Classic spirits that typically come to mind are vodka, whiskey, rum, gin and tequila but, while these spirits are great, switching it up every once in awhile is good for the palate and the mind. There’s no better time to experiment with various alcoholic beverages than these cold, winter months that are fast upon us. These five unique spirits are sure to wow guests and hosts alike at the upcoming holiday parties we all have marked on our calendars. Stand out from the crowd with craft-distilled spirits made in the Pacific Northwest.
Aquavitus | Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery | Vernon, BC
The family-owned British Columbia distillery uses 100 percent locally sourced fruits and grains to make their in-house, premium spirits. Crafting with history in mind, the distillery puts a unique twist on the already unique spirits, such as its Aquavitus, the house aquavit infused with various aromatic spices and herbs. Included in distillation is dominant caraway and dill with hints of anise, fennel, coriander and juniper, giving the spirit a distinct flavor with colorful tasting notes. Pair this aquavit with smoked salmon or a mouthwatering beef pot roast.
BETE | Sidetrack Distillery | Kent, WA
Located on the banks of the Green River, Sidetrack keeps “farm-to-bottle” in mind when crafting their artisan beverages, with many of its base ingredients coming from the riverside farm. The BETE, one of their most highly praised specialty spirits, is distilled from beets straight out of the earth’s soil. This clear spirit takes craft distilling to the next level using a quirky root vegetable to produce the easygoing beverage. Enjoy as a solo sipper or replace the vodka in a Bloody Mary to enhance the tomato and garden vegetable flavors. Garnish with pickled vegetables and a splash of beet juice to top it off.
Pacifique Absinthe Verte | Pacific Distillery | Seattle
Located in the heart of Woodinville, Washington, Pacific Distillery is a family-owned and-operated company that crafts each spirit with care. Shortly after absinthe became legalized in the United States, owner and head distiller Marc Bernhard started the distillery in hopes of making classic absinthe that has stood the test of time. The distillery’s absinthe is handcrafted in the historic Franco-Swiss tradition, using botanicals and fine grains for a recreation historic absinthe one would drink in the 19th century. The Pacifique stands perfectly on its own, but can also complement various cocktails and mix harmoniously with spirits.
Smoke Tea Liqueur | Thomas & Sons Distillery | Portland
Thomas & Sons Distillery — also known as “The Distilled Spirits Project from Townshend’s Tea Company” — crafts each spirit from scratch, in-house with integrity in mind. As part of Portland’s Distillery Row, the company has made quite a name for themselves in such a short time frame. The craft tea liqueurs are infused with various blends and flavor profiles that you can’t find anywhere else. The Smoke Tea Liqueur features vanilla bean, South African rooibos and Pacific Northwest blackberry honey throughout the distillation process for a sweet and silky spirit. Called “campfire in a bottle” for a reason, this sipper will liven any cocktail with an extra, outdoor touch. Add a dash of this to a Manhattan and you’ll have the classic cocktail lovers in awe.
Baijiu | Vinn Distillery | Portland
Using methods passed down from generations, Vinn Distillery honors its ancestors by keeping family traditions intact and secret recipes kept. Using non-GMO, rice-based products, the distillery offers four spirits ranging from infused-liqueurs to rice-distilled whiskey. Their Baijiu, pronounced “bye-joe,” is considered the national drink of China — the English translation is “white liquor.” Baijiu is typically served at room temperature or warmed in a ceramic flask and poured into a small glass. The tasting notes are often compared to sake due to its origin. Baijiu is a diverse alcohol that can be enjoyed hundreds of different ways.