Roundup: Local Liquor for Gifting

Nicholas Dekker, Columbus Alive contributor

There's a permanent spot on my annual Christmas list for any bourbon or whiskey, preferably from Middle West Spirits or Watershed Distillery. Spirits make perfect gifts because you can give something unusual or something the receiver might not buy on his or her own. Also, they're perfect for sharing. Consider giving these five Ohio liquors this season.

Middle West Spirits OYO Pumpernickel Rye Whiskey (90 proof, $45)

Amidst a major expansion of their facilities, Middle West added to their OYO line of vodkas and whiskeys. The newest addition is OYO Pumpernickel Rye Whiskey. It's a small-batch single varietal of straight pumpernickel rye. The rye balances notes of vanilla and caramel with a good bit of cinnamon and spice. Bonus gifts: The distillery also released the second editions of Oloroso sherry cask-aged whiskey and bourbon-barreled maple

Watershed Distillery bottled Old Fashioned (70 proof, $35)

Watershed's newest offering is a pre-mixed bottled Old Fashioned. It blends their bourbon withorange and aromatic bitters, raw sugar and Ohio cherry juice. Each bottle, says the distillery, makes eight full-sized Old Fashioneds. The point is that you can simply decant it over ice and you're good to go. Bonus gift: Watershed released Nocino black walnut liqueur again this

Tessora Liqueur Crema al Limon (45 proof, $35)

Tessora makes limoncello liqueurs in New Albany, with the Crema al Limon as the line's signature. The liqueur is made from extracted lemon oils and simple syrup, and it's intended to be stored in and served straight from the freezer. One testimonial on Tessora's website describes it as a "lemon sandwich Girl Scout cookie in liquid form."

Mill Street Distillery bourbon (90 proof, $38.50)

Based in Utica, Mill Street Distillery has made a name for itself crafting sherry, grappa and moonshine and this year got into the bourbon game. The two-year-old distillery has been barrel-aging the spirit since production began, and it just came on the market this summer. You can pick up bottles from the distillery's Utica storefront or at most liquor stores in

New Straitsville Moonshine (90 proof, $27.50)

We're expanding our definition of local to include southeast Ohio. With recent changes to federal laws, two moonshine distilleries have sprung up in New Straitsville and Logan. The region has a long history of moonshining, so the rebirth of "Straitsville Special," once a coveted moonshine distributed by Al Capone, makes for a perfect gift for any fan of alcohol and history. Pick it up at the distillery itself or in liquor stores around

Nicholas Dekker writes about breakfast, beer, coffee and Columbus at He authored the breakfast guidebook "Breakfast With Nick: Columbus" and leads breakfast and brunch tours for Columbus Food Adventures.