Smooth Ambler Spirits goes Hollywood

By Sarah Mansheim

Smooth Ambler has gone Hollywood – and they almost didn’t know it. Smooth Ambler Business Manager Randi Smith said she was browsing through her Facebook feed last weekend when she saw an article indicating that Smooth Ambler Greenbrier Gin was going to be served at the Golden Globe awards on Jan. 11.

The article, featured on the Website, was written by food blogger Elettra Wiedemann and said that she was going to serve a Moet Bijou Rouge Champagne cocktail pairing Moet Brue Imperial with Smooth Ambler gin at the ceremony.

“The Brut was more fruity and effervescent, so I decided to anchor it in something deep and fragrant,” Wiedemann said in her article, “What All The Stars Are Drinking At The Golden Globes.” Greenbrier Gin’s notes include citrus, black pepper and juniper.

Smith said she was shocked that Smooth Ambler’s gin was being used at the prestigious awards ceremony.

“My mind was blown, just to realize that Smooth Ambler is not that small business trying to get its feet off the ground anymore, but a global presence,” she said. “To see that our spirits were going to be in the hands of celebrities was very humbling.”

Smith said Smooth Ambler doesn’t use an outside marketing firm – it’s just the company’s employees and their smart phones that help generate online buzz. Of course, the awards don’t hurt. Smooth Ambler’s spirits have won an array of awards in prestigious competitions, not bad for a company that was started in 2009.

Nowadays, the Maxwelton distillery bottles about five days a week, and a typical bottling day can yield about 150 cases of booze. Each case holds six bottles of alcohol – that’s 900 bottles in a day – delivered across the country to 37 states.

Smith said Smooth Ambler has been expanding its headquarters in order to keep up with growing demand. They are in the finishing stages of expanding the main building, and new equipment is ready to be installed. They’ve just completed a new rick house and they’re getting ready to install a new still.

This fall, Smooth Ambler will debut its first house made, barrel aged bourbon. The as-yet unnamed bourbon has been in barrels since 2009, and if the success of their Yearling bourbon whiskey is any indication, they’ll have another winner on their hands.

Meanwhile, Smooth Ambler’s Old Scout bourbon is getting ready for its own close-up. Smith said that she just got word that the bartender for the Critics Choice awards will be using Old Scout in his signature cocktail, the iPic Red Carpet Bourbon Fizz, and Hollywood will be getting yet another taste of Appalachia’s best.

Moet Bijou Rouge

Courtesy of Elettra Wiedemann,
Serves 2-3 cocktails
2 oz. Smooth Ambler Greenbrier Gin
1/2 oz. Dry Curacao
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica)
2 dashes orange bitters
Brandied-cherry garnish (adding a touch of the brandied-cherry syrup)
Moet Brut Imperial
1. Combine the gin, Dry Curacao, vermouth and orange bitters in a cocktail shaker and mix well to combine.
2. Pour into a coupe glass (if you have one) and top with Moet Brut.
3. Top with brandied cherry, and add in a bit of sweet syrup.


Smooth Ambler’s Greenbrier Gin gets ready for its close-up, as the Maxwelton distillery gets ready to take on Hollywood.
Smooth Ambler’s Greenbrier Gin gets ready for its close-up, as the Maxwelton distillery gets ready to take on Hollywood.

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