For those reading this magazine, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Breckenridge is most likely that dessert-like Vanilla Porter from Colorado’s third craft brewery. The Breckenridge name, however, also refers to a very well-respected Colorado export in the adult beverage category—Breckenridge Distillery.
Breckenridge Distillery, located 9,600 feet above sea level, is the world’s highest distillery. Established in 2008, it’s also a relatively new distillery, but is home to the largest copper kettle in the state of Colorado. This 750-gallon kettle has produced a number of award- winning spirits, most notably their bourbon whiskey. These winning ways are quite fitting for their name. Breckenridge was named after the small town in Colorado which was founded in 1859 when gold was discovered there, and was also home to many illegal stills throughout the mines during Prohibition. Having won five gold medals, among other accolades in their short existence, they are bringing back that gold rush feeling to the historic Breckenridge area.
The distillery, led by Head Distiller Jordan Via, produces an array of spirits, but they are most well-known for bourbon whiskey, vodka, and bitters. The bourbon whiskey—their most successful on the awards side of things—has been their claim to fame. Made from a mash with a unique rye bill that, along with the use of natural snowmelt water, really separates itself from other bourbon whiskeys. The mash bill is made of mostly yellow corn and green rye, with a touch of unmalted barley which is then distilled and aged in 100% new American White Oak 53-gallon barrels. By the time it finds its way into the bottle, you’re sipping on a 43% ABV whiskey that’s a blend of barrels aged for 2-3 years and proofed with that unique, natural snowmelt water, providing a bourbon whiskey like no other.
It may not have won quite as many awards, but Breckenridge Vodka stands up to many fine vodkas on the market. This vodka is not your typical take on the style. Vodka is that one spirit in which higher quality usually equals less flavor. Really good vodka is typically tasteless. Instead of being made from potatoes in the traditional manner, Breckenridge uses a sweet corn mash and their mineral-rich water. The ending result is a quality vodka with flavor that ends with traces of floral notes, providing a unique vodka experience and new layer of depth to any vodka-based cocktail.
Lastly, in what is probably a much larger and attractive bottle than you’d ever expect to see such a spirit in, is their Breckenridge Bitters. Steeped with a mixture of spices, herbs, and roots, their bitters is the perfect complement to a variety of classic cocktails. Not in the mood for a cocktail? You can even try pouring a couple splashes into your next IPA to bring a whole new depth of character to balance out and enhance those beloved hop flavors.