Spirited Offerings

Eye-opening treats from St. Augustine.

Kevin McDonald

Housed in a magnificent revitalized building that began life as an ice manufacturing plant in 1905, St. Augustine Distillery Co. has taken a proactive step in the local and sustainable movement, finding new ways to use the treasures of Florida agriculture.  

Not satisfied with standard spirit-making supplies, co-owners Philip McDaniel and Mike Diaz went to extraordinary measures to source heirloom sugar cane from a single North Florida farmer for the smooth Florida Cane Vodka. Even gin skeptics will change their minds after sipping the surprisingly drinkable New World Gin, distilled from Florida citrus and botanicals. Rum and bourbon are currently being barrel-aged for future offering.

After the free tour and tasting, a visit upstairs to the independently owned Ice Plant Bar is a must. As hyperlocal as it gets, the bar creates its signature cocktails with in-house fresh juice and spirits made just a few steps away. Chef Josh Smith does wondrous things with ingredients from local farms; a simple watermelon salad, infused with a citrusy, almost effervescent marinade, was an eye-opening start to a meal highlighted by St. Augustine oysters roasted in garlic butter, tomatoes from nearby Wellborn and a shrimp cake sandwich.

110 Riberia St., St. Augustine. staugustinedistillery.com

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