Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Experience The World Of Cocktails at American Fifth Spirits In Lansing

Written by  Aimee West
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A group of us were excited to try out the first distillery in Lansing. With my freshly turned 21 year old son and his girlfriend Megan, a group of us introduced them to the wonderful world of the cocktail at the newly opened American Fifth Spirits.
We were delighted with our Beverage Ambassador Laura. She was very friendly and open about how they created the drinks and she was spot on with her cocktail suggestions for each of us. She also told us how they search out local ingredients for the drinks. If it’s not local they create a solution. Just ask about how they create their vermouth.
Laura’s background contains a past career as a pastry chef and she used her knowledge of sweet yet savory dishes to create her own one of a kind, signature drink: the Strawberry Balsamic Fizz. She had in mind a balsamic vinegar cheesecake that she had created and wanted to create a drink with those same savory flavors in mind. With fresh basil and balsamic vinegar this drink is savory and not sweet. Add in fresh strawberries and you have a taste explosion. As we were discussing the flavors, Amy had a wonderful observation ‘basil is a cousin to mint, the savory cousin, which makes this drink so fresh.’

With our group of five, we were able to try many different drinks. The Hutini is a fusion of Hue Vodka, steeped tea, olive, shaken not stirred. Root of All Ginger combines Ginger InHUEsion, Root Beer, InHUEsion, ginger beer, whipped cream and ice. My son, Tober particularly liked the combination of ginger and root beer flavors in this drink. Tober’s girlfriend, Megan ordered the Blueberry Smash; Hue Vodka, blueberries, lemon wedge, bubbles and ice. Her’s was so good that after we tasted hers we all ordered one.

Without a kitchen they do not offer a full menu. But they do offer classy little bite sized morsels. We ordered The Combo Platter which is a mix of cured meats, cheeses, pickles and olives. We had a lot of fun creating our own tasty crackers to pair with our drinks.

Mike Bird, Marketing Director, took us on a tour of the distillery, which is also visible through a glass partition. We learned about the distillery process and what each piece of equipment was used for. We learned that 10 gallons of Vodka to 1oz of Juniper is used in the creation of Gin. They also use the purist water available not only in the distillery but also in the taps at the bar and ice for each drink. The water has absolutely no flavor which creates an excellent base for the Vodka and in turn each drink for the purest flavor.

Mike also discussed the support they had received from local farmers and the agricultural community. He was surprised to find that more of his time was spent working and learning from them than actually creating drinks. For example they spent a couple of months tracking down a particular hose that they were finally able to locate 7 states away. Not to say they never spend time creating drinks though. Every Wednesday they have a developers meeting where the staff discusses new flavor combinations or drinks they are working on. This provides an opportunity for the menu to always be changing. On the 5th of every month the drink menu is altered with new drinks being added and seasonal ones being taken off.

In keeping with the community, the building has been renovated by restoring the historical spirit of the building while also combining new vintage inspired changes. These renovations give the building a fun atmosphere, unique to anywhere else in the area. The original building was an automotive showroom with repairs in the back and most recently it was a pawn shop. You can see various marks on the walls and feel the history that this old building has seen. One of my favorite features is the large open windows that bathe the space in natural light and give you a view of the stadium district. I also love the huge white medallion that is on the ceiling above the bar. With the classy interior and fun employees, guests feel welcomed as soon as they enter the door. And with the delicious drinks the guests continue to enjoy their time throughout the entire visit. It is obvious American Fifth Spirts has a bright future, and is a place everyone must visit.

Aimee West

Aimee West

Is new to the craft beer scene but always willing and wanting to learn more.