“Who wants to just drink gin or vodka out of little plastic cups? No one!” she laughs. “We thought having something lighter and gentler would be an interesting experience [in the tasting room].” McKee says Orphan Girl is made with house bourbon and a “shelf stabilized cream” so the FDA doesn’t consider it dairy and the distillery can make it on-site without extra regulations. Because it isn’t considered dairy, the bottles do not need refrigeration. Something McKee has noticed about Orphan Girl is that it appeals to a diverse group of drinkers. She cites the “little old ladies” who purchase bottles from the tasting room for their card parties. Then there are the bikers who ride through town with a stop at Headframe to have a “Dirty Girl” cocktail, Orphan Girl and root beer. She even gives bottles of Orphan Girl to Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock for him to keep in his office, not to drink, but to give as gifts to visitors. She says the product is something unique to Montana and people have an appreciation for that.
2DOCKS CREAM LIQUEUR BY PROOF ARTISAN DISTILLERS
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Joel Kath of Proof in Fargo, ND, began his distillery four years ago and has been open for two and half years. However, his vodkabased cream liqueur has been in the works for almost 25 years. “Beer doesn’t agree with me,” he chuckles. “I’ve always been a spirit's guy.” When he first started to work with spirits in his home, he would make his own cream liqueurs using store bought Everclear and vodka. Then he would add macerated cherries and other fruits along with coffee and vanilla beans. He used the finished product to make himself and his friends what he calls “Happy Coffee” during cold North Dakota winters. When he decided to make his own vodka, the cream liqueur followed. That early recipe is the basis for 2Docks today. He agrees that cream liqueurs are difficult. When making his first batches he used evaporated milk, but it didn’t store well. He now uses a “stabilized base” for his cream, which is not considered dairy by the FDA. He also adds lemon and orange peel to provide a citrus touch. He makes his vodka with locally grown potatoes. Kath says the cream liqueur is fan favorite in the tasting room, however, outside sales are a bit lower volume compared to that ‘international cream liqueur.’ He thinks it is because of the slightly higher price point of his craft products. However, once people try 2Docks, they are hooked. “People do recognize a handcrafted product, a home-grown product,” he says. “And cream liqueur cocktails are easy to mix at home, usually only two ingredients, so it’s something people always have on hand.” Bespoke is currently available in New York and Georgia and 2Docks in North and South Dakota and western Minnesota. Nooku is currently only available in Colorado and Orphan Girl is available in most of the Northwestern and north Mid-western US. Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream is available nationwide. WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM