7 Spirits With Crazy Cult Followings
Cult movies like The Big Lebowski and Rocky Horror Picture Show may have armies of dedicated fans who line up in full costume to attend midnight screenings, but the liquor world has its own breed of superfan. While these enthusiasts might not show up to the liquor store dressed like their favorite distiller, they’re just as devoted to their passion as the Lebowski fan who only drinks Caucasians and has a closet full of bathrobes.
If you’ve ever been curious about that line in front of the liquor store, here are five cult spirits people go gaga over.wait hours in freezing temperatures for a bottle (customers are limited to two). Available only once a year, in December, exclusively at their Colorado distillery, the Snowflake whiskey is finished in a variety of unique barrels from all over the world. Named after a summit in the Colorado Rockies, the 2016 release was called Crestone Peak, and was aged in a combination of casks that formerly held Spanish Syrah, Madeira, old vine Zinfandel and Saint Croix rum. Given that fans risk losing appendages to frostbite for a bottle, it makes absolute sense that aftermarket sales of Snowflake are almost unheard of. first followers in San Francisco during Prohibition. Today, the city allegedly consumes 35 percent of all fernet imported into America. Over the years, Golden State bartenders spread the love for the amaro across the country. Referred to as the “bartender’s handshake,” the spirit is now an industry insider favorite, often taken as a hangover cure. If you haven’t tried this Italian digestif, Fernet Branca can easily be found at almost any liquor store or bar. If you want to win the respect of your bartender, buy a shot for yourself and one for them when you’re ending the night. Moxie (a beloved Maine “pop”), or with equal parts straight milk in a pint glass for the Maine favorite, the Sombrero. Dubbed the “Champagne of Maine,” Allen’s Coffee Brandy is made by steeping whole coffee beans in citrus-based brandy, before sugar and water are added to dilute the spirit to 60 proof. It’s a bit like overproof, naturally caffeinated Four Loko—but a whole lot better. It retails at $13.99 a liter, so we’re loading up the trunk next time we’re up north. vermouth and absinthe, Malört was developed in Scandinavia as a medicinal tonic in medieval times. In Chicago, during Prohibition, the infused spirit was still available because it was legally classified as “medicinal alcohol.” The schnapps was and continues to be a staple in Swedish and Polish bars, commonly shared amongst bartenders and considered a rite of passage. Now, due to its popularity, there are several local, craft distilleries that produce their own versions of Jeppson’s schnapps (Letherbee Bësk is one of our favorites)—but no other brand can call its bitter, herbaceous product Malört. The Saratoga in San Francisco dedicates an entire section of its cocktail menu to vintage Chartreuse, selling two ounce pours of green Chartreuse from the 1920s for $440. Maybe it’s time to dust off those bottles in your grandfather’s basement. wheated bourbon is steeped in tradition, with little care for expediency. While bottlings were initially priced below $100 and quasi-readily available upon release, the Pappy Van Winkle brand unexpectedly became a cult whiskey phenomenon in the early 2000s when demand rose and supplies became increasingly scarce. Now, these bottles disappear quickly from liquor store shelves and aftermarket prices fetch ridiculous sums of money; the 15-Year Pappy Van Winkle fetches upwards of $1,400 on the black market, while their 23-year-old whiskey can go for $2,900. The best way to try these whiskies is at a high-end spirits bar, with the help of the “Pappy Tracker” app, or by sleeping at your local liquor store until the next bottling hits shelves. extravagant sums at auction.