As children, our dads impressed us by downing glasses of brown liquid that smelt like rubbing alcohol and tasted even worse. As adults, we shook our heads at the ancient bottle of Captain Morgan spiced rum that’s been in the cabinet for as long as we can remember, and sighed in dismay as our fathers passed over award-winning, grapefruit-infused IPAs in favor of a warm Natty Light. Whether your dad’s alcohol preferences wow or disgust, this Father’s Day we recommend taking him to one of the many craft spirit distilleries in the area to either appeal to his refined palate or show him the light, respectively. Here are five favorites.
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1. Nauti Spirits. This Cape May distillery is known for its handcrafted vodka, gin and rum. Most of the ingredients used are sourced from their 60-acre farm. All of the mashing, fermenting and distilling is done in-house, making it a South Jersey brand through and through. At the San Francisco World Spirits competition it cleaned up, coming home with a bronze medal for its rum, a silver medal for its gin and a gold medal for its vodka. Stop in on Father’s Day for live music from 3 to 6 p.m. Located at 916 Shunpike Road, Cape May. Go to NautiSpirits.com.
2. Cape May Distillery. Cape May Distillery is mostly known for its rum, with flavors like toasted coconut and blueberry available for purchase. However, this distillery also offers Back Bay Straight Bourbon and Prohibition Gin, to diversify its offerings. On Sunday, celebrate Father’s Day by heading there from noon to 6 p.m. for drinks and food from Walking Taco Co. Food Truck. Located at 371 NJ-47, Cape May Court House. Go to CapeMay-Distillery.com.
3. Little Water Distillery. This Atlantic City distillery has made quite a name for itself since opening just last year. Its most famous product is its Whitecap Whiskey, a collaboration with Davis Valley Distillery in Virginia, with a minimum aging of 24 months. However, it also offers Liberty American Silver Rum, 48 Blocks Vodka and Prosperity American Dark Rum. You can find Little Water in bars all over New Jersey, but why not stop into the distillery itself from 1 to 6 p.m. on Father’s Day for a tour and tasting? Located at 807 Baltic Ave., Atlantic City. Go to LittleWaterDistillery.com.
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4. Lazy Eye Distillery. Lazy Eye is saddled with 13 awards from all over the country, including being named 2016 and 2017 New Jersey Distillery of the Year. What makes its vodka so good is the care the folks at Lazy Eye take to make it perfect. Their motto is “Pride, Patience, Hard Work and Tradition,” when crafting its five different varieties of vodka. Call ahead to reserve a tour or “small batch” experience. Two locations at: 1328 Harding Highway, Richland; 135 E. Spicer Ave., Wildwood. Go to LazyEyeDistillery-com.apache5.cloudsector.net.
5. The Iron Room. OK, the Iron Room isn’t actually a distillery. But it does boast one of the best whiskey selections in the state. The bar offers 400 different types of whiskey — everything from Jameson to 1981 Glenmorangie Pride scotch, which carries a price tag of $400 a shot. With so many options, The Iron Room is a dream for any whiskey-loving dad. Located at 648 N. Albany Ave., Atlantic City. Go to IronRoomAC.com.