One thing (of many) that you have to love about Florida is it’s full of surprises. One of them is that if you turn into the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area and drive about 20 minutes (5 miles) down a slightly bumpy but well-maintained road you will find the NJoy Spirits Distillery where you can take a tour, pick up some amazing spirits, grab a beer or sangria and maybe a bite to eat all while enjoying being outdoors.
There’s a small fee for the tour of the distillery but if you buy a bottle of alcohol it’s waved. Part of the tour is a tasting of the rum, whiskey, or moonshine and chances are you’ll want to bring a bottle home when you taste them. The moonshine is shockingly good, I bought a bottle and intend to drink it with a splash of Sprite and a slice of lime. It’s 150 proof, so it’s a good thing these spirits are made for sipping slowly and enjoying.
I’m also a big fan of both whiskey and rum so I was excited to take the tour and see how they were made. It turns out they have a pretty unique story, They start with rainwater collected on-site and end with aging the whiskey and rum for a few years in charred wood barrels (also on-site). They don’t need to add caramel or any other coloring, the product goes into charred wooden barrels clear and comes out with nice color and a slightly spiced flavor. I love the fact that everything is done on-site, they even grow their own sugar cane and rye grain. One hundred percent Florida grown and made!
Since you already drove all the way out to the distillery you may as well stop in their beer garden where you can purchase beer, wine, and sangria. You can enjoy your drink of choice while relaxing and taking advantage of the large grassy lawn and beautiful views. When I was there they were serving hot dogs, but there’s a rumor that a pizza oven may be in their future and I am all in for that.
NJoy Distillery is far enough out of the way that you aren’t going to stop in because you happened to drive by, but it is definitely worth adding to your list of great places to visit. For certain if you are going to visit the Chassahowitzka area make a point of stopping in and checking them out!