Imbibe’s Spirits Program is designed to educate our customers about new and stimulating products. With Chattanooga's most competitive prices, we showcase unique and hard to find items, as well as the brands you know and love. We have weekly demonstrations to connect our clients with local bartenders and industry ambassadors who can teach you to make your favorite cocktails at home.
Jörg Rupf spearheaded an American craft distilling renaissance in 1982 with his establishment of St. George Spirits. A transplant from Germany, Jörg felt compelled by the passion for quality raw ingredients and flourishing food culture that he found on his visits to California. Originally focused on Eau de Vie like his family’s distillery in the Black Forest, St. George has expanding its offerings to become a cocktail enthusiast’s promise land. Recognized continuously as an Outstanding Wine Spirits Professional by the James Beard Foundation and bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Distilling Institute, Jörg’s work has shaped decades of craft distilling in the US and beyond. With a penchant for fresh materials and commitment to excellence, it’s no surprise that everything they touch turns to gold.
Subsequent to the Hangar One brand changing hands in 2010, St. George is back in the vodka game with three excellent offerings: All Purpose, Green Chile, and California Citrus. To make the Green Chile Vodka, a non-GMO base spirit joins crushed jalapeno peppers and lime peels in a Carter head assembly lined with cilantro. Serrano, habanero, red and yellow bell peppers are infused separately, then combined with the jalapeno / lime / cilantro distillate. Fresh, clean, and packing subtle heat, watch out for appearances in savory and inventive craft cocktails. Move over, bacon vodka -- there’s a new Bloody Mary sheriff in town.
Tracing their lineage back to the man credited for naming Tequila “Tequila”, Fortaleza remains steeped with history and tradition in a world swept away by modern innovation. The family’s great-great-grandfather Don Cenobio contributed Tequila’s namesake, exported the first “mezcal de tequila”, shaped the distinctive flavor profile by implementing the use of steam instead of earthen pits, and deemed blue agave to be the best agave for crafting fine Tequila.
His distillery was first established in 1873 in the town of Tequila within Jalisco, Mexico. The torch of distilling was passed down to his son Eladio, and then to Eladio’s son, Francisco Javier, who helped establish the Denomination of Origin for Tequila. Javier built another distillery, which he called La Fortaleza, at the highest point of town. He operated with two modest copper pot stills, a tahona pit, and a small brick oven until 1968 when the distillery was shut down and converted into a museum.
A few sons later, Destileria La Fortaleza has been revived and now produces small batches of traditionally made, seriously delightful Tequila. The Reposado achieves a distinctive balance of bright citrus, apple, and earth from the base spirit and a gentle spiced, caramel richness from its time in American Oak. Double distillation in copper pot stills ensures a rich, rounded texture and breadth of flavor lost on more efficient commercial stills. Whether eloquently enjoyed on its own or incorporated into a modern cocktail, any Tequila enthusiast will be charmed by the depth and complexity of flavor arising from this estate.
Expressive of terroir, tradition, and agave’s versatility, Mezcal is an agave distillate originating in Mexico and produced primarily around Oaxaca. Founded in 1995, Del Maguey comes in an iconic green bottle and is 100% certified organic. Artist and owner Ron Cooper partners with remote villages to bring authentic mezcals out of the small villages where they originate.
Vida is Del Maguey’s entry-level, sip-worthy and mix-worthy mezcal from San Luis -- versatile in craft cocktails in addition to crossing into Paloma and Margarita territory. Enjoy this spirit on its own with a wine-like focus and appreciation, for every expression and every village produces something unique, rich, and flavorful. Stay tuned for additional expressions of Del Maguey's Single Village Mezcal line at Imbibe.
The “gold” of Guyana, rums made of Demerara-based molasses have been a staple of spirit-production in that region since the British first introduced distilling in the 1650’s. Before long, nearly every sugar estate had an operating still for utilizing this valuable by-product of sugar production. Rum skyrocketed in popularity when the Royal Navy issued a daily rum ration for its thirsty crew before it later became a suitable drink for the British middle class.
With the passing of time, small distilleries in Guyana had continually been consolidated until finally being encompassed by Demerara Distillers Limited -- the parent company of El Dorado and the world-wide source of this distinctive style we call Demerara Rum. El Dorado makes a line of premium, age-statement rums that many sip neat or with a splash of water. The 15-year expression blends rums of different ages, the youngest being 15-years old. Imagine an IMAX-scale spectrum of flavors ranging from leather, fruit, nuts, dark coffee, treacle, tobacco, and oak-driven spice. Any bon vivant of the Bourbon or Cognac-sipping variety should adore this rum, for it is complex, excellent, wallet-friendly, and decadent.
Recipient of the Wray & Nephew trophy for "Best Rum in the World" at the International Wine & Spirits Challenge.