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Spirit Varietals: Staff Recommendations

Without question, Cool Springs Wines & Spirits offers the most extensive spirits selection in Middle Tennessee. From new releases to rare and coveted brands, CSWS stocks the highest-rated spirits with the best prices in town.


Bourbon Whiskey is an American Whiskey.  The Bourbon Whiskey name comes from an area that was once known as “Old Bourbon”, which is now Bourbon County, Kentucky.   Bourbon Whiskey, made of at least 51% corn and aged in new oak barrels, can be made anywhere in the United States, but is most commonly thought to be associated with production in Kentucky.

Staff Recommendations:

  • Woodford Reserve Straight Kentucky Bourbon
  • Knob Creek
  • Maker’s Mark


Cognac, a type of Brandy, must meet certain legal requirements to hold the Cognac name, including using a type of grape from the Cognac region on France, where the Cognac must also be produced.  All Brandy is produced by distilling wine – including Cognac (distilled twice), Armagnac (distilled once), and Eau de Vie (the unaged spirit). With age-grading systems, Cognac and Armagnac require a minimum of two years’ aging in oak barrels before being sold to the public.

Staff Recommendations:

  • Remy Martin
  • Maison Surrenne
  • Germain – Robin


Cordials, also known as Liqueurs, are sweet distilled spirits.  Commonly, Cordials are consumed after a meal and do not have high alcohol content.  Cordials are often infused with flavors, such as herbs, spices, fruits, creams and nuts.

Staff Recommendations:

  • Chambord
  • Grand Marnier
  • Whisper Creek Cream Liqueur


Gin, a clear spirit commonly flavored with juniper berries, gets its name from the Dutch word “Genever”, meaning juniper.  Gin was first produced during the 17th century in Holland for medicinal purposes.  Three types of Gin exist: Distilled, Compound and Dry.  Botanicals, like lavender and sage, are often used to flavor Gin, while many new distillers are using cucumber for its cooling effects.

Staff Recommendations:

  • Beefeater Gin
  • Tanqueray Gin
  • Bombay Sapphire


By law, Irish whiskey must be aged at least 3-years in barrels. Similar to Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey is traditionally distilled 3-times for extra smoothness (compared to the 2-times distilled Scotch Whisky) and made from barley, whereas American Bourbon Whiskey is made up of at least 51% corn.

Staff Recommendations:

  • Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Bushmills Irish Whiskey
  • Midleton Very Rare Irish Whiskey


After being produced from sugarcane byproducts (such as molasses) or directly from the cane-pressed juice, clear Rum is briefly aged before it’s bottled.  Dark and aged rums derive their additional flavors and color from oak barrel aging. Rum can be found in many different types, or grades, including dark, light, flavored and spiced.  Unlike many other spirits, Rum does not have specific production rules, and production methods vary by location. Currently, the majority of Rum is produced in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Staff Recommendations:

  • Cruzan Rum
  • Ron Zacapa
  • Flor de Cana


Scotch, also known as Scotch Whisky, is produced in Scotland and made from malt of grains. Aged in oak barrels for at least three years, Scotch is divided into five categories: single malt, single grain, blended malt, blended grain and blended.

Staff Recommendations:

  • Glenmorangie Single Malts
  • The Glenlivet Single Malts
  • Dewars Blended Scotch
  • The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 12 Years Single Malt Scotch Whisky


Tequila is made from the blue agave plant and its produced primarily in the city of Tequila. Tequila is officially recognized by the United States as being produced in Mexico. There are two main types of Tequila, mixtos and 100% agave. Mixtos must be made of at least 51% blue agave.

Staff Recommendations:

  • Don Julio
  • Patrón Silver
  • Milagro


Vodka originated in Eastern Europe, can be flavored and is very common in cocktails and mixed drinks.  Vodka, made from various cereal grains, grape must, potatoes or other organic compounds containing a starch or sugar base, must contain at least 30% alcohol if sold in the United States.   Today, 1 in 4 alcoholic drinks served in the United States is a Vodka drink.

Staff Recommendations:

  • Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  • Grey Goose
  • Svedka Vodka