By Lisa Waterman Gray
From the iconic Ryman Auditorium to the legendary Blue Bird Café, there’s no question that Nashville remains one of this country’s great music destinations. But this Southern city offers an amazing array of sweets—and beverage makers too. Scattered throughout Nashville, these are great spots for a group to sample authentic sake and handcrafted spirits plus premium chocolates and one-of-a-kind doughnuts.
The U.S. is having a love affair with craft distilling and Nashville is no exception. From sexy labels to enthusiastic tour guides and tasty cocktails, Corsair Distillery was the first craft distillery opened in Nashville since Prohibition. A local favorite, the business has received kudos for its handcrafted spirits from the likes of Saveur, Food & Wine and Imbibe. Newer entry to this market, Nashville Craft Distillery, features unusual offerings like Nashville Honey liqueur and Naked Biscuit – made with sorghum syrup.
Fermented sips and captivating coffee
For a different twist on spirits take your group to Diskin Cider–Nashville and middle Tennessee’s first and only cidery. Made from a custom blend of regionally grown fresh pressed apples, these gluten-free ciders “bridge the gap between wine and beer.” The company launched seven years ago and opened a beautiful barn-style tasting room in May 2018.
Sake crafted in the classic Japanese style can be found at Nashville’s Proper Sake Co., where owner Byron Stithem, combines his extensive background in the culinary worlds of Nashville, New York City, Kansas City and New Orleans with onsite brewing training in Japan. He serves customers amid sleek wood and metal décor, using Arkansas rice milled in Minnesota. Then sober up the group on Nashville’s Matchless Coffee Soda®, one popular offering at Barista Parlor. The coffee shop serves this locally roasted, carbonated and flash-chilled coffee with a touch of sweetness in a spacious, bright and airy retail space.
Colts Chocolates opened in 1984. Owner Mackenzie Colt began making premium chocolates after performing as a ‘Hee Haw Honey’ for six years. The company’s signature Colts Bolts are full of chocolate, peanut butter and whole roasted almonds. But Colt has expanded her business to include many different confections and desserts, such as chocolate covered Butter Grahams and Whiskey Caramel Brownies. Bean to bar is big, and your group will love confections from Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. Everything is hand-molded, whether you purchase a Cinnamon Chile bar, dark chocolate truffles, caramels or Bourbon Nib Brittle.
Moist and flavorful Sweet Potato or Red Velvet flavors are favorite flavors inside The Cupcake Collection. During 2008, owner and self-proclaimed “Director of Joy” Mignon Francois opened her company in what was then the sleepy north Nashville neighborhood. Today the area is bustling. Francois lists a menu on a blackboard by the front door and her orange chef’s coat matches the walls in this cozy antique building. Or try the impossibly flaky 100 Layer Doughnuts, available from Five Daughters Bakery and said to rival New York City’s wildly popular “cronuts.” They’re crafted by husband and wife team, Stephanie and Isaac Meek–a third generation baker.