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As a New Jersey native, I'm well aware that my state gets a reputation for being composed of mostly asphalt and rude drivers. Bad as my state's reputation may be, I can honestly say that it's not well-deserved. I truly love my state and wish more people would drop by!
My Garden State is an amazing place to visit, especially if you are a fan of drinking. As a fan of good wines, I can tell you that the best New Jersey wineries have actually gained international attention due to their excellent products. Plus, a lot of them are close to New Jersey's beautiful beaches, which don't get factored into opinions of the state nearly often enough. We have an entire coastline of beautiful sand and sea.
Many people in the alcohol scene have gone to vineyards and loved them, but aren't aware that New Jersey has a very active distillery scene too. If you want to enjoy cocktails with hard liquor from my neighbors, check out this epic list of great New Jersey distilleries.
Asbury Park Distilling — Asbury Park
I've only been to Asbury Park Distilling once since the place is always so packed. Asbury Park has become a gourmet hotspot for many different people, including fans of New Jersey distilleries. Asbury Park Distilling, in particular, has become popular among tourists thanks to their excellent views, tasty cocktails, and fantastic liquor. It's just a short walk away from the beach.
The menu of cocktails really shows off the team's skill at craft distilling and mixology. It's a must-see for anyone who considers themselves a serious gourmand, but the drinks also have unique flavor combinations that'll jump out to the casual distillery explorer too.
If you want to try one of the best diners in New Jersey while you're in the area, you can check out the Neptune City Diner, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Asbury Park and the beach.
Jersey Spirits Distillery — Fairfield
Jersey Spirits Distillery is one of the newer family-owned distilleries you can visit, not to mention one of the several New Jersey distilleries found in the town of Fairfield. This petite distillery offers up an awesome tour of the factory, interesting tidbits about making gin and bourbon, plus a great tasting bar.
Since they started their journey in distilling, the team behind Jersey Spirits has made a nice large array of different liquors. You will always find at least one bottle you'll enjoy and you'll love hanging out in their tasting room.
Claremont Distillery — Fairfield
Claremont Distillery is one of the Garden State's best-kept secrets. Located in a large corporate building, this upscale distillery makes award-winning vodka, moonshine, and bourbon. Who wouldn't want to try a little Flaming "Sinamon Jersey Devil Moonshine? The puns and folklore are waiting for you.
Having tried their vodka, I can tell you that their goods are incredibly smooth—almost creamy! Considering that Claremont was founded with a large amount of funding and a deep passion for distilling, I wasn't the least bit surprised to see how quality their goods are.
If you want to see the kind of booze that Wine Enthusiast names as elite, drop by Claremont.
Silk City Distillery — Clifton
Silk City is one of the newest New Jersey distilleries to hit the scene, but you'd never guess after sipping their goods. This distillery makes fine aged bourbons, whiskeys, rye, rum, gin, and vodkas—all of which are phenomenally good.
This company has awesome tours that tell you how each hard liquor is made, plus awesome tasting sessions. After all, what's a craft distillery without tours and tastings? They also have pretty fun events ranging from tiki tastings to blacklight parties, so you never have to worry about getting bored if you're a regular here.
While you're there, you could check out one of the strangest places in New Jersey, which just happens to be right in Clifton.
Little Water Distillery — Atlantic City
It'd be a shame if all the New Jersey distilleries on this list were far away from "traditional" Jersey vacation spots, right? Thanks to Little Water Distillery, you don't have to forgo your summer shore trip if you want to check out some of the finer makers of Jersey liquor.
Located in Atlantic City, right near the boardwalk, is a cute little distillery that packs a seriously powerful punch. The family-owned company offers great distillery tours, a comfortable tasting room, plus some of the best vodka you can drink in AC. After that, you can enjoy the Jersey Shore beach.
Milk Street Distillery — Branchville
Who doesn't like the warm, toasty feeling of going to a friend's house for a drink? If you head over to Branchville's own Milk Street Distillery, you're going to get that ambiance in spades.
This ultra-cozy distiller makes a wide range of different liquors, including a very unique Kanepki vodka made from rice and some amazing small batch bourbons. Everything is made in their 125-year-old building, and you can see it all up close.
If you're a fan of cocktails, you're in luck. This distillery's cocktail menu is amazing. Their tasting room is also fairly awesome and really gives you the feeling that you're kicking your feet up in someone's home.
Cape May Distillery — Cape May
Nestled on the Southern tip of the Jersey Shore is Cape May Distillery, often considered to be one of the most enjoyable New Jersey distilleries to visit. This beachy distillery company makes a really tasty coconut rum, as well as a number of other delicious goods like Prohibition Gin and Sandcastle Vodka.
Life is just beachy at this distillery, and it shows when you take a tour of the business. The best part here is the elegantly-decorating tasting room, complete with a menu of marvelous cocktails. They're a fantastic craft distillery.
Nauti Spirits — Cape May
Cape May definitely has a nice selection of New Jersey distilleries and bars that tourists can check out. If you want to make a day trip of trying out different distillers in the area, you might want to take a look at Nauti Spirits.
Each distillery has its own vibe, and if you love wide, open spaces with an oceanic twist, you'll adore Nauti. They offer up half-hour walking tours, great cocktails, and some seriously pretty views of a 60-acre preserved farm, right near the beach.
All Points West Distillery — Newark
Not to be outdone by smaller cities like Atlantic City or Fairfield, Newark has kicked up its own craft distillery right in the heart of the Ironbound. All Points West itself is new, but the truth is that it's helping revive a once-lost industry of Newark.
You see, Newark was once a major city for alcoholic beverage creation. The riots changed all that. All Points West views itself as a herald to bringing back the old industry of alcohol production to Newark once more.
This distillery makes artisan vodka, rum, and gin—and also has an incredible tasting room. Learn about Newark's history here, and you'll be amazed at what you'll see.
Jersey Shine Moonshine — Millville
Believe it or not, one of the best New Jersey distilleries can be found inside an airport! Jersey Shine is in Millville's Executive Airport, and yes, they offer tours and tastings to the public. Their liquor of choice is a line of flavored moonshines.
If you plan to drink moonshine here, make sure you get a designated driver. You will most likely need one!