Cocktails are aplenty come the holiday season, and Charlottesville’s Spirit Lab Distilling has introduced a trio of festive spirits to add to your beverage cart. The distillery’s most recent release, Amaro, pairs botanicals with native passion fruit while Spirit Lab’s Single Malt Whiskey and Old Tom Gin harness the full-bodied aromas of classic spirits.
Ivar Aass, owner of Spirit Lab Distilling, describes the Amaro as herbal and rooty with a well-balanced acidity complemented by hints of floral and fruit with tropical and citrus undertones. Contrary to last year’s release, the bitter liqueur replaces pawpaws with foraged maypops, a species of passion fruit prevalent in Central Virginia. Aass introduced 14 other botanicals to the blend as well, asserting it as an ideal accompaniment to Negroni.
Spirit Lab’s latest batch of Single Malt Whiskey is brimming with familiar fall flavors like toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, nutmeg, fig, date, cognac and madeira. Aass explains that the honey-colored whiskey is made with 100 percent Virginia-grown malted barley. The release was deemed a luxurious treat by Made in C-Ville contest judge, Martha Stafford, and was praised for its complex flavors and aromas of spice, nut and fruit.
Last but certainly not least in the holiday threesome is Old Tom Gin. The gin is highly revered by restaurants throughout Northern and Central Virginia for its old-fashioned style and spice-forward sip. Aass says Old Tom Gin breathes lovely hints of baking spice, French lavender and spruce with the slightest touch of toasted oak. The translucent pour is sweet with subdued juniper savors.
Aass recommends serving Old Tom Gin in a martini or classic gin and tonic during Christmas time to truly relish the spirit’s spruce notes.
Spirit Lab Distilling is located at 1503 6th St. SE, Charlottesville. All Spirit Lab spirits are available for purchase at the distillery or at select ABC Stores. Click here to find the vendor nearest you.