Your quest is simple. Create a new cocktail, or refashion a classic, using your favorite “hometown hooch” (and we can expand the definition of “hooch” to include spirits, liqueurs, aperitifs and beer).
For those of you who’ve followed us for a while, you know that this is a far from a simple request for us. We are fortunate to have many, and we do mean many local distillers, bitters makers, tonic makers, brewers, you name it here in Washington State. And heaven help us if we include Oregon and British Columbia. 😉 How can we choose just one?
The reality is that we can’t. If you’ve followed our Washington Gin series you know we’ve tried over 20 local gins that we love for specific uses. Plus we’ve added several more and probably should do at least a sixth(!) post for the series. Not only that, you’ve probably noticed that we frequently call out local spirits, bitters, and liqueurs that we really like for a particular drink. We would say that our favorite really depends on the moment and the drink. So with that in mind, we decided to make one old cocktail and one new one, then list some of our favorite producers and why we’re fans of them. That way, we are at least participating in the spirit of the challenge even if we are cheating a bit :).
First up is the Wedgewood Cooler, which isn’t technically a new cocktail for us. We created it to showcase some of our local Old Tom gins. However, we recently acquired some barrel aged gin from Copperworks distillery. The trick here is that the barrels were used for aging whiskey and then Bradley’s tonic. It makes for a really lovely gin that works fantastically well in the Wedgewood cooler.
- 1/2 lime
- 1 large sprig mint
- 1 oz Copperworks barrel aged gin
- 1 oz yellow Chartreuse
- 1-2 oz club soda to taste
Muddle lime and mint in a glass. Add gin and Chartreuse. Add a few ice cubes, top with club soda. Enjoy!
- Nose: Mint, lime, honey, lemon verbena, quinine.
- Palate: Lime, bitter herbal, honey and mint on the front, along with some acidity and mineral notes from the soda. The mid-palate is really interesting, with earthy notes, a little bit of orris root, and a quinine bite. Perfume-y orris root continues into the finish along with lime peel notes. Finish dries out and ends slightly bitter.
If you don’t have tonic barrel-aged gin, try using Old Tom or even regular gin and adding a bar spoon of tonic syrup.
Next up, we wanted to showcase Westland distilling. They make several varieties of incredibly nice whiskey, the latest of which is their sherry wood bottling.
- 2 oz Westland Sherry Wood whiskey
- 3/4 oz raspberry liqueur from Whidbey Island Distilling
- 2 dashes chocolate bitters from Scrappy’s Bitters
- several drops of Peychaud’s bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass. Garnish with a brandied Washington cherry. Cheers!
- Nose: Brownies, raspberry jam, oak, malt.
- Palate: Sweet raspberry jam and malt to start, with a really rich mouth feel. Maltiness expands on the mid-palate along with rich chocolate and resiny notes from the sherry wood. Finish is slightly bitter with bramble and a tiny hint of anise.
So following are some of our local favorites, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. We are spoiled for choice of quality ingredient here. If someone isn’t listed, it doesn’t mean they aren’t good, it more likely means we’re forgetful 😉
- Gin, lots of gin. We have a plethora to choose from. Seriously, check out some of the great gins we have here in Washington.
- Sound Spirits. They make a lovely gin as well as some fantastic chocolate and mint liqueurs. We’re also very fond of their aquavit which has dill notes vs. the more typical caraway.
- 3 Howls. They are making some interesting rums and whiskeys that we’re quite fond of, plus a navy-strength gin that will put hair, well, somewhere.
- Westland. We’re very happy to have a local producer that’s not only barreling whiskey properly, but also doing interesting iterations on their very solid base product.
- Pacific. Both their gin and absinthe are our go-to’s.
- Skip Rock. We’re quite fond of the Nocino as well as their recent rum additions. We can’t get enough of the Belle Rose rum especially, it is rich and creamy and amazing.
- San Juan Island Distillery. We love their gins. They’re very different, with unusual botanicals and lots of floral notes.
- Ellensburg Distillery. The Amethyst gin is one of our favorites, lots of lavender but still balanced. We also want them to to make more pisco, their El Chalan is outstanding (or was, anyway). It’s truly excellent but sadly most people don’t seem to know what it is.
- Bellewood Distillery. Their apple-based gin and apple eau du vie are both delicious and make good use of the base apple flavor.
- Letterpress Distilling. We really like the limoncello.
- Scrappy’s Bitters. Is there any more we can say about Scrappy’s? They make great bitters in a wide variety of flavors.
- Bradley’s Tonic. Yummy tonic syrup with a great bitter-sweet balance.
That’s just scratching the surface for us, and we’re not even touching on brewers and cider-makers. Check out the (out of date) Washington Distillers list to get an idea of what we’re up against. 😉
Thank you Stuart for hosting! It’s made us greatly appreciate all of the amazing local producers we have here in Washington state. Once we add Oregon and British Columbia, we have a gracious plenty indeed. We are truly fortunate to be living here.