Spice as nice
PHOTO BY WILL SHILLING
Kelly Sauber didn’t have to travel far to find a unique local ingredient for his small-batch gin. His Dancing Tree Distillery, founded last year about 12 miles south of Athens, sits near plenty of spicebush, a shrub known in some parts as Appalachian allspice that produces rich, fragrant berries.
“As far as the spicebush itself, the flavor is fantastic,” says Sauber, who brewed beer for more than a decade before moving to artisanal liquor. “A lot of gins are over-the-top juniper, and we really wanted to make spicebush the lead flavor.”
Dancing Tree distills its latest creation from local grains, then flavors it with wild-harvested spicebush berries, rosehips and juniper berries, which are required in anything labeled gin. Columbus tipplers can grab a bottle ($36) from Weiland’s Gourmet Market, which also stocks a pair of vodkas from Dancing Tree.