Spend Locally: Red Cedar Spirits

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Emily Joan Elliott for ELi

Red Cedar Spirits is serving up warm drinks on its patio and to-go.

If your ideal holiday is an old fashioned Christmas, then East Lansing’s Red Cedar Spirits has your holly, your jolly, and all the spirits on the menu. Puns intended. 

Red Cedar is one of Michigan’s oldest and largest distilleries, featuring artisan spirits and craft cocktails. The on-site production of vodka, gin, whiskey, bourbon, and brandy makes this much more than your average college-town bar.

Popular drink menu items include the Basil and the Manhattan.

“Our Manhattans differ from the classic Manhattan, and the Basil is self-explanatory when you drink it,” assistant manager Langston Whitaker said. “The Spiced Pear and Maple Cinnamon Whiskey Sour cocktails we offer to-go have been extremely popular during the pandemic.”

Whitaker said one of the “best kept secret” menu items is a craft cocktail created by one of Red Cedar’s bartenders, called the Oak Berry Buzz.

“It’s a bold choice, but you won’t be disappointed. It’s only offered in-house when our patio is open.”

Currently, the patio is open for seating (weather permitting), and individual drinks are available to-go as well as offered in a larger serving size. For $20, you get a 16 oz. bottle, which includes 3-4 servings. To-go cocktails options include Basil, Cherry Blossom, Cranberry Clove Punch, Flamango, Ginger Gimlet, Key Lime Dream, Lavender Bee’s Knees, Michigan Coffee, and Potion.

For Whitaker, it’s the regular customers that have kept coming into the bar that’ve been a nice reminder of support in the midst of the pandemic. He also enjoys the teachable moments on the job.

“The thing that made me interested in working in this distillery was … there was/is a wealth of knowledge to learn while working here,” Whitaker said. “So much science I didn’t think I’d ever want to learn – right in front of me happening everyday.”

Cocktails can be ordered to-go or in bottles to-go by calling ahead, or just stopping by. Gift cards and gift boxes are also for sale. Red Cedar Spirits is open Tuesday-Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m., and is closed on Mondays.

Make sure ELi can provide this support for your local community in 2021.

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