The revival of the Detroit area seems to be bringing back industries that have been dormant for a long time, and we thought we’d drink to that.

Detroit has quite a history with alcohol. The rumor is that there was one bar for every 13 families in Detroit in 1834, and it’s true the distillation industry was once second only to the auto industry in Detroit. There’s a revival underway over the last few years in the city of this age-old practice.

The results are spectacular, and provide quite the night of entertainment. We hit the Uber button (always enjoy responsibly) on our phones and went all-in on drinking some of the best Metro Detroit has to offer.


1. Rusted Crow Distillery And Spirits

For ease of planning, first two places on the list are in the suburbs so we could make a handy loop back. This joint doesn’t have its bourbon or whiskey yet, but their gin, vodka and moonshine offerings are spot on.

The first thing that hit us when we entered was the attention to detail on the design of the place, and then we learned that it was founded by a College for Creative Studies grad and it all clicked together. They say that “Part of being a Michigan native is never forgetting where you’re from,” but the Moonshine sure is potent and a few of those and you’ll forget where you’re from, where you’re going, and your name.

But it sure is tasty.

If you’re a gin drinker, and Ginstache Gin is a solid choice. The Detroit Steam vodka is top-shelf. Be sure if you can wander to the back to check out the steampunk hot rod car by the garage door. It’s quite cool.

If you live on the west side of the region, this is definitely a place of choice and would impress a date. Remember, they’re open Thursday, Friday and Saturday only, so plan accordingly.

6056 North Telegraph, Dearborn Heights –


2. Valentine Distilling Co.

This downtown Ferndale establishment has quickly become an anchor. They’ve expanded beyond the days when they produced only in the same building as their tasting room; their brand has found massive success since their launch and were one of the early players on the scene locally.

Their tasting room is unmistakable and fun. It has their iconic 1940s style pinup girl painted on the wall. Although their flagship is vodka, their Liberator gin is amazing if you like gin. It’s one of the best, winning multiple awards. Their bartenders can make just about anything.

161 Vester, Ferndale –

The still at OurDetroit

3. Our/Detroit

This is now a burgeoning block in what just a couple years of ago was kind of a sleepy street, and a few years before that was the home to a liquor store. Our/Detroit when you roll up looks like something out of a magazine with its clean, white décor with giant windows. Although part of a larger partnership, the owners are local and the goos stuff is made right in the other room with mostly Michigan ingredients.

Our/Detroit is smooth and a bit fruity, and I first met it as part of a bloody mary a year ago. Although they do the fancy drinks, it’s great to do it simple – vodka tonic or vodka soda.

2545 Bagley Street, Detroit –

Absinthe at Two James in Corktown

4. Two James

This may be the most obvious stop on the tour. The place has a circular bar, a quality shared by very few Metro Detroit establishments. It is great for meeting people and having conversations. The tasting room at Two James on weekend nights is a hot ticket, and don’t be surprised that you’ll have to wait a few minutes as we did.

The signature play here is their 28 Island Vodka, but I’d also highly suggest their Johnny Smoking Gun and if it happens to be around their Absinthe Nain Rouge. Absinthe is an acquired taste (do you like black licorice?) but also their Old Cockney gin is great in a Corktown Mule. That’s a twist on the Moscow Mule, subbing in gin for the vodka. Also, they occasionally do deconstructed drinks.

2445 Michigan Avenue, Detroit –

detroit_city_distillery - 1

5. Detroit City Distillery

If you’re still going for stop five, our final stop, bravo! It’s totally worth it. We have spent a fair amount of pixels of Detroit City Distillery in the past, and for good reason.

It’s a craft cocktail bar without the pretension some feel craft cocktail bars can have. Their most recent addition is their rye; but their concoctions seems to always be changing and run that great line of simple in composition but can be complex in flavor.

This place in Eastern Market has a lot of charm and tons of knowledge in their bartenders. Beyond their new Homegrown Rye, try their Two-faced Bourbon made with organic corn from St. Clair County or their Railroad Gin.

2462 Riopelle St, Detroit –

After something like twelve hours of drinking, it’s time to end our tour. This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive. But it is what we could get done in one day. When it comes to highlighting places and going out, we don’t just Google stuff and then re-write it. We at Daily Detroit take pride in doing the thing ourselves before recommending it to you.

It’s great to see one of Detroit’s oldest industries seeing a bit of a resurgence, and we hope this guide helps you enjoy every drop, even if you just try one or two places on our journey. Cheers!

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