The Garden State’s craft brew industry isn’t the only one that’s blowing up. Since 2013, when licensing costs dropped significantly, distilleries of all stripes have been opening their doors to a very thirsty New Jersey crowd. Follow our guide to the best spirits in the state.
Asbury Park Distilling Company
Since opening in 2017, this contemporary distillery has won numerous awards for its impeccable line of spirits, including making Esquire magazine's list of Best Whiskey Distilleries in America 2019. Sip on Double Barrel Bourbon Whiskey, Barrel-Finished Gin, vodka and more, or order up a from-scratch cocktail. All ingredients – the alchol, bitters, tonics, tinctures and syrups – are all made in-house.
Wine Enthusiast called Claremont’s vodka one of the Top 100 spirits in 2016, giving it a 93-point rating. It’s not hard to see why. Distilled 20 times, the result is smooth and buttery. The distillery located in Fairfield is currently working on whiskeys, but offers a double-distilled Moonshine in the meantime.
Colts Neck StillHouse Co.
Make a reserveration for a tour of this distillery in Colt House, which opened in 2019, to get a behind-the-scenes look at the barrel room and to see how these local spirits are made. The tour includes a tasting of three of the five spirits offered (wheat vodka, American gin, East Coast white rum, straight bourbon and straight rye). Afterward, settle into the onsite Cocktail Parlor for a fancy, handmade cocktail such as Flowers for Charlie, made with rye, chamomile, lemon, egg white and grapefruit bitters.
Cooper River Distillers
Pop in to taste Petty’s Island Rum at this downtown Camden distillery that offers alongside spiced and aged versions. The menu continues to evolve here, with whiskeys from New Jersey-produced corn and rye recently added.
Jersey Artisan Distilling
The first distillery to open in New Jersey since Prohibition, JAD’s small-batch Busted Barrel rum is available throughout the state, but you can sample it in the distillery’s speakeasy-style tasting room in Fairfield. There’s even a sorbet made from the stuff.
Jersey Spirits Distilling Co.
You can spend all day here, and they’ll show you just how they produce their award-winning gin, as well as small-batch vodka, whiskey, rum and bourbon. Take a class—Infusion or Mixology 101—or a self-guided tour of the tasting room in Fairfield.
Lazy Eye Distillery
With two locations, Lazy Eye makes it easy for you to sample their sweet little gluten-free vodka made entirely from grapes. The family-run distillery offers Saturday tours and tastings at their Richland site, and be sure to take home a bottle of The Lazy Eye Special, a cocktail they concocted well before the distillery even opened. The Wildwood location is open on the weekends during the summer.
Little Water Distillery
The best place to try this distillery’s Whitecap American Whiskey, which is aged for a year in bourbon barrels, is on the weekends at the Little Water Bar in Atlantic City. Along with sipping signature cocktails, you can join a tour or have a proper tasting.
With its hip, modern sensibility, Skunktown’s scrumptious products are no surprise. Visit this distillery in Flemington to sample a variety of spirits, including vodka, gin, oaked rum and rye whiskey.