Who Boeing aerospace engineer Steven Stone runs the distillery in his off-work hours with the help of an assistant and somehow finds time for a full-court PR onslaught: Sound Spirits gets less press than Dry Fly, but only slightly less. What and Where The vodka and gin—marketed under the name Ebb and Flow—are currently available at the Interbay tasting room (you’ll know you’re there when you see the painted octopus tentacles flopping around on the street-facing wall) and in state liquor stores. Future plans include aquavit, creme de menthe, whiskey, and, most ambitiously of all, a Benedictine-style liquor. But back to that vodka for a second: Craft bartenders are well known for their bias against vodka, but even they say Stone’s version (made from mash of barley, as opposed to wheat) has a distinctly pleasing flavor and a silky mouthfeel. When The tasting room welcomes visitors Monday through Thursday from noon to 8; Friday noon to 7, Saturdays noon to 6, and Sunday noon to 5.
Sound Spirits, 1630 15th Ave W, Interbay, 206-651-5166; drinksoundspirits.com
Who Beer brewer turned gin crafter and all-around busy guy Erik Chapman (he manages both Sun Liquor bars) distills. Fellow busy guy Michael Klebeck, who founded the bars and runs Top Pot Doughnuts with his brother Mark, designed the brand’s distinctively rimmed bottle with the Bakelite cap. Chapman, who happens to be one of Seattle’s most studied cocktailians, tweaked his recipe by testing it in hundreds of classic and modern cocktail concoctions to help him create a versatile mixing gin. The result: a very good go-to bottle for the home bartender. What and Where Chapman worked on Sun Liquor’s flagship spirit, the round-bodied Hedge Trimmer gin ($30), for a full year before settling on a final formula in October. It is now for sale at the Pike Street distillery and in state liquor stores. Chapman says that Sun will roll out small-batch seasonal gins, eau de violette, and several more as-yet-undisclosed products in months to come. When At press time, Sun Liquor was planning to start serving samples of Hedge Trimmer at the distillery but had yet to work out logistics. Chapman said the gin will be available in Washington’s state liquor stores and at select emporiums in Oregon and California.
Sun Liquor Distillery, 514 E Pike St, Capitol Hill, 206-720-1600; sunliquor.com
Who Whidbey Island Distillery is as homegrown as they come: The Heising family runs the distillery on a nine-acre property in Langley. Tech geek Steve developed the unique low-temperature distillation process (his still is the first to operate legally on the island) while his wife Beverly tackles operations and marketing. Son Jim, meanwhile, takes care of the graphics, website, and label design. What and Where The Heisings are currently making loganberry liqueur at the distillery, available through state liquor stores. Next up: vodka and whiskey. When Tastings are currently available by appointment only, and a public tasting room is on the agenda for summer 2012.
Whidbey Island Distillery, 3466 Craw Rd, Langley, 360-321-4715; whidbeydistillery.com
Who Sue Watts runs the show solo at her Aberdeen distillery, one of the few places in the country (Watts estimates there are four or five others) where you’ll find vodka made from honey—a complicated process that begins by making mead, or honey wine. Mead’s slow fermentation process means Wishkah vodka takes two more weeks to make than grain-based vodkas. What and Where In addition to the honey, Watts makes a grain-based vodka and she’ll soon be serving her white (unaged) whiskey. A barrel-rested version will be ready several years down the line. When Tasting room hours are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from noon to 6.
Wishkah River Distillery, 2210 Port Industrial Rd, Aberdeen, 360-589-1829; wishkahriver.com
Who As indicated by the name, the plan at Woodinville Whiskey, a partnership between best buds Orlin Sorensen and Brett Carlile, was always barrel-aged whiskey. Bourbon, to be precise. They developed the recipe with the aid of former Maker’s Mark distiller Dave Pickerell. Meantime, however, they needed something to sell. Thus were born WW’s white-dog (or unaged) whiskey Headlong ($35) and its Peabody Jones vodka ($30). What and Where Alongside the clear spirits on offer, Woodinville Whiskey sells age-your-own whiskey kits: a mini barrel and a bottle of white dog—the perfect holiday gift for the hooch hobbyist in your life. When The tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 with tours at 4 each day.
16110 Woodinville Redmond Rd NE Ste 3, Woodinville, 425-486-1199; woodinvillewhiskeyco.com