There are many ways of finishing bourbon after it has reached maturity. Some distilleries will take their bourbon and place it in a wine cask to impart some of the fruity sweet notes of the wine, like we did with our first installment, the Marquette Cask Bourbon. Finishing a bourbon has become a more common practice in the distilling world in recent years, and our Special Finish Amaro Cask Bourbon is just one example of how this technique can be used to enhance a bourbon.


To get started on the process, we will start with our high proof spirit and start soaking an array of botanicals in it (chicory bark, wormwood, and orris root to name a few). We will let these soak for a day before adding fresh orange peel to the mix. That will soak for couple of days before the botanicals are pulled out and the coffee from Madcap Coffee is added in. We will take this and place it in a used oak barrel. We allow this to age for 3-4 months to impart the flavors of the Amaro Pazzo to the barrel. We will remove this and then refill this barrel with another hand selected Straight Bourbon barrel. This refilled barrel is allowed to age another 8 months and 19 days before it was emptied, bottled, and passed to you as our Amaro Cask Bourbon.


The Amaro Cask Bourbon is a unique take on a barrel finish. At the end of the day though, we just really wanted to stick some coffee in a bourbon as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Local partnership brings popular modern-classic cocktail to new, convenient heights.

Long Road Distillers and Madcap Coffee Company, both headquartered in Grand Rapids, have again collaborated to develop a product that marries what they do best – spirits and coffee. The Long Road Nitro Espresso Martini, a ready-to-drink canned cocktail, is now popping up on retail store shelves and in bar coolers around the state of Michigan. The new release features Long Road Vodka, Madcap Coffee, and Amaro Pazzo.

Long Road Distillers and Madcap Coffee previously partnered to create Amaro Pazzo, a traditional Italian-style bittersweet liqueur that features Madcap’s Eureka coffee blend as a primary ingredient. It is available in bottled form throughout Michigan, including at Long Road tasting rooms in Grand Rapids and Grand Haven.

The owners of Long Road consider the Nitro Espresso Martini to be another step in the evolution of a modern-classic cocktail that dates back to the 1980’s and is experiencing a renaissance in popularity. Famed British bartender Dick Bradsell is credited with creating the first iteration of the vodka-espresso combo when he was asked by a patron to make them a cocktail to “wake me up and [get me buzzed].” The combination of vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur and sugar has been riffed on behind bars ever since.

“Who doesn’t love a well-made espresso martini as a pick-me-up while out on the town?” asked Jon O’Connor, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road Distillers “But it takes a lot of effort to enjoy one when away from the bar, without an espresso machine and all the ingredients on hand,” he continued. “We’ve done all the legwork for you – creating a perfectly balanced drink, adding a dose of nitrogen for an iconic frothy head and creamy finish, all in the convenience of a can.”

The Long Road Nitro Espresso Martini is an extension of a cocktail named At Last the distillery has been running on their menus since opening Less Traveled, a cocktail bar in the East Hills Neighborhood of Grand Rapids. It was an immediate hit and continues to be one of the best-selling cocktails on the menu at all locations month after month.

To make the ready-to-drink version of the cocktail as authentic as possible, it is canned at 13% alcohol by volume, nearly the maximum for a canned cocktail in Michigan. With the introduction of caffeine and higher alcohol content, the distillery decided to package the drink in 6.8oz cans rather than the traditional 12oz format.

The Long Road Nitro Espresso Martini, as well as Long Road’s entire portfolio of ready-to-drink cocktails and bottled spirits, is being distributed throughout Michigan by Imperial Beverage. Bars, restaurants, and retailers interested in carrying Long Road products should contact their Imperial Beverage account manager for more information. Want to find a 4-pack near you? Visit for a regularly updated list of outlets for Long Road spirits.


About Long Road Distillers:

Long Road Distillers was born from the belief that making world-class spirits means never taking shortcuts along the way. After becoming the first craft distillery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Long Road Distillers formed relationships with local farmers to bring that mission to Grand Rapids’ West Side neighborhood. Each spirit produced at Long Road Distillers is milled from locally sourced ingredients, fermented, and distilled on-site. The result is an uncompromised lineup of spirits including Vodka, Gin, Whisky and more. Their spirits, along with a handcrafted collection of cocktails and a wide variety of food can be enjoyed at their Grand Rapids and Grand Haven Tasting Rooms, and visitors can now enjoy signature craft cocktails at Less Traveled, a cocktail bar by Long Road in East Hills. For more information, visit or find Long Road Distillers on Facebook or Instagram @longroadgr.

About Madcap Coffee:

Founded in 2008, Madcap Coffee Company is headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI. They operate their own roastery, as well as several cafes in Michigan. Their founder, Trevor Corlett, is an award-winning, nationally recognized barista and trainer. They have been spotlighted by national media and in competition for their coffees, roasting profiles, and innovative drink recipes. For more information, visit or direct inquiries to

Imagine savoring the rich vanilla, toffee and caramelized pecan notes of Long Roads’ bourbon while being enveloped in the zesty embrace of bright citrus notes and well balanced herbal tones that are found in our Orange Liqueur. This delightful fusion of flavors is exactly what you’ll experience with Long Road Distillers Orange Liqueur Cask Finished Bourbon, which has been released in limited quantities today. 

**A Necessity Turned Innovation**

Long Road Distillers’ makes all of our spirits from start to finish. It is not negotiable, it is who we are. We utilize Michigan agriculture as the base of our spirits, and finish with high quality ingredients from around the world. We source ingredients, not spirits. This commitment to the Long Road is not only true for our spirits but also our cocktail bars. Everything that goes into our cocktails begins with a spirit made in our distillery or in our dedicated cocktail kitchen. It became clear early on, to excel in making exceptional cocktails, we would need a world class orange liqueur. Starting with a red winter wheat distillate, our distillers then used two different varieties of orange peel and a blend of complimentary herbs to achieve a bright citrus, slightly herbaceous and pleasing dryness to our offered orange liqueur. 

**The Cask-Finished Bourbon**

But the innovation didn’t stop there.  Once we aged and emptied our Straight (meaning aged a minimum of 2 years in first use white American oak barrels) Bourbon barrels, we then seasoned them with our Orange Liqueur. Finally we put the bourbon back in the same barrel to soak up the bright citrus notes of orange liqueur, to offer the finished bourbon a distinct, yet subtle nod to our orange liqueur. Just to recap. 

As you sip this bourbon, you’ll be captivated by its rich, nuanced tones. Make no mistake, this spirit sips like a well-balanced bourbon, but with the addition of a distinct finish .As you exhale, and are hit with a wave of fresh orange zest that lingers on your palate, for just the right amount of time. It is like your favorite party guest, who stays for one more joke, but knows when to go home. 

**Limited Edition Rarity**

Long Road Distillers Orange Liqueur Cask Finished Bourbon is a special release that promises to elevate your bourbon-drinking experience through the bright notes of our Orange Liqueur. It is our honor to release only 20 cases of this finished Bourbon, and we hope you enjoy each sip of it as much as we enjoyed making it, and drinking it. 

Month 2: Absinthe Cask Finished Bourbon Whisky

In the heart of New Orleans, where the vibrant rhythms of jazz fill the air and the aroma of Creole cuisine tantalizes the senses, there exists a spirit of celebration unlike any other. It’s a city where tradition and innovation intersect, where the past is honored and the future embraced. And at the center of it all lies Mardi Gras, a festival of revelry and indulgence that captures the essence of the Big Easy’s soul.

For Long Road Distillers, known for our commitment to tradition, curiosity and excellence, Mardi Gras serves as a fitting backdrop for our latest release: Absinthe Finished Bourbon. This bold and innovative spirit, infused with the seductiveness of absinthe and the richness of bourbon, embodies the spirit of celebration and tradition that defines Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

The journey of Long Road’s Absinthe Finished Bourbon begins in the distillery’s home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where local corn, wheat, rye and barley is distilled and aged for 2 years, 1 month and 5 days to become Long Road Bourbon, developing a depth and complexity of toffee, vanilla and sweet corn that serve as the perfect canvas for the finish of absinthe.

But what sets Long Road’s Absinthe Finished Bourbon apart is its finishing touch. This batch of bourbon is transferred to oak barrels that have been seasoned with absinthe, where it undergoes a 7 month transformation, absorbing the essence of Long Road’s Grand Absinthe and acquiring new layers of flavor and character. The result is a Bourbon that captivates the palate, with notes of anise, wormwood and caraway traveling alongside the rich, toffee and vanilla flavors of Long Road’s bourbon. Bottled at 46.5%ABV or 93 proof, this Bourbon offers the unapologetically bold flavors balanced with nuance and delicacy that defines Long Road spirits.

Whether sipped neat, mixed into classic cocktails like the Sazerac, or savored alongside traditional Mardi Gras fare, Long Road’s Absinthe Finished Bourbon adds a touch of magic to any celebration. It’s a spirit that embodies the spirit of Mardi Gras – vibrant, eclectic, and unapologetically bold.

As the sun sets over the French Quarter and the sounds of Mardi Gras fade into the night, one thing remains certain: the spirit of celebration lives on in every bottle of Long Road Absinthe Finished Bourbon. So here’s to Mardi Gras and to the timeless tradition of raising a glass in celebration of life’s rich tapestry.

Month One: Marquette Cask Finished Bourbon Whisky


We’re excited to introduce Long Road Distillers’ 12-month special finish bourbon series. Each month of 2024, we’ll be releasing a unique cask finish bourbon whisky. We’ll pair each release with an in-depth look at how these spirits have been produced right here on our website, written by someone on our team. 

This first release in the series is the Marquette Cask Bourbon Whisky, something we’ve been working on for years. This Straight Bourbon has undergone a carefully controlled aging process: initially matured for two years, three months, and eighteen days in charred and toasted new American oak barrels, followed by a secondary maturation for one year, two months, and seven days in ex-Marquette red wine casks, sourced locally from a Michigan winery. This dual-phase aging method enhances the bourbon’s complexity and introduces nuanced flavors.

Central to this bourbon is its mash bill, comprising locally sourced Michigan corn, red winter wheat, rye, and malted barley. This selection of grains not only highlights Long Road Distillers’ dedication to regional agriculture but also plays a critical role in defining the bourbon’s flavor profile and chemical composition.

On the palate, this bourbon presents an intriguing array of flavors. It starts with a fruity, bright, and juicy profile, a result of the esters and congeners developed during fermentation and initial aging. The finish is notably dry, a characteristic influenced by the tannins and other compounds imparted by the red wine casks.

At 93 proof (46.5% ABV), this bourbon offers a robust yet balanced bite, indicative of its careful distillation and aging processes.

This series is more than a collection of unique bourbons; for us, it’s a monthly study in the variables of bourbon production and aging. Each release will demonstrate a different aspect of Long Road Distillers’ curiosity in spirit creation, with casks previously used to age products as varied as honey to our Grand Absinthe. Join us as we explore the impact of these variables on flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel.

Stay tuned for our next release: Grand Absinthe Cask Finished Bourbon, where we’ll continue to enjoy the spirit aging and special finishing. In the meantime, we invite you to experience the complexity and craftsmanship of Long Road Distillers’ first release in this exceptional series: Marquette Cask Finished Bourbon, now available at our tasting rooms and select Michigan retailers.

Take a Look At What Happens When You Take the Long Road

When we first began operation, Long Road was the first legal distillery in Beer City, USA. While there were countless talented brewers showing off their facilities to the masses, there wasn’t anywhere that the public could witness just how much work, passion and commitment went into making a bottle of quality craft spirits. We knew then that we wanted people to be able to see how the process works when a distillery combines quality ingredients, exceptional talent, and limitless passion to create craft spirits worthy of admiration. 

If you walk into our tasting room at 537 Leonard St NW, you’d be greeted not only with the warm and welcoming atmosphere of the dining room, but also with a floor to ceiling view through the glass into our distillery. There’s no grand curtain to be pulled back at Long Road, what you see is what there is. For the last almost 9 years of operation, we have maximized the efficiency of our space, utilizing our six fermentation tanks and two stills seven days a week to officially reach our maximum output. 

It’s really easy to tell our guests what we’re about. We can try to explain our vision and tell them what makes us stand out from the rest, or, even better in our eyes, we can show them. We strongly believe that understanding is the key to all. For us, that looks like gathering people in the distillery and showing them how we go from local, Michigan agriculture to award winning bottled spirits. Our grain to glass approach means we have a hand in every step of the process, and we have almost complete control of the flavor, quality and feel of our spirits compared to others.

To say that we value experience would be an understatement. At Long Road, we’re doers. We like to get our hands dirty and get the tactile understanding that comes with being involved in the distillation process, even when that isn’t our primary role. You could call it our love language. The excitement of showing someone the things that we are so proud of and passionate about, seeing our guests ask questions and learn about craft spirits, but most importantly, forging a relationship with our community, and providing an opportunity to learn about an industry that has made its home right alongside the breweries in Grand Rapids. 

To share our passion, we are offering free distillery tours with the purchase of a $50 Long Road gift card thru 12/31. You can plan a date, invite a loved one, or give it as a gift to your favorite spirit aficionado. We want to share what makes Long Road different, and we would love for you to be a part of the journey. You can purchase your gift card using the link below! 

The time of year has come again. Stores are flush with red and green and gold, Christmas music is playing in the background as you shop, and peppermint, gingerbread and nutmeg have taken over the seasonal flavors of all your favorite snacks. The holidays are here. A time for twinkling lights and warm sweaters and joy. 


Three years ago, we had a vision to make the holiday season a little more special at Long Road. After some brainstorming, we decided the best way to bring in the holiday cheer was to craft a Pop-Up menu featuring fun, festive cocktails perfect for spreading the “spirit” of the season. Fast forward, today we’re continuing our tradition and bringing back our pop-up menu with some familiar hits and a few new faces as well. 


Our most eye-catching cocktail this year? The Final Snowdown, featuring grape-infused Avani Vodka, vermouth, lime, white cranberry and orange bitters. Add in some iridescent shimmer, and we have a swirling, snowy cocktail served in a snow globe for you and your friends to enjoy! The mastermind behind every snow globe being served at any of our locations is our Less Traveled Bar Manager, Hayley Bogner. From conception to assembly, Hayley’s efforts into bringing this magic to life were a labor of love. 


With every menu we release, we try to balance honoring the classics and pushing the envelope, and our holiday pop-up menu is no different. A Charlie Brown-inspired flip-style cocktail, a Santa dressed for summer and many more to blend holiday flavors with Long Road spirits. 


If you make the journey to spend some time with us, revisit one of your favorites from Christmas Past, like Santa’s Toolbox (rum, coconut milk, nutmeg, milk, cinnamon), Silent Night (straight bourbon, ginger beer, pomegranate balsamic, basil, brown sugar), or The Gingerbread Old Fashioned (gingerbread-infused bourbon, gingerbread syrup, holiday bitters, candied ginger).


Then, dive into something new, like The Nutcracker Prince (roasted chestnut-infused bourbon, nocino, red amaro, sweet vermouth, aromatic bitters) or Shovel Time (toasted-coconut rum, grand absinthe, pineapple, demerara, pineapple bitters).

Click the links to jump to: Grand Rapids Pop-up Menu; Grand Haven Pop-up Menu; Less Traveled Holiday Features.

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Long Road Distillers, known for their internationally awarded distilled spirits and trendsetting cocktail program, will launch their third annual Happy Holidays Cocktail Pop-Up Menu on Tuesday, November 28. From now through New Year’s, visitors to a Long Road location can expect festive flavors, glistening décor and lots of sugar and spice.

“We’ve had so much fun turning this pop-up menu into a tradition that guests and staff alike get excited for every year”, said Owner Jon O’Connor, “We put together a fun and lighthearted menu that our staff have challenged themselves to create, ensuring they will delight and stun the crowd.”

This year’s festive and whimsical menu features 15 spirited holiday drinks, including several favorites from last year, and three seasonal shots, all to help get you into the holiday spirit. The pop-up menu will be available at the distillery’s West Grand Rapids location as well as their Grand Haven bar and restaurant. A handful of featured drinks will also be available at Less Traveled, the distillery’s Cherry Street cocktail bar. A few examples of cocktails visitors can expect to enjoy:

  • St. Nick’s Vacation ~ Original Rum, Red Amaro, falernum, spiced pineapple cordial, lime and aromatic bitters
  • Snow Machine ~ Nocino, Madcap Coffee cold brew, demerara, almond milk and grated nutmeg
  • The Final Snowdown ~ Grape Avani Vodka, bianco vermouth, lime, white cranberry and orange bitters (serves 4)
  • Figgy Stardust ~ Fig-aged Rum, Pear Brandy, Nocino, lemon, orange, grapefruit, spiced honey butter and a shimmering glitter

“You really can’t beat gathering the people you love and sharing a well-crafted cocktail,” said Jenney Grant, Long Road’s Director of Operations & Education. “We have curated both a menu and a space that will help you get into the spirit of the season.”

Long Road’s Happy Holidays Cocktail Pop-Up will be available beginning Tuesday, November 28 at Long Road Grand Rapids, Grand Haven and Less Traveled. It will run through January 6 at all locations.

One of our founding principles at Long Road is that we take no shortcuts, and for us, that starts with the ingredients. 

We take pride in sourcing Michigan grown ingredients and turning them into spirits worthy of admiration. If you know anything about the history of Nocino, you know that the harvesting of ingredients and the care that goes into it is a part of the “magic” of the spirit. 

Nocino is not only an Italian tradition, it is also the stuff of legends. The green walnut liqueur is said to be ancient, consumed by both the ancient Romans and Celtic tribes. 

The preparation of Nocino is linked to witches and the nighttime, giving it an air of mystery and magic. On June 24th, witches would congregate, barefoot, to collect the unripe walnuts intended to craft their Nocino. The liqueur, heralded for its ability to bring wealth, well-being and health, was to be prepared by expert women who gathered them with their bare hands so as to not disperse the magic of the walnuts before making the liqueur.

Today, its use as a digestif and recreational spirit make it a flavorful addition to anyone’s spirit collection. Our Nocino was conceived of with an ancient Italian recipe in mind. According to our Head Distiller, Jordon Muschiana, whose Italian heritage lends itself perfectly to crafting Long Road’s own Nocino recipe, many modern Italian liqueurs and amari are derivatives of recipes that date back hundreds of years. 

Our foundation at Long Road is heavily focused on showcasing the variety of ingredients we can source from Michigan’s diverse agricultural landscape. This makes using the Michigan native black walnut trees, standing tall in nearby Tallmadge Township and Byron Center, an easy choice for us to combine with our base spirit. 

The initial trial batches were made with varying amounts of clove, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg as the main ingredients. 

“The base neutral spirit with its heavy body and light vanilla notes plays along readily with baking spices,” Jordon said. “We tried a variety of other botanicals in an attempt to put a unique  spin on the classic Nocino before we eventually landed on using the main four baking spice ingredients with very specific soaking regimens that give you the Long Road Nocino that we enjoy today.” 

Check out a few Nocino-based cocktails that you can enjoy at home this holiday season! 

Sour Italian

Ingredients needed: Long Road Straight Rye Whisky, Long Road Nocino, lemon juice, simple syrup.

Tools needed: Jigger, shaker, strainer, cocktail glass.

  1. Add 1.5 oz Rye Whisky to shaker.
  2. Add 1 oz Long Road Nocino.
  3. Add 3/4 oz lemon juice.
  4. Add 1/4 oz simple syrup.
  5. Add ice and shake vigorously.
  6. Strain into cocktail glass.
  7. Garnish with lemon peel.
  8. Enjoy!

The Novena

Ingredients needed: Long Road Aquavit, Long Road Nocino, sweet vermouth


  1. 1 oz Long Road Aquavit
  2. 1 oz Long Road Nocino
  3. 1 oz sweet vermouth

Pour all three ingredients into a rocks glass. Add ice and stir to chill. Garnish with orange peel twist and enjoy!

Nocino Negroni

Ingredients needed: Long Road Nocino, Long Road Gin, Long Road Red Amaro.

Tools needed: Mixing glass, bar spoon, jigger, strainer, glass.

  1. Add 1 oz Long Road Nocino to mixing glass.
  2. Add 1 oz Long Road Gin.
  3. Add 1 oz Long Road Red Amaro.
  4. Add ice and stir evenly.
  5. Strain into glass over large ice cube.
  6. Garnish with lemon twist.
  7. Enjoy!

A Note from Long Road: Recently, we launched a Guest Blog series, “Behind the Bar with Long Road”, to take you on a journey behind the bar with our talented team and to give you a glimpse into the creative process behind innovative and enticing cocktails that feature our spirits. Be sure to check out our earlier posts by Jenney Grant, Joey Robles-Zepeda, Carley from Cocktails with Carley, Connor Everhart and Rob Hanks of Nightwatch Lounge. This week’s post comes to us from another talented Long Road bartender, Hayley Bogner. You can find Hayley mixing it up behind the bar at the distillery on Leonard Street and at Less Traveled on the East side of town. 

Behind the Bar with Long Road: A Brother’s Favorite Order Inspires Hayley
by Hayley Bogner, Bartender, Long Road Distillers & Less Traveled 

Oooh, sweet summertime. Out of all the places I’ve been, nothing compares to warm, sunny days in West Michigan. Fresh Lake Michigan water, bare feet in the sand, burgers on the grill, backyard bonfires, the lake breeze blowing through your hair, friends with boats-you just can’t beat it.

The warmer weather has me reminiscing on all the summer memories I’ve made throughout my life here in the mitten. 

One of my all time favorite childhood memories would have to be trips to the local ice cream shop with my siblings. The excitement that lit up our eyes and our sun-kissed, rosy cheeks was always enough to make my mom give in and load us up into the car-even if it would be the third ice cream run of the week.

We would all carefully examine the menu posted up next to the ordering window, changing our minds a thousand times before finally making a decision.

My little brother, on the other hand, always knew exactly what he wanted well before we arrived-a chocolate banana malt. Time after time, his order never changed. Soon enough, his order, tried-and-true, became my frequent order, too. 

Fast forward to our adult years, this milkshake is still my brother’s go-to ice cream order, and a core memory of warm summer days with loved ones. When I think of summertime in Western Michigan, a banana malt is one of the very first things to cross my mind.

So obviously, with my ever growing passion for contemporary cocktail creation, I needed to reimagine and recreate this summer treat. Maintaining that nostalgic, bold, rich banana flavor profile-without the sugar and dairy overload-is just enough to satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you longing for another.

After lots of contemplation, trial and error, and a slight obsession to create the perfect representation of my brother’s favorite indulgence, my vision became reality. That’s when “Oh Brother” was born.

Oh Brother Recipe

  • 2oz Roasted Banana Bourbon
  • .75oz Banana Almond Milk
  • .5oz Malted Barley Syrup
  • 2 dashes Vanilla Cacao Nib Tincture

Build all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and double strain into a rocks glass over a single large ice cube (or a king cube as the LR fam calls it).

For the garnish, sprinkle sugar atop a frozen skewered banana slice and torch the sugar until it’s golden brown and brûléed to perfection.

Close your eyes, take a sip, and imagine a summer filled with all the chocolate banana malts you could possibly dream of.


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