Distilleries in Wisconsin doing interesting things...
I haven't tried all the products that some of these places are making, but I'm impressed with what I've read, at the very least.
One of the most interesting things they make is what turns out to be a version of German bierschnaaps, described thusly (from their website): "We start with Lakefront's Pumpkin Lager -based on a recipe from Thomas Jefferson! It's made with real Pumpkin and Lakefront Brewery makes the only pumpkin lager in existence. Carefully distilled in our pot still, we then aged it in used Bourbon Barrels. This aging mellows the spirit which is then bottled at 90 proof."
Corn-based Vodka, which I thought was called 'moonshine' but hey, I'm not gonna get all snooty about what's what. Actually I recall having an email conversation w/some hounds about a search for "what would bourbon taste like w/out the wood?" and I was wondering if it'd be close to this but, based on the description, I'm guessing not exactly. We were curious to taste the corniness without the wood, this sounds like, well, vodka. Good vodka, but vodka.
an update to say I've tried the pumpkin lager distilled and aged in bourbon barrels and I'm very impressed. It's quite unique. And they're right, the pumpkin taste does come through in the whiskey as well as a tiny (not overwhelming) bit of the spices (is it a whiskey? doesn't matter I suppose)
I've actually met the guy who started Great Lakes Distillery (Guy Rehorst). He has a very nice, modern style gin. But even more exciting, he's kicking out some absinthes that he's really proud of.
The one I really like, though, is their infused Honey & Citrus vodka. They use locally produced honey from some outfit called Wisconsin Natural Acres (didn't know WI made honey) for their vodka. But the thing I like about it is that it's not sweet at all. The infusion is more in the aroma than in the flavor. It's a brilliant little addition to a classic vodka martini or a cosmo.
Even better, they only make about 1,000 bottles of the pumpkin stuff each year but a lot more of the Honey Citrus Vodka.