An Abundance of New Local Liquors
Seattle distilleries are bringing the booze this new year—and branching out beyond their typical repertoire. Here's a sampling of what's in the works.
Sun Liquor Distillery
Having launched with vodka and gin, the always-experimenting Erik Chapman is steering his Capitol Hill stills into new territory. Out this week or next is an orange bitters—depends on when the label is approved—with an amaro arriving some time this spring; seven or eight batches are prepped, it's just a matter of choosing the right one. Also exciting: the late summer/early fall release of the rum Chapman has been barrel aging for more than a year now. "It's f-ing awesome."
Skip Tognetti is honeymooning in Southeast Asia, but upon his return he'll fire up the stills to put out vodka—a first, limited batch was produced prior to the holidays and has since sold out—and his signatue limoncello. Both will likely be available in February. Gin? "It will be released when I'm happy with it. Hoping for May."
Capitol Hill's other booze mill is partnering with the increasingly ubiquitous Deluxe Foods for the ginny Apple Parker (release date TBD) and the already ubiquitious Tom Douglas for a new label called Union. Production for the vodka and gin ("with notes of grapefruit") will begin in spring. A barrel-aged gin is also in the works—"If test batches are any indication, we are pretty excited," says Oola's Jeana Harrington—and look for the cask-strength version of Oola Waitsburg Bourbon Whiskey to make more of a splash later this winter.
After plans for a rhubarb liqueur didn't pan out, co-founders Mhairi Voelsgen and Erin Brophy put the $25,000 worth of ingredients toward an amaro. They recruited seven area bartenders to concoct seven different recipes, each of which ended up being bottled. Supplies for the resulting amari are limited and available at Washington State Liquor Store in West Seattle, among various bars and restaurants.
Steven Stone is working on an entirely new line of liqueurs called Depth. A Theo Chocolate cacao liqueur is up first in March. The following month comes a menthe liqueur of organic herbs: peppermint, ginger, sage, lemon balm. Looking even further afield, a just-barreled single malt whiskey is slated for early 2014.
This new enterprise footing the Harbor Steps was meant to debut in the fall. The latest reports put an opening in the first months of 2013 (fermentors were installed on December 29). When it bows, look for all-malt gin and whiskey coming out of copper stills.
He recently released vodka and moonshine, and now Nathan Kaiser is moving onto gin, brandy, and bourbon. That last one won't be ready for a while obviously, but the juniper juice and brandy, made with Washington-grown grapes, Kaiser expects within the quarter.