When it comes to starting a distillery in North Idaho, there is no shortage of hoops you have to jump through with the state and the feds. Still, the owners of Up North Distillery wanted to give it a try. Hilary and Randy Mann are two brave souls who have been successfully producing honey and apple spirits since 2015. Earlier this year, they won three gold medals at the Denver International Spirits Competition for their Honey Spirits, Barrel-Aged Honey Spirits, and original Apple Brandy. Also, their Honey Spirits was named the most unique in Idaho by Playboy.com.
It’s easy to pass over such uncommon spirits in favor of gin, vodka, or whiskey. However, the moonshine quality that is the foundation for both the Apple Brandy and Honey Spirits makes them easy to mix, pour, sip, and even shoot. First, the brandy is crisp and clean with just a hint of fresh, tart apple on the end. It has a simple flavor profile, which makes it ideal for cocktails. I stirred it into a Persephone, which calls for 1 ounce of apple brandy, 3/4 ounce of sweet vermouth, a splash of unfiltered apple juice (optional), and 1/2 ounce each of gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Pour over ice, stir, and strain for a refreshing sipper.
The Honey Spirits, which start as 100% local Inland Northwest honey, are brewed into a mead wine, then distilled into a delicate liquor with a warm, soft finish on the tongue. Surprisingly, it isn’t overly sweet but balanced in flavor and body. You can try it in a Pomegranate Moscow Mule at the Up North Distillery bar.
Bottles of Up North’s award-winning spirits can be found at Idaho liquor stores, as well as a small shop in its bar and distillery in Post Falls. The bar serves seasonal drinks, classic cocktails, in-house liquors, and a comprehensive selection of local and regional spirits and whiskey. //