Kentucky. Mount Vernon, the residence of George Washington, first president of the United States and distiller, awaits them there. How was it distilled in 1797? Go there to see – and taste the result.
Montelobos Mezcal Instagram
There is no shortage of distilleries in Mexico. On the Tequila side, the visitor experience is sometimes organized in an industrial way. And even if the artisanal distilleries do not lack charm (we recommend Fortaleza), the amateurs of adventure prefer to head towards Oaxaca in search of the mezcal. Not always easy to find the right addresses. That’s why Emma Janzen praises the merits of Montelobos, a small palenque 30 minutes from the nearest town. Here the visitor receives a perfect introduction.
Noilly Prat (France)
Come on, yes, it’s not a distillery since we only make vermouth there. But for French aperitif lovers, going through the Marseillan cellars is an essential rite of passage. Just like Benedictine or Laverstoke (Bombay distillery), Marseillan confirms Bacardi Martini’s bet on the visitor experience. Completely renovated in the last two years, the visitor trail offers a splendid view of the exciting world of vermouth.
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.