DRINK

 

The Pour

Popcorn Sutton’s White Whiskey​​​​
(93 proof)
Nashville, TN | $30 | Buster’s Liquors & Wines

This East Tennessee invention comes courtesy of modern-day bootlegger Marvin Sutton, who crafted his own white whiskey well past the time of prohibition. However, its eponymous maker’s unscrupulous and untaxed production methods ensured plenty of legal troubles for Sutton, who died in 2009. This recent iteration serves as an attempt to legitimize the signature swill of the late, legendary moonshiner. Popcorn Sutton’s White Whiskey resides in mason jars with individually numbered lids and offers a unique, slightly eccentric take on Tennessee whiskey. Sutton’s concoction lacks the caramel hue present in most of its kind due to the manufacturing process, which eschews the traditional barrel-aging method for a distinct transparent look and unique, straight-from-the-still flavor.  The result is a more delicate liquor better suited for mixers than its copper-colored kin.

While Tennessee is famous for whiskey, alcohol aficionados may not know that the MidSouth is home to several distilleries that produce a variety of unique libations including gin, bourbon, vodka and even a modern twist on old-timey moonshine. Here’s five southern spirits produced and sold exclusively in the South.
photos and story by casey hilder

Cathead
(80 proof)
Glucktstadt, MS | $20 | cork & Barrel

Cathead Vodka is the first liquor to be produced legally in Mississippi in more than a century and holds claim to the only legally sanctioned distillery in the Magnolia State. This small-batch vodka variant possesses a smooth, charcoal-filtered flavor that is much than softer than its 80-proof label implies. The name refers to a slang term for the musicians of the region, who often appropriated a feline motif for their album covers, guitar cases and juke joint window dressings. True to its namesake, a dollar of every bottle sold fuels local musicians through contributions to the Music Maker Relief Foundation, a nonprofit organization geared toward assisting Delta blues musicians. Cathead Vodka is also available in seasonal Honeysuckle blend.

Corsair Artisan Gin
(88 proof)
Nashville, TN | $30 | Buster’s Liquors & Wines

While Tennessee is widely known for an assortment of bourbons and whiskeys, the Volunteer State hasn’t gained much recognition for gin. Corsair aims to change that with this small-batch Tennessee twist on the usual juniper and barley blend. True to the craft, each batch is produced in a hammered copper still and given a handwritten label denoting its origin. A crisp, floral scent and light licorice undertone complement the natural flavor of this blend. However, the pronounced citrus flavor and hint of spice also makes it perfect for cocktails and mixers. The back of the bottle boasts “a rich apothecary of ingredients” that includes various botanicals, spices and herbs exclusive to the Corsair method.

Prichard’s Sweet Lucy
Bourbon Liqueur

(70 proof)
Kelso, TN | $27 | D’vine wines

While Tennessee is widely known for an assortment of bourbons and whiskeys, the Volunteer State hasn’t gained much recognition for gin. Corsair aims to change that with this small-batch Tennessee twist on the usual juniper and barley blend. True to the craft, each batch is produced in a hammered copper still and given a handwritten label denoting its origin. A crisp, floral scent and light licorice undertone complement the natural flavor of this blend. However, the pronounced citrus flavor and hint of spice also makes it perfect for cocktails and mixers. The back of the bottle boasts “a rich apothecary of ingredients” that includes various botanicals, spices and herbs exclusive to the Corsair method.

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