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Drinking Your Way Through Leelanau

By August 21, 2019Adventures

Every two years, my Dad’s side of the family rents a house for a week long family vacation in different states. This year, I had suggested Northern Michigan so we found a house called the White Birch Cottage on Lake Leelanau from August 4th through the 11th.

The lake view was quite pretty.

We soon discovered the house featured a shortcut path to town and we were right next door to a Distillery and a handful of wineries.

The Northern Latitudes Distillery was rustic and fun with a welcoming staff.Started by Mark and Mandy Moseler, the Northern Latitudes Distillery is best known for their signature Ice Dunes Vodka, made from 100% Michigan grains to a limoncello named Limoncello di Leelanau.

We enjoyed a group tasting late in the afternoon, prior to dinner.

My Dad has an iron stomach and will eat almost anything and everything. He also has a rather stoic poker face most of the time. We conned him into trying the Horseradish Vodka. This picture captures Garrin cheering and laughing after my Dad jolts back when trying the vodka. My Dad’s expression in this photo is priceless. My Dad really did drink the vodka like a champ–twice!

The equipment was quite impressive and interesting to admire.

After our tastings, we decided to order full drinks and hang out. I tried the Cherry Moonshine Margarita. It is quite tasty and let me tell you–moonshine is quite strong! Thankfully the Distillery offered free pretzels to curb the munchies and aid with our empty stomachs.

You can purchase the artisan spirits to bring home. The spirits are not available any where else in the state. There is also a fun gift shop to browse.

The following afternoon, my brother, sister-in-law, Garrin and I decided to check out the local wineries post hiking. We enjoyed all the options downtown Leelanau offers and there are additional wineries located on the Leelanau Peninsula to visit with a future trip.

I am excited to share our experience at Soul Squeeze as the story behind this winery is my favorite.

We met the owner’s mother and she told us the history.

Her son, Luke and his wife Faye, dreamed of a life up north and quit their corporate jobs much to her dismay. “My son turned in his suit and tie in as an attorney to a uniform of overalls working a vineyard.” Faye left her accounting work and went to school for wine making and soon planted their first varietals. You could hear the apprehension at her son’s decision as she recounted the story and I loved how Luke and Faye Pickelman found success and their Mom works at the winery now in support.

We tried the three hard ciders offered and learned how the names are after Luke & Faye’s children, Bip, Bot and Boo. Nicknames, just in case you are wondering. My favorite was Boo, a cherry infused hard cider.

Soul Squeeze is especially known for their Riesling and have won several awards.

The winery farms fruit on both Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsula It is so nice to see a dream come true and the heart and soul of this winery in action.

Soon we headed home for dinner and a fire.The house had a nice view especially at sunset.

More northern Mitten family adventures to come…..

Liz Ball

About Liz Ball

Liz Ball is a freelance writer focusing on Michigan travel and local events in her community.