At Chattanooga's Gate 11 Distillery, craft cocktails are made with award-winning craft spirits

Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Various drinks sit in front of house-made infusions at Gate 11 Distillery.

Order a Jack & Coke on a night on the town, and the bartender knows to reach for Jack Daniel's whiskey and Coca-Cola. Not so at Chattanooga's Gate 11 Distillery - at least not exactly.

When Tennessee changed laws governing alcohol sales in 2018 to allow distilleries to begin selling cocktails, Gate 11 owners Wanda and William "Bill" Lee saw an opportunity to blend their passions for making craft spirits with making craft cocktails. The law comes with limitations, however, as it mandates that a bar that sells its own house-crafted spirits can only sell its own house-crafted spirits.

For the Lees, who were among the first in the state to open a distillery/bar, the move comes with some challenges, of course, but it also comes with a good many opportunities - not only from a business standpoint, but from a creative one as well.