Drink Winners

Our 2023 Made in Virginia Awards for Drink.

High Rye

Lost Whiskey Club, Fairfax

Drive an hour west of Washington D.C., into the hills along the Appalachian Trail, and you’ll find Lost Whiskey Club, an off-the-grid experience that’s all about people, place, and bourbon.

The people are the guys of GreenSpur, a Northern Virginia-based design firm led by owner and founder, Mark Turner. “We decided to start a whiskey company to combine our loves of architecture, nature, space, and gathering,” says Turner. Lost is the culmination of the GreenSpur team’s vision of harnessing human connection and the humility of nature to counter the demands of modern life. 

The place “is a little bit 1920s speakeasy, mixed with a smidge of Teddy Roosevelt and a full dose of Virginia hunt and horse country,” as GreenSpur describes it. Designed as a cozy mountain chalet meets traditional tobacco barn, Lost’s lodge is the distillery’s centerpiece, surrounded by 5,800 panoramic acres of protected public land. 

Then there’s the bourbon. “If you like the spice notes that rye gives you, but love the smoothness of an aged straight bourbon—this is it,” says Zach Gasper, GreenSpur’s vice president of design, describing Lost’s High Rye varietal. 

Each bottle is identified with a unique leather strap and story number, so you can always remember when, where—and with whom—you enjoyed it. “Drinking bourbon is all about the experience, the conversation, the story,” says Gasper. “Giving or sharing a bottle of Lost Whiskey is precious to us, because time with the ones we love is our most priceless possession.” $29.99, LostWhiskey.com


The Orchard Series

Trapezium Brewing Co., Amherst/Petersburg

Trapezium Brewing Company’s flagship Petersburg taproom has a new sister property in bucolic Amherst County. There, you’ll find Camp Trapezium: a 76-acre farm brewery. The Brewmaster oversees production of the Orchard Series, a lineup of farmhouse style beers and wild ales—all made using locally grown fruit—that undergo spontaneous fermentation, activated when wild yeast carried on the farm-fresh air settles over a liquid grain mixture base. The series has featured blueberries from Nelson County, peaches plucked from Bedford, even watermelon and elderberries harvested directly from Camp Trapezium’s on-site farm—with new flavors changing with the seasons. $8/glass, $18-24/bottle, TrapeziumBrewing.com


Tart 31 Cherry Ale

Dirt Farm Brewing, Bluemont

“No farms, no beer!” That’s the fighting spirit of Dirt Farm Brewing, owned and operated by Loudoun County agritourism dynamos, the Zurschmeide family. The brewery’s Home Grown Series features beers made with fresh ingredients grown at Great Country Farms, the Zurschmeide’s home base since 1993, which they expanded in 2007 with the addition of Bluemont Vineyard. An original Home Grown flavor and star of the show is the Tart 31 Cherry Ale, a fruit-forward, bright red brew packed with 31 pounds of juicy Montmorency cherries per keg, all harvested on-site. “We call it a sour’s first cousin,” says owner Bruce Zurschmeide. $9/pint, $18/16oz. 4-pack, DirtFarmBrewing.com


Kombucha

Bitchin’ Boucha, Richmond

From humble beginnings in Jason Smith’s home “brew lab,” Bitchin’ Boucha was born. “I realized that due to its health-nut reputation, kombucha was a drink that many people were missing out on,” says Smith. “It can be great for gut health, but it’s also delicious, and an amazing alternative to soda.” Now brewed commercially and sold at specialty retailers, like Stella’s Grocery in Richmond and Windswept Experience & Supply Co. in Irvington, this “kombucha with ‘tude,” sporting its trademark tongue logo and comic book-colored labels, comes in five refreshing flavors: black cherry ginger, lavender lemonade, pineapple coconut, cran-lime sour, and blueberry mint. $4.20, BitchinBoucha.com


Coffee Liqueur

Virago Spirits, Richmond

Add a dash of dark chocolate flavor and the electric buzz of espresso to any cocktail creation with this bold mix-in. Inspired by Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Company’s popular Dark as Dark roast, Virago’s liqueur makes a smoky-sweet addition to a bevy of beverages. Enjoy it in a specialty drink at Virago’s Richmond tasting room, like the Russian Influence, a concoction of the distillery’s Four-Port Rum, coffee liqueur, half & half, coffee, and simple syrup—served piping hot or chilled over ice. Feeling festive? Slip some in your Christmas morning eggnog mug to make the holiday season extra merry and bright. $22.99, ViragoSpirits.com


Vidal Blanc Passito

868 Estate Vineyards, Hillsboro

Northern Virginia’s 868 Estate Vineyards has a lot to be proud of, starting with the 2020 Virginia Governor’s Cup—followed by a gold medal win at the 2021 competition. And, this year, 868 celebrates 10 years of producing world-class wine in the lush Loudoun County countryside. Vidal Blanc Passito is 868’s signature dessert wine, fit for any celebration. Best served chilled, it’s bright, fruity, and complex, bursting with flavors of honeysuckle, raisin, and apricot; and it pairs perfectly with cheesecake. “We like to serve it with dried apricots and blue cheese at the end of a fine meal,” says Nancy Deliso, 868’s owner and general manager. $28, 868EstateVineyards.com


Chenin Blanc

Hazy Mountain Vineyards, Afton

At the crossroads of two federally defined American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) lies Hazy Mountain Vineyards, where winemaker Luke Tranium and his team are out to “blow away any doubts that the finest wines in the world can be produced right here in Virginia.” Grown at Hazy’s production vineyard in Swoope, which is part of the Shenandoah Valley AVA, the 2020 Chenin Blanc grape, rare in Virginia, is fermented and aged exclusively in large format French oak puncheons, giving the wine a distinct texture, balanced with a vibrant acidity. It’s light, crisp, smooth, and mild enough to suit a wide variety of palates. $39, Hazy-Mountain.com


Creeper

Honey & Hops Brew Works, Front Royal

What is mead, really? If you ask the Alaskan-born brothers behind Honey & Hops, it’s a little bit beer and a little bit wine. But they’ll also say it’s neither of those things. “Mead is fermented with honey instead of grapes or sugars, but it can still taste sweet or dry, like wine,” says oldest brother Ian Rushing. “And like beer, it can be hoppy or fruity.” Creeper is the brainchild of lead fermenter Adam Rushing. Made with chocolate Carolina reaper peppers—for a slow, slightly sweet burn—cinnamon, and cocoa nibs, it won silver at the 2021 Mazer Cup International Mead Competition. $23, HoneyandHopsBrewWorks.com

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