Accompanying many of the country's best distilleries are tasting rooms, offering enthusiasts a chance to sample a distillery's wares on-site or close enough to it. Beyond the allure of the spirits themselves, many tasting rooms — like these 10 voted by USA TODAY 10Best readers as the best in the nation — set themselves apart with an especially knowledgeable staff, compelling atmosphere, live music, or an irresistible selection of food.
No. 10: Treaty Oak Distilling - Dripping Springs, Texas
A 28-acre Hill Country Texas ranch is the setting for Treaty Oak Distilling, making it the perfect venue for a visit. Their Mercantile tasting room is the site for their top-notch VIP Single Barrel Select tasting, where you sample from five Ghost Hill Texas bourbon barrels and then get to wax dip your own custom bottle of your favorite to take home. The ranch is also the setting for Alice's Restaurant, a Texas BBQ hot spot tucked into the 150-year-old live oak trees on the property, and where you can further sample experimental whiskeys and craft cocktails to go with your meats.
No. 9: Deviation Distilling - Denver, Colorado
Denver's Deviation Distilling occupies a private alley in Dairy Block, a vibrant micro-district in the city's LoDo neighborhood. What used to be an 1800s firehouse is now a lively patio, connected by two garage doors to an indoor bar area and intimate lounge. Hundreds of Deviation spirit bottles serve as decor, and here you can avail yourself of whiskey or gin flights, house cocktails and even enjoy their homemade truffles with your drinks.
No. 8: Traverse City Whiskey Co. - Traverse City, Michigan
Traverse City Whiskey Co. invites you to sample their handcrafted spirits and drinks at The Stillhouse, a laid-back speakeasy-style bar. Visitors can sample their beloved American Cherry Bourbon Whiskey that's made from local cherries, as well as their Lakeside Peach and Michigan Apple whiskeys that are both made with fruit from local orchards.
No. 7: Distillery 98 - Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Enjoy Florida beach chic at Distillery 98's tasting room, which has chandeliers made from local oyster shells. There's a deck and an outdoor patio if you want to be a beach bum, and then there are the excellent small-batch crafted spirits. Expert Carrie Honaker says, "This tasting room always has something going on from live local music to storytellers nights to cookoffs. The staff is extremely knowledgeable, and their cocktails all incorporate local honeys, herbs, and mixers made onsite. The tasting room is gorgeously appointed with lots of nods to their coastal roots."
No. 6: Whidbey Island Distillery - Langley, Washington
Whidbey Island in Washinton's Puget Sound is a great destination of its own, but a visit to Whidbey Island Distillery is all the more reason to come to the Pacific Northwest. This grain-to-bottle craft distillery welcomes guests with free tastings of their aromatic liqueurs, like blackberry bathed for 8 months in brandy made from Washington wines, or loganberry, made in small batches from local loganberries. Expert Carrie Honaker writes, "The building here is built into a hill, so it feels like heading down into a hobbit house. After getting over the super-cool atmosphere, all tastings are complimentary and the staff are extremely knowledgeable."
No. 5: Breckenridge Distillery - Breckenridge, Colorado
At 9,600 feet, Breckenridge Distillery is known as the highest distillery in the country, and their Main Street Tasting Room received a Highly Commended award from Icons of Whisky for Visitor Attraction of the Year in 2021. Here, in the elevated surroundings, you can enjoy complimentary sample tastings of any two of their foundational spirits, like Espresso Vodka or Spiced Rum, or you can opt for their private guided flight tastings (reservations required), which range from all vodka to cask-finished explorations, or even chocolate and spirits flights.
No. 4: Smugglers' Notch Distillery - Jeffersonville, Vermont
Vermont's Smugglers Notch has won endless awards for their unique vodkas, gins and more – and if you come to the state to taste them, you actually can do so in four different locations. They have tasting rooms in Burlington, Manchester, Waterbury, as well as the flagship distillery next to the Smugglers Notch mountain pass. Here you can sample their bourbon blended with local maple syrup or vodka accented with Moroccan rose and grapefruit. It's a perfect spot for some après ski!
No. 3: Big Cypress Distillery - Miami, Florida
Miami's Big Cypress is a distillery, tasting room and intimate speakeasy. There aren't a lot of seats here, so best make a reservation, but once inside head distiller Fernando Plata will set you up with some superb drinks. You can choose between barrel-aged cocktails, a gin and tonic bar, fresh cocktails on tap and sample Big Cypress' signature Hell's Bay Rum or Magic City Gin, Miami's finest.
No. 2: Six & Twenty Distillery - Greenville, South Carolina
Six & Twenty is Greenville's best spot to try a flight of homemade spirits, such as their wheat whiskey or the world's first five-grain bourbon. Their craft cocktails are diverse, unique and delicious, served with homemade bitters and garnishes, and you can order charcuterie platters or flatbread pizzas to go with your drinks. Throw in cocktail classes, grain-to-glass tours and photo ops next to their giant pot still, and you've got the perfect afternoon and evening.
No. 1: Sugarlands Distilling Company - Gatlinburg, Tennessee
A visit to Sugarlands should be at the top of your list. They do tours, have tastings of their unique craft moonshine and sipping creams, the bartenders are super conversant, and there's always a party atmosphere going on here. Tasting treats include eggnog or butter pecan sipping creams or moonshines in flavors like blueberry muffin and peanut butter and jelly!
This article originally appeared on 10Best.com: These 10 distillery tasting rooms voted best in nation for 2023