Two James is a booze heaven

Corktown distillery has tons of spirit(s)

Two James is a booze heaven
Two James’ Corktown distillery. | Photo by Nick Azzaro.

Two James Spirits

2445 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-964-4800; Open: 1 p.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 1 p.m.-midnight Thursday, 1 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, noon-1 a.m. Saturday, 1 p.m.-8 p.m. Sunday

When it first opened in September 2013, Two James was the first licensed distillery in Detroit since Prohibition. Since then, the company has managed to match its award-winning spirits with a bomb-ass tasting room that reflects both the brand aesthetic and the burgeoning craft spirits scene in Detroit.

Add to that their ability to whip up a potent potable that won't burn the back of your throat, and you've got the kind of winning combination that attracts people from even the farthest-flung regions of metro Detroit. Of course, locals love this place, too.

Stop into Two James on a Saturday night and the place is likely packed with all kinds of folks. We've spotted the kind of ladies who wear white jeans and wedges while sporting Michael Kors bags, as well as the sort of people whose entire wardrobe came from a resale store. Since it takes all kinds, we think this is really cool — and Two James seems to feel the same way. Hit this place for happy hour after work, and you'll cruise into a laidback bar where the bartenders are attentive, entertaining, and talented.

It's worth noting that Two James' craft spirits are the "highest quality, environmentally conscious handmade spirits utilizing locally sourced agricultural products with the aim of revitalizing the community and reinforcing the craft product movement." Also, their recently released Catcher's Rye whiskey is made with 100 percent Michigan-grown rye, and the company works with local farmers to ethically and knowledgeably attain the ingredients needed to produce the whiskey.

Andy Mohr, a partner at Two James, says the 98.8-proof liquor is made using ingredients sourced mostly from rye grain grown at Wing Farms in the Ann Arbor/Dexter area, while the remaining rye comes from a family hook-up on a Ludington farm. The company started distilling the 100 percent straight Michigan rye right around the time the tasting room first opened.

Just as importantly, the spirits created inside Two James' distillery are delicious. In addition to Catcher's Rye, Two James produces two more whiskey varieties, vodka, bourbon, gin, absinthe, and mezcal.

The rotating menu of cocktails their bartenders create are nothing short of mind-blowing.

Speaking of their cocktails and bartenders, that rotating list is concocted by those who man the bar, and they're always coming up with new, exciting drinks that match the season. For example, they'll be serving refreshing, fruity, and summery drinks during this seemingly never-ending heat wave, but come fall, the flavors will turn warm and toasty.

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