11th Annual ‘Snohomish on the Rocks’ Showcases 30+ PNW Distillers

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Last call gets, later and later… – Midland

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Snohomish on the Rocks event this past weekend as a quasi-member of the media. The annual event featured over 30 distillers from around the Pacific Northwest and was filled with booze aficionados during the 11th Annual, one-day event.

Sponsored by GroWashington the beautiful Thomas Family Farm in Snohomish County provided the perfect backdrop for area craft distilleries to promote their product.

Some of the highlights were:

Kuma Turmeric Root Liqueur – Not only is this named after our English lab, I think the idea of doing a turmeric root liqueur is genius.  I make limoncello at home so the process is not as complicated as you might think but taking turmeric, everyone’s new favorite anti-inflammatory, and having grain alcohol pull all of the goodness (and bright orange color) out, is cool to look at and even better to taste.  You can find it at Total Wine’s throughout Washington.

San Juan Cigar Co. –  According to the young man hand-finishing the cigars, complete with cutting tool and pizza wheel to trim perfect tobacco leaves, he is the only one in the state of Washington doing cigars. I had a great chat with him and super impressed with the commitment to the import of great tobacco, the knowledge, and the variety of cigars he had to offer. Want a “local” cigar? Check them out.

Westland Distillery (Seattle) – Westland Distillery is located off of First Ave in the SODO area of Seattle and I tried both the American Oak (their flagship and Award-Winning) as well as their Peat Week American Single Malt Whiskey.  The Peat Week was rich, intense, and a nice blend of chocolate, licorice, and ash while the American Single Malt had a flavor profile of lemon, jasmine and cream.  You should certainly visit their tasting room or you can buy their whiskeys at many fine retailers up and down the west coast.

Mortal Gin from Cultus Bay Distillery (Whidbey Island) – The “booth” was nondescript but it was full of happy people which is always a good sign. A little old woman with a HUGE personality and a smile that lit up the family barn was chatting up everyone about her gin, grappas and other spirits.  Very few folks in the PNW are making grappa and even less doing eau de vie (eau de vie is essentially distilled wine and the stop between wine and brandy). Surprise hit of the event.

Valley Shine Distillery (Mt. Vernon) – Cool guy in trucker cap serving up delicious vodkas and liqueurs. LOVED the limoncello but their Ascension Vodka was definitely on point. I personally don’t “taste” vodkas all that often as it usually gets relegated to the “alcohol delivery vehicle” conversation for me but this was nice and smooth.

The event was loaded with talent. You may know that to get a distiller’s license in Washington state, one of the requirements is that at least 51% of the ingredients come from our very own state. This list might include, grain, barley, rye, malt, hops, and so many other of the great things we can grow in our bountiful state.

Overall Takeaway

The truth is, I am a whiskey drinker primarily but this whiskey guy was super impressed with the amazing gin and liqueurs from around our state. Do what you can to search them out, find them, and add them to your home liquor cabinet.

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