Liquor Cabinet

Issue No. 128 —

Caledonia Spirits


I don’t claim to be an expert on honey. Spirits has always been my world. But recently, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the Maryland native and founder of Caledonia Spirits, Todd Hardie, who’s built his career at the intersection of those two interests. At the age of 12, Todd and his brother started their beekeeping obsession. He later moved to northern Vermont to continue his dedicated study of beekeeping, regional agriculture and ecology. He’ll tell you that the further you travel north the more productive the bees are. That’s why he settled down as far north as he could while still staying in the states and set up camp in Morses Line, Vermont. Morses Line is north of the US Customs office just shy of the Quebec border. How about that for dedication?

Todd is a fascinating guy who loves to talk about his bees, and how they gather nectar, pollen, and propolis. Let me tell ya, I’ve learned a lot about the healing powers of bees and their honey. I could listen for hours. It’s truly intriguing. I recommend visiting the Caledonia Spirits website. There’s a wealth of information there on bees in general, as well as Todd’s honey-based health products, honey wine and spirits.

When I first tried Caledonia Spirits I was blown away! These are unique hand crafted spirits that you should definitely seek out and try. Their stills are custom built and made in the USA. I can’t wait to make a trip up north and see the production. They are just getting started, so distribution is limited to a few states (Maryland, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Metro NYC/So. Hudson Valley/Long Island,  Massachusetts, & Vermont). I’m sure these products will take off and be a huge success.

The Gin

Being a gin lover I was amazed by Barr Hill Gin, it’s one of my favorite gins to date. Right from the aroma you can tell this is a special gin. The aroma screams of floral juniper berries and honey. This gin is so good you can drink it straight. It’s not your typical London Dry gin. And fear not–it’s not overly sweet. The gin is made from a corn distillation and finished with just a touch of honey. This gin makes for one of the best Negronis I have ever had and using this gin in a Bees Knees Cocktail is a no brainer.

The Honey

You can also buy Todd’s honey on his website. Try making a honey syrup with it. You’ll be amazed. His honey is not like any honey I have ever tried and it’s solid like thick butter. Todd does a special process where the honey is never heated up so all the healing properties carry through. I asked Todd to explain:

When honey is heated and filtered, it loses its medicinal and food value. The enzymes are one of the more important components of honey, and these are hurt when honey is heated. Much of the honey on U.S. shelves is from China, and much of this honey is contaminated with chemicals. It is important to get honey and honey products from a local beekeeper and someone you know or know of.


The Vodka

The Barr Hill Vodka is made entirely from honey. They distill a honey wine to make the vodka. The vodka has a lovely texture, elegant honey flavor and a touch of floral notes from the flowers the bees visit.

The Elderberry Cordial

The Elderberry Cordial is birthed from their love of the land, honey and elderberries. The cordial is not overly sweet. It’s tart and sour like cranberries. The berry flavor is bold, deep and earthy. Like the honey, the elderberries share some of the same healing powers.

Here are a couple recipes that I’ve used Bar Hill’s spirits in recently.

Spring Cocktails

Signs of Spring

  • 1 1/2 oz of Bar Hill Gin
  • 1/2 oz Bar Hill Elderberry Cordial
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4  oz Saint Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • Garnish with a lemon twist

Add all ingredients except the garnish into a shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail class and garnish with a lemon twist.

Bee’s Knees Cocktail

  • 2 oz Bar Hill Gin
  • 3/4 oz honey syrup 1:1
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Garnish with a lemon twist

Add all ingredients except the garnish into a shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail class and garnish with a lemon twist.

10 Notes on Caledonia Spirits

  1. Thank you for that wonderful and insightful article. I first catered my French Tart tent at Caledonia Spirits when they had their opening for mead wine. Their gin and vodka addition is so exciting. Since I live at base of Barr Hill I am fond of the name after those beautiful juniper berries up top. I hope I have the chance to bring my crepes and dinner tarts along with vegetarian pates again to their open house events. They go well together.
    Thank you, Carole

  2. We live in the UK. Can we get Bar Hill gin here? What’s the closest equivalent if we can’t? Live 25 minutes from Plymouth gin distillery! Hendricks available too.

  3. I am envious of the states that can get Caledonia Spirits, they sound delicious, I would love to try the elderberry cordial,( makes me think of Elton Johns, Elderberry Wine..) I have never been a gin drinker, but your description of the Bar Hill Gin makes me think I may like this. I wonder what would come close here in Michigan?
    I do however drink Vodka and the Honey Vodka sounds divine, as does the raw honey. Maybe some day they will distribute here.

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