I love gin! Everyone who knows me, knows it is my booze of choice. A couple of years ago, I wrote about San Juan Island Distillery on Orcas Island which really tickled my fancy and really opened my eyes to the complexities of distilling. Since then, I have tried a variety of craft gins plus some very expensive imports which have made me appreciate the art of distilling even more.
So when Ryan came to visit recently, we decided to get back from the Seattle Airport via Vashon Island and the Seattle Distilling Company. What a treat that was.
Vashon Island is between the mainland (Seattle) and Bremerton (at the base of the Olympic Peninsula) with ferries to and from. In fact, you only pay when you go to the island as they know you have to leave! And because it is a short ride to an agricultural island, the ferries are small and the rides short. But in the all the time I have lived up here, I had never made that detour and it ended up being a wonderful day trip.
Ryan's flight from LAX arrived mid-morning, so we had plenty of time before the distillery opens at noon to drive around Vashon. Such pastoral settings and a lovely, old cemetery that we explored in the rain. The business center of the island has interesting small stores, well-preserved buildings, coffee shops and restaurants. I imagine in the summer it is a busy place. But the day we visited, it was raining so very few people were out and about.
The Seattle Distilling Company is situated just off the main drag, a bit north of The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie, which we saved for a different visit.
Here's my review on Tripadvisor:
[su_box title="Tripadvisor Review" box_color="#eddfcd" title_color="#090909"]Seattle Distilling is a tiny place producing a huge product. Or products!
A recent visit to the distillery, located on picturesque Vashon Island shows you don't need a huge space to create amazing spirits.
We arrived at opening time - 12pm - and were greeted by Paco Joyce, the VP and Master Distiller. The next hour was spent getting an education about the fine art of distilling; viewing and touching the steampunkish copper and steel stills, pipes and gauges; and really getting a feel for what goes into making a great bottle of whiskey, vodka or gin.
After the tour, we tasted the products - gin, vodka, strawberry-infused vodka, Idle Time whiskey and the Coffee Liqueur. My favorite, and my son's, as well, was the gin which is unlike any mass-produced gin you can buy at the liquor store. The flavors are carefully melded and include local lavender and juniper berries. The only ingredient that is not from the island, is the lemon peel that comes from, if I remember correctly, California.
Perhaps the most interesting fact to take away from the visit was understanding the symbiotic relationship between the distillery and the island community. As an example: The remaining mash left from the grain used for the base alcohol is fed to island livestock on nearby farms. The farms, in turn, provide some of the other ingredients needed, or the farmers apply their talents, like welding, to keep the stills and machinery running.
Although it is all local and very small, the Seattle Distilling Company is making a name for itself, winning Best of the Northwest from Evening Magazine, among other prestigious awards.
Well worth the visit.[/su_box]