From happy hour to tasting experiences and distillery tours, craft distilleries across the United States are revamping the craft cocktail and spirits experience. So, we’re looking for the best craft and small-batch spirits producers – family-owned distilleries, grain-to-glass operations and distillers using only the best local ingredients in their products.
We invited a panel of industry experts, as well as food and drink writers, to help us nominate companies in each category. Now we need your help selecting the best whiskey, rum, vodka, gin, brandy, specialty spirits, new distilleries, craft mixers and canned cocktails in our Readers’ Choice Awards.
Click on each category below to vote.
Best Canned Cocktail
Ready-to-drink canned cocktails have exploded onto the scene in recent years, and the trend looks like it’s here to stay. These bartender-quality options run the gamut from classics, like a vodka soda or gin and tonic, to creative concoctions. The best part? They’re a convenient way to sip your favorite drink at the beach, a backyard barbecue or wherever you want to relax.
Vote: Best Canned Cocktail »
Best Craft Brandy Distillery
Brandy is making a comeback in popularity, thanks partly to renewed interest in classic cocktail recipes. The term “brandy” refers primarily to spirits distilled from wine, and more broadly to spirits distilled from fruits (also called eau de vie). We asked a panel of travel and spirits experts to nominate their favorite American craft brandy distilleries, and now we need you to pick a winner.
Vote: Best Craft Brandy Distillery »
Best Craft Gin Distillery
Gin gets its name from “genievre,” the French word for juniper. This popular spirit begins with a neutral base spirit distilled with an array of botanicals (no longer just juniper berries) to give it its distinct aroma and flavor profile. To find the best, we asked a panel of experts to nominate 20 of the best craft gin distilleries in the USA.
Many of these distilleries work in small batches using locally sourced ingredients, some are family-owned and most distill their base spirits using a blend of traditional and modern techniques. All take pride in crafting unique gins worthy of sipping, as well as mixing into a classic gin and tonic.
Vote: Best Craft Gin Distillery »
Best Craft Mixer Brand
A great cocktail calls for great ingredients, and that applies to more than just the booze. The craft distilling movement has buoyed a similar wave of companies that are handcrafting their own lines of cocktail bitters, tonics, mixers, syrups and sipping vinegars, all with an eye toward elevating the cocktail experience. We asked a panel of experts to nominate their favorite craft mixers, and we need your help crowning a winner from our pool of nominees.
Vote: Best Craft Mixer Brand »
Best Craft Rum Distillery
Sugarcane plantations in the Caribbean began distilling rum during the 17th century from molasses, an inexpensive byproduct of the sugar refining process. The spirit came to the U.S. in 1664 with the opening of the first rum distillery on Staten Island and continued to grow in popularity through the Revolutionary War.
Rum has come a long way since those early days, and distilleries across the nation are experimenting with how to craft the finest variations. We asked a panel of experts to nominate 20 of the best craft rum distilleries in the USA, and now we need you to vote for your favorite.
Vote: Best Craft Rum Distillery »
Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery
Gin, vodka, rum and whiskey are all great, but the American thirst for craft spirits has grown beyond the bounds of the traditional to embrace specialty spirits from around the globe. Modern-day distilleries now craft liqueurs, absinthe, aquavit, amaro and a host of other libations alongside their flagship spirits. Which distillery gets your vote?
Vote: Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery »
Best Craft Vodka Distillery
Russia and Poland were distilling vodka as early as 1,200 years ago, and it has since become one of the world’s most popular spirits, thanks in large part to its versatility in mixing. While some distilleries compete to create the smoothest, clearest and sometimes most flavorless variation, others are embracing vodka by making it with local, high-quality ingredients (including potatoes, wheat, corn and even grapes) with minimal distillation to allow the natural flavors to shine. Which vodka is your favorite?
Vote: Best Craft Vodka Distillery »
Best Craft Whiskey Distillery
The American craft whiskey scene has really come into its own over the past few years, expanding beyond the traditional Tennessee and Kentucky bourbons to include ryes, single malts, blends and white whiskeys made with a combination of old-world and new-school techniques. Which whiskey gets your vote?
Vote: Best Craft Whiskey Distillery »
Best New Craft Distillery
The United States now has over 2,300 craft distilleries. With so many distilleries opening up each year, we decided to highlight some of the best that are new on the scene. So, we asked a panel of experts to nominate the best new craft distilleries in the USA, including ones that are opening soon. Help us crown the 10 best by voting once per day for the new craft distillery you are most excited about.
Vote: Best New Craft Distillery »
Remember, you can vote once per day in each category. The 10 nominees with the most votes in each category will be announced on 10Best.com on Friday, October 7.
10Best is a part of the USA TODAY Network — providing an authentically local point of view on destinations around the world — in addition to travel and lifestyle advice.