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I keep pinching myself and/or waking up in the night with minor panic attacks about the craziness of what we’re doing.  But, it’s really real, and it’s really going well so far.  Joel and I have started a real life, operational micro-distillery!  And as of this week, for the first time, our spirits are available for sale in Minnesota.  Ahhhhh!  Is that not kind of the coolest thing ever?  I don’t usually feel very cool, but this makes me feel extremely cool.  As does wearing my Vikre Distillery sweatshirt and being all like, “yeah, I’m one of the Vikre’s.”

The spirits we have available now are a line of three gins – inspired by Minnesota’s Northwoods – called Boreal Gins.  There’s Boreal Juniper, a traditional dry gin that’s also floral and citrusy with rhubarb we grew in our backyard; Boreal Spruce is super piney and herbal with foraged spruce buds, rosemary, and lavender – it seems to be a favorite with Hendricks lovers; and Boreal Cedar is our most nontraditional gin, infused with black currants, grapefruit peel, and toasted cedar wood in addition to traditional gin botanicals.  I came up with the blends myself, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that people like them!

boreal gins staggered barnboard blog

It has been a long  journey  and a lot of hard work getting here.  If you feel like reading more about us and Vikre Distillery, you can check out the distillery blog posts.  And, if you’re in Minnesota, go buy some and try some!!!!!  It’s really good (in my totally unbiased opinion), and you won’t regret it!  Here is a list of the places (and more are being added every day) carrying our gin.

And with that, I have to get back to work, but I won’t leave you without a recipe for a tasty gin cocktail.  This is inspired by a recipe Molly Wizenberg shared in her craft cocktails column that’s a spin on a margarita, a rather long spin.  And I spun it even farther, including replacing the tequila with gin.  It has sweet-tart grapefruit juice complemented by the winey, citrusy notes of Lillet all underpinned by the juniper, berry, and cedar notes of our Cedar gin.  If you can’t get your hands on our gin, I think it would be pretty tasty with an Old Tom gin like the one from Ransom, as well.  I decided to call it Stopping by Woods after the poem by Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Stopping by Woods
Serves: 1
  • 1½ oz. Boreal Cedar Gin (or old tom gin)
  • 1 oz. grapefruit juice
  • ¾ oz. Lillet blanc
  • 1 tsp. honey (you can omit the honey if your grapefruit juice is on the sweet side)
  1. Stir all the ingredients together until well combined. Serve over ice.


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30 Responses to That time we started a distillery (plus a cocktail recipe)

  1. Jenny says:

    Love!! Congrats, Em!! Stopping by Woods sounds divine. Wish I could go to my local store and pick up some of your spirits…but someday!!! XO

  2. It really is the coolest thing ever! Congrats!!

  3. LaReesa says:

    I just drove by the distillery on Tuesday! You guys are so cool and I can’t wait to try the gin!

  4. jack and cindy seiler says:

    Mazel tov! We are excited and can’t wait to try out the new Gin!
    Rock on!
    Jack and Cindy

  5. Ashley says:

    Congrats! You should totally feel cool in your distillery sweatshirt. I’d be rocking it too. The three blends sound amazing and I’d love to try some – hopefully you get to Ohio soon!

  6. Wow! Congrats!!! All the best in your new adventure! 🙂

  7. Hannah says:

    Congratulations!! I wish we could buy your gin here in Washington as I’d love to try it. This cocktail sounds marvelous. Wishing you well in your new venture!

    • Emily says:

      Thanks Hannah! I wish you could too, but you guys have lots of great micro-distilleries there too, so that’s good!

  8. Rajat Kochar says:

    It really great post.

  9. Sophie says:

    This cocktail sounds just wonderful! We are gin-lovers in this house (Ransom Old Tom — one of our faves!) and I SO wish we could get our hands on a bottle of Vikre! I hope eventually we will be able to. That Cedar sounds absolutely wonderful. I am so so impressed. How exciting for you guys, congratulations!

    (Recently as I began cooking more with red and green Sichuan peppercorns, I noticed how floral and juniper-y they smelled, plus that fun tongue-tingling from the green peppercorns. My husband soaked some of both types in some Gordon’s and made us Sichuan gin martinis — lovely!)

    • Emily says:

      Thanks so much Sophie! Definitely going to have give a Sichuan gin martini a try one of these days. That sounds amazing.

  10. Kathryn says:

    Congratulations! What an incredible achievement!

  11. Lindsay C says:

    congratulations! The packaging is beautiful. I love the crisp clean details.

  12. Gerlinde says:

    Congratulation! Everything looks great. Good luck and prost.

  13. milena says:

    Hi Em, Congratulations!!! Enjoy this a bit after all of your hard work! We can’t wait to come back and buy your amazing spirits!

  14. Imen says:

    Holy crap I need some cedar gin in my life!!!!! When I am in the Twin Cities this summer, I will DEF be on the hunt for Vikre! Sounds amazing and beautiful packaging too. Best of success Emily and co! xx

    • Emily says:

      You do need cedar gin in your life! 🙂 When you’re in the Twin Cities this summer you should take a little side trip up to Duluth and visit us at the distillery! Of course, if you can’t, picking up a bottle in one of the liquor stores in the cities is a pretty good alternative option.

  15. melinaphotos says:

    How extraordinarily cool!!! I am so happy for you both for taking the courageous leap. And hopefully I can try your amazing spirits soon. I’m a cocktail-maven and I have lots of fun with esoteric ingredients. Cannot WAIT to sample – and promote! – yours. 😉 Cheers to continuing success!

    • Emily says:

      Thanks Melina! I hope you get a chance to try it! We need some cocktail mavens giving us more cocktail ideas because I’m a total cocktail dilettante. 🙂 You can actually buy our gin online from South Lyndale Liquors (go to and type Vikre into their search bar). They don’t ship to all states, but you may be able to get it! Cheers!

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