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Top 5 Big Name Liquors You Should Own


tattersall distilling, dan oskey
Dan Oskey at Tattersall Distilling. Photo by Jason DeRusha.

Like you, I’m all about the awesome local distillers. But let’s be honest—sometimes it’s a bit of a crapshoot. Not everything is better because it’s made here in Minnesota. (I know. I said it.) The other day I was talking with Dan Oskey, the Chief Operator of Tattersall Distilling about the big name brand liquors that we both like.

“These are all big players, all with several hundred-thousand to several million cases of product sold per year per brand,” Dan told me. “None of the bottles listed will break the bank by any means.”

Some may have limitations. They aren’t necessarily life changing, but you don’t always have to have the local, artisan, and adorable liquor. Sometimes you can get the big boy and drink it proudly.

VODKA:  Ketel One ($24 at Haskell’s)

Ketel One isn’t a bargain brand; it’s number two in brand loyalty behind Grey Goose. But they sell millions of cases for good reason: Dan describes it as “wheat-based and very neutral with a little bite.”

BOURBON: Evan Williams Single Barrel ($19.99 at Haskell’s)

At under $20, it’s “a great deal with the rising prices in the bourbon category.” There has been a lot written about how many craft whiskeys come from just a couple of factory distilleries in Indiana.

So what! Don’t lie to me about your brand story, but if it’s from a big distillery, and it’s delicious, I’m good.

Dan’s runner up: “I'm still a sucker for Old Grand-Dad too.  I spent an entire summer of my youth drinking that stuff, so it holds a special place in my heart.”

GIN: Beefeater ($17.49 for 1L at Surdyk’s)

To be fair, Dan’s Tattersall Gin is the absolute best gin I’ve ever had. It’s perfection. But I have had a lot of Beefeater’s and tonic in my day. “It’s a malleable classic in the London Dry category. You can make pretty much any gin cocktail with Beefeater with good results,” Dan said.

RUM: Plantation 5-Year Barbados ($19.99 at Haskell’s) 

It’s beautiful rum, aged for 5 years in bourbon casks. “Good enough to sip on its own,” said Dan.

TEQUILA: Sauza Hornitos ($18 -$22 at Surdyk’s)

This is a solid tequila; the reposado is a bright, peppy tequila and the anejo is aged for a year in white oak barrels. “Again, you won't break the bank. Works for just about any tequila cocktail,” Dan said.

BONUS TATTERSALL SPIRIT: Sour Cherry Liqueur ($27.59 at Surdyk’s)

I know asking Dan to pick one of his own is like asking a dad to pick a favorite child. I mean, I could tell you who my favorite child is, but the kids already know who is the favorite.

I digress. Dan picked the Sour Cherry. “It's so incredibly versatile. We've mixed it into gin drinks, aquavit drinks, bourbon drinks, pretty much every spirit under the sun drinks, with incredible results. It's so true to the tart cherries that we start with,” he said.

Tattersall Distilling, 1620 Central Ave. NE #150, Minneapolis, 612-584-4152 tattersalldistilling.com

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