The Bishop’s Wife at Madison on Park

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Madison on Park is the ultimate combination of sophistication and charm. Nestled on the quaint main drag of University Heights, this baby blue gem of a restaurant & bar offers a truly exceptional bar program complimented by an inspired food menu. Upon entering, you’re transported by the chic indoor/outdoor space, complete with high vaulted ceilings and colorful geometric shapes. This funky yet minimalistic spot is a must for date night or a quick cocktail with friends.

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Bar Manager Danny Kuehner runs the ship, turning out everything from perfected classics to one-of-a-kind creations. For those looking for a romantic sip, The Bishop’s Wife is a perfect pink cocktail that’s bound to hit even the non-gin drinker’s spot. It’s no surprise that the Wife is our favorite, as it perfectly compliments You & Yours Distilling Co.‘s Sunday Gin with cranberries, Genepy and lemon. Served in a crystal-inspired coupe and garnished with a pop of fresh cranberries, it’s both eye catching and delicious. 

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As for their cuisine, Madison’s food is as beautifully presented as it is flavorful — make sure to order the Tuna Tartare if you’re looking for a fresh starter, and the Pork Chop won’t disappoint as a main. The watermelon stack & roasted cauliflower gratin are amazing additions to the table as well! 

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All photos by Lindsey.

Two Ingredient Lacroix Cocktails

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Now that we’re all done with Whole30 and “reintroducing” booze back into our lives (jk, I did NOT do Whole30 HAH), here a few waayyy better-for-you cocktail ideas. But in all seriousness, whether it’s for health purposes or because I’m just plain lazy, I love me a good two ingredient cocktail! Just combine your favorite spirit and an accompanying flavor of fizzy sparkling water and you’re good.to.go. If you want to be an over-achiever (you all know who you are) you can add a squeeze of citrus, a dash of bitters and/or a simple garnish of some sort.

The formula is the same across the board… 2 oz of booze + 2-3 oz. of Lacroix to taste. Stir gently over good ice cubes in a collins or highball glass and enjoy!

1. Vodka & Cran-Raspberry Lacroix // optional add-ons: lime wheel + fresh cranberries

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2. Sloe Gin & Berry Lacroix // optional add-ons: plum bitters + wedge of lime

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3. Tequila & Grapefruit Lacroix // optional add-ons: grapefruit twist

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What are your favorite spirits to pair with Lacroix? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or DM me on Insta (@LauraKayJ).

2018 Travel Plans & Bucket List

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For the first time in a few years, we’ve got quite a bit of travel lined up for 2018! The last few years have been all go-go-go, keeping our heads down, with opening You & Yours and all, but now that we’re rocking and rolling and have an epic team in place, we’re incredibly excited to hop back into our travels. Both for work and play. Here’s what we have coming up!

February – A Bachelorette trip to Cabo, then leaving for New Zealand a day later (pray for me). Luke is from NZ and we haven’t been able to make it back in a couple of years. We finally made the snap decision to pop down for a week to celebrate his father’s 65th birthday and hang out with friends and I couldn’t be more excited!

March – TWO Weddings… one in Kauai, HI and one in Jacksonville, FL.

April – A quick work trip to Cleveland (squeezing in a Cavs game!) then Miami for another bachelorette party!

May – Tel Aviv! This will be my very first Forbes 30 Under 30 global summit and I am so stoked! I’ve always wanted to check out Tel Aviv so I’m trying to swing this trip any way I can! Haven’t quite firmed up plans yet but will keep you posted. Also, my Mom’s request for her birthday this year is a trip to Santa Barbara later in the month. It’s one of Luke & I’s favorite places to visit to so we were more than happy to acquiesce.

June – Back to Cabo for another wedding!

July – December… No set-in-stone plans as of yet for the latter half of the year, but planning on heading to the UK at some point for a mixed business/pleasure jaunt. Also hoping to pop back down to the Bahamas for a little wedding planning reconnaissance!

Other trips we’re hoping to squeeze in…

  • Dying to get back to the South – Nashville, Charleston, etc., even if just for a long weekend.
  • Still need to check Montana off my list!
  • At least an SF trip or two. Two of my dearest friends now live there, which is a great excuse for a work trip too. And vice versa! Ha!

Where are you traveling to this year?! Have you been to any of the places we have planned? If so, PLEASE leave a comment or drop me an email – LKJ@Distillerista.com – Would love your recs!

Valentine’s Day 2018 Gift Guide

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I’m admittedly not much of a Valentine’s Day fan… I struggle to think of anything less appealing than braving crowds for an over-priced prix fixe menu just to celebrate a somewhat meaningless holiday. Ever since we’ve been together, Luke and I opt instead for a quiet meal and great bottle of wine at home, which is pretty much my ideal date night. However, what I AM a fan of is any excuse for a romantic little gift exchange! Hopefully this gift guide inspires you to treat someone this Valentines Day, fancy dinner reservations or not.

1. Art of The Bar Cart, a gorgeous new coffee table book, photographed by one of my favorite cocktail bloggers.

2. I FLIPPED out when I saw that Hangar 1 released this Rosé Vodka. My bottle just arrived and I can assure you it tastes as gorgeous as it looks, which is really saying something!

3. A GOLD SWAN PUNCH BOWL! Just ordered two for the distillery, but one mayyyyy end up sneaking home with me ;).

4. A teeeeeensy bit of a departure from our usual distilling/cocktail content, but I’ve been LIVING in this FP Bra and you totally need one too.

5. A Distillery Tour, duh. No matter where you live, just search your city and “distillery tour” and I guarantee you’ve got a craft distillery nearby. And if you live in San Diego, come on down to You & Yours!

6. This sweet Cherry Blossom Matcha Set is perfect for your matcha-obsessed bestie.

7. Use Bloody Shiraz Gin (actually a liqueur!) in place of Sweet Vermouth in a Negroni or mix with Berry Lacroix for a fun, low ABV spritz.

8. A chic Rose Gold & Leather Bar Cart – at a great price point, no less – would be the perfect companion gift to idea #1.

9. Heart Shaped Ice Molds are a sweet gift for your co-worker or whiskey enthusiast s/o.

10. Love these Blush Pink Rocks Glasses …or a better yet, grab a set of vintage glasses from local San Diego retailer Collins & Coupe.

11. And last but definitely not least, tickets for two to a Cocktail Making Class! Enjoy expertly made craft cocktails while learning how to whip them up at home yourself on those cozy date nights in.

Greens Gone Wild

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This time last year I created three healthier cocktail recipes for those trying to go a little dryer in January, each based on a different fresh pressed juice. (Check them out here, here and here!) This year I’m doubling down by partnering with local San Diego juice company, Suja, on not only a healthy cocktail recipe, but a fun event too!

Come on down to the tasting room this Sunday, January 21st, for our event: GIN & JUICE. You’ll get to try this cocktail AND learn how to make it at home! The event is free to attend and runs from 12 noon ’til 2 pm with the healthy cocktail-making demo kicking off at 1 pm. Plus free snacks and Suja juices! RSVP here and preview the recipe below. See you Sunday!

Greens Gone Wild. Created by Tom Burnett.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Sunday Gin
  • .5 oz fresh lime juice
  • .5  oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and water, combined gently over low heat)
  • 1 oz Suja Uber Greens
  • 2 dashes Serrano bitters
  • Pinch sea salt

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds. Double strain into a footed rocks glass and garnish with a slice of cucumber and lime. Enjoy!

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{ Photos by Ellis }

LKJ FAQ

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Happy 2018, friends! One of my goals for 2018 is to devote more time to Distillerista, so I’m attempting to kick the year off right with a new post each week. The start of a new year seemed like the perfect time to re-introduce myself so here are a few FAQs, fun facts and other random things you may not know about me!

  1. What’s your morning routine? I try to roll out of bed by 7 am and take 20 minutes or so to plan my day, sans phone & computer. I’ll write out a rough schedule, including blocks of time for emails and to-dos, while having coffee (Nespresso pod plus almond milk creamer & collagen!). Once I feel like I have a good game plan for the day, I usually open my laptop and take a few minutes to read the blogs I still follow religiously! Then I’ll tackle emails first thing. It’s probably not the healthiest (or most efficient) habit, but I can’t jump into projects unless my inbox is clean (or at least well-tended to).
  2. What’s your favorite non-alcoholic beverage? Tangerine Lacroix.
  3. Why do you love spirits so much? It’s twofold really… I think part of it is the rich history behind distilling and how far back culture surrounding distilled spirits goes. The other half is the creative opportunities the distilling process provides.
  4. Who is your professional role model? Giada, Christina Tosi, Ina… they’ve all created massive empires around what they love to do, which I hope to do as well.
  5. Why did you choose San Diego over Texas to launch You & Yours? Short answer, I wasn’t really interested in moving back. Long answer: San Diego has a very loyal, locally-minded culture that I felt would be very welcoming of You & Yours.
  6.  Besides Gin & Vodka, what’s your other favorite spirit? Rye! Or Rye-heavy Bourbons. OR Wheated Bourbons.
  7. What’s your favorite cocktail to drink? Nothing beats a Gin gimlet.
  8. What’s your favorite cocktail to make? Some sort of Manhattan or Boulevardier variation with whatever I have lying around my liquor cabinet.
  9. What’s the biggest cocktail trend that you anticipate for 2018? Not super into trends but I’m loving low ABV cocktails and cocktails with salt.
  10. What was your design inspo for the tasting room? Comfortable, approachable, pleasing to the eye.
  11. Advice for women trying to get into the beverage industry? Document everything you do related to the industry! Put it out there in the universe, for all to see, that you are interested in this industry and that you have a place in it.
  12. What would you do if you weren’t a distiller? Maybe a writer of some sort? Or perhaps a bar/cocktail program consultant. Whatever it would be, definitely still lurking somewhere in the wine & spirits/hospitality industries!
  13. Where do you want to travel in 2018? Stateside: Montana; Abroad: Tel Aviv!
  14. What are three things you’d never travel without? A book, my Away carry-on and plenty of snacks!
  15. If deserted on an island, what would you make sure to have with you? Assuming help is on the way, Champagne, a football and a good pair of sunnies. 😉

Top 5 Moments of 2017

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2017 was a big year. Full of some of the most rewarding and challenging moments of my life so far. I was thinking back on where I was mentally and emotionally this time last year and the tears came flooding. I remember waking up on Christmas morning 2016 with no joy. Just in the trenches. Feeling anxious and stressed and overwhelmed. It’s incredible to think how much has changed this past year. It felt so good to actually look forward to celebrating the holidays… And now I’m crying again! Read on for the top five moments of my 2017.

1. Opening You & Yours! I’m sure it goes without saying this was my proudest moment of 2017, and of my (professional) life thus far! We worked so hard for soooo long (almost three years!) to get the place open and finally doing so was the single greatest feeling in the world, though there were some lingering issues we had to navigate in those early days. Getting our production floor fully up and running a few months later was icing on the cake. Making that first official batch of Sunday Gin in my own still, on my own premises was a moment I’ll never forget… And as 2017 comes to a close, I’m happy to report our only “issue” is the fact that we’re quickly outgrowing our space! *knocks on wood*

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2. Forbes 30 Under 30 This was a total curve ball! Never in a million years did I honestly think I’d be named Forbes’ 30 Under 30… especially just mere months after opening the business. HOWEVER, fun fact: I had three (lofty) You & Yours-related goals for 2017 and nabbing a spot on Forbes 30 Under 30 was the only one I actually checked off the list! Haha! I’ll take it.

Equally as rewarding as making the 2018 list was traveling to NYC for the launch party and meeting other list makers. Having conversations with others who’d been through similar struggles and could relate to how hard you work, what things you sacrifice while building a passion-fueled business, etc. was incredibly refreshing. It gave me a re-energizing sense of validation that has me super excited to dive into new projects next year.

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3. Launching our 3rd spirit & new cocktail menu. Although it took us a little longer than I’d hoped, we finally released our third offering at the distillery – our Winter Gin! We threw a party to commemorate the occasion and the amount of support we felt was overwhelming! We are so fortunate to have such a supportive hospitality community here in San Diego.

Along with the Winter Gin release we debuted a completely revamped cocktail menu. The entire front of house staff chipped in this time around and I love that everyone behind the bar is represented on the menu in some way. It was so much fun to design the concepts and work as a team to execute them. Every time I look at the menu or see a cocktail snap pop up on Instagram, it brings a huge smile to my face.

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4. Taking a real vacay… Another big moment for me more recently was finally feeling like You & Yours has a ROCK solid team in place. One that can allow for me to take a (baby) step back from day-to-day tasting room operations if/when necessary. Coupled with the fact that Luke’s business also hired some key support this year, it allowed us to take some real time off, just the two of us, and leave the laptops at home. We’re feeling so grateful this holiday season for the people we get to work with and the time we get to spend together because of them!

For my birthday a few weeks ago, we took off for a little over a week to the Exumas, a small island chain in The Bahamas. This area is one of my favorite places in the world, as my family and I have been traveling there for over 20 years! It’s also the first place Luke came on vacation with me when we started dating, so it’s super special. It’s also a place that didn’t require any learning curve upon arrival or much planning beyond just booking flights and accommodation, seeing as we’re already super familiar with the area and activities, etc. This was a big plus seeing as all we wanted to do was relax and recharge! See more pics on my Insta!

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5. Getting engaged! As a surprise to perhaps no one but me (hah!), Luke popped the question while we were on vacation. I didn’t think Staniel Cay could be a more special place to me/us, but it sure is now! After almost seven years together and some huge personal and professional milestones under our belt, the timing felt so right. Beyond ecstatic for what 2018 has in store for us both!

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SPARKLING Winter Gin Punch

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Last year around this time I shared a Winter Gin Punch recipe that had been my go to for holiday parties, both personal and professional. Fast forward a year and we’re distilling a new seasonal WINTER Gin, perfect for this time of year. I decided to take the same idea for a large format, holiday-ready cocktail and spruce it up a bit (pun, intended!), setting out to highlight the festive flavor notes in our new spirit.

As mentioned, we recently released our third spirit at You & Yours Distilling Co., Sunday Winter Gin. As opposed to our flagship Sunday Gin, this new gin is more traditional in style, i.e. a bit closer to a classic London Dry. Juniper and spruce tips provide textbook pine and spice, while fresh blood orange peel keeps the take on a classic feeling fresh. Pink peppercorn adds spicy floral notes and whole cloves lends just a touch of festive, warm baking spice.

I decided to highlight my two favorite ingredients in the Winter gin for this cocktail – blood orange and clove. First I start with a clove and cinnamon syrup, then add some fresh blood orange juice. To top it off and make it extra festive, it’s finished with sparkling wine!

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Ingredients:

  • 8 oz (1 C) You & Yours’ Winter Gin (drop by the tasting room to grab a bottle!)
  • 16 oz (2 C) fresh blood orange juice
  • 4 oz (.5 C) fresh lemon juice
  • 4 oz. (.5 C) clove cinnamon syrup***
  • 12 oz (1.5 C) dry sparkling wine

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and stir gently. Add large ice chunks and garnish with cinnamon sticks and blood orange wheels. You can also add a few fennel fronds or rosemary sprigs for some color. Note that recipe can be easily doubled or tripled!

***clove cinnamon syrup: combine one cup each sugar and water in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Break three cinnamon sticks and add to pot, along with 5-10 whole cloves and simmer until sugar is dissolved and spices have bloomed, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let spices steep while syrup cools to room temperature, about an hour. Strain and store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one month.

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All images!

7 Women in the Beverage Industry Who are Killing It

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You know when you meet someone (or, more realistically, stumble upon someone’s Instagram or YouTube channel, let’s be honest) and you just instantly want to be their best friend?! That is exactly how I feel about these seven women. They’ve each created empires of their own in the beverage industry and also seem like they’d be really, really fun to have a drink with. I hope they serve as a little inspiration for you too! Talk about #squadgoals.

Marissa Ross – Los Angeles native Marissa Ross is a comedy writer-turned wine enthusiast who has risen to the top of wine reviewers. The winner of Editor’s Choice and Reader’s Choice for “Best Wine Coverage” at the 2015 Savuer Blog Awards, Marissa has used her wit and experience drinking wine to go on and become the Wine Editor at Bon Appetit. She has also been named one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40, and has authored her own book titled Wine. All The Time.: The Casual Guide To Confident Drinking (which I nearly finished in one sitting!)Do yourself a favor and follow her on Instagram, her stories are gold!

Whitney Adams – Whitney is a writer, blogger, YouTube host and sommelier based in Los Angeles. Her passion for wine began on a trip to Italy, which she furthered by becoming a certified sommelier and working with chefs and restaurants back home in LA. Her YouTube channel, which has more than 36,000 followers, shares her (super approachable and very easily digestible) wine knowledge and humor in segments like “Alco-Haul” and “Drunk Dating Advice.” She is a winner of a Savuer Magazine Blog award and was named one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40. Be prepared to go down a YT rabbit hole the first time you check out her channel, it’s so good!

Marianne Barnes – Marianne Barnes is Kentucky Bourbon’s first Master Distiller. With an interest in math and science during high school, Marianne went on to pursue a job chemical engineering where she developed a passion for whiskey. After moving on to a position with Woodford Reserve, she was offered a job at a brand new distillery that would require her to build everything from the ground up, Castle & Key. Her lineup of gin, vodka, bourbon and rye are currently in production and will be released over the next few years. I can’t wait to go visit once the doors officially open.

Annie Lawless – Along with three other partners, Annie Lawless launched Suja Juice in San Diego, CA, which has quickly become “the fastest growing organic, cold pressed and non-GMO beverage company in the US.” Annie was disappointed with the lack of adequate organic juices on the market, and teamed up with other local San Diegans to bring a juice line to life. Using high pressure processing, they have created juice from non-GMO produce and are on a mission to improve lives through nutrition. The company was named second on Forbe’s list of Most Promising Companies in 2015. Not beverage industry-related but equally as badass, Annie recently launched an all natural and non-toxic beauty line called Lawless. 

Deborah Longo – Deborah and her (then) husband Justin Baldwin founded JUSTIN Winery in 1981, which has grown to become one of the largest wineries on the Central Coast. As President of Baldwin Real Estate Corp, Deborah also handled all marketing and sales efforts of their winery. She has been a member of several Paso Robles wine boards, and was named Paso Roble’s Wine Industry “Person of the Year.” I can’t wait to see what Deborah does next, specifically multi-concept development projects in downtown Paso!

Christina Tosi – Christina is a chef, author, and owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, a bakery based in New York City that is a part of the Momofuku Group. The bakery now has 7 locations throughout New York, Toronto, and Washington DC, and has an international presence due to it’s successful e-commerce platform. Her innovative ideas have shaped dessert trends, such as her naked cakes and cereal milk ice cream. A two-time James Beard award winner, Christina is author of the books Momofuku Milk Bar and Milk Bar Life, and has appeared as a guest judge on Master Chef. Christina also just recently closed her first round of funding for Milk Bar and has plans to expand her e-commerce presence. 

Jordan Salcito

Named a 40 under 40 Tastemaker by Wine Enthusiast, Jordan is the Beverage Director for Momofuku Group (sensing a theme here?), a family of restaurants that have earned top markings for their wine programs. An entrepreneur as well, she founded her own “socially and environmentally conscious”  wine company, Bellus. Each bottle comes with a PALA-TABLE that her company developed, geared towards breaking down the characteristics of a wine so consumers can have a better idea of the wine style. She has also released a successful canned product, Ramona, which is an organic grapefruit wine cooler.

 

My 5 Favorite Spirits for Fall

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I don’t know what it is but as soon as the weather starts to change I develop an absolute aversion to refreshing, effervescent drinks and immediately crave moodier, more direct cocktails, made with warming fall spirits. The five spirits below are the ones I turn to when I want to forgo the spritzy G&Ts and tequila cocktails of summertime and craft a more seasonally appropriate tipple.

Old Tom and Barrel-Rested Gin. As a surprise to absolutely no one, my favorite spirit to drink when temps start to drop is still gin, just different styles! Old Tom Gin, often thought of as the bridge spirit between malty, sweet Genever and crisp, clean London Dry, is a super approachable style of gin that is either a. post-sweetened and/or b. stored for some amount of time in new or used barrels. Several American distillers have also been releasing barrel rested gins, forgoing the somewhat difficult marketing issue of calling them Old Tom gins, seeing as not very many people know what Old Tom Gin is. My favorites from this category are Ransom Old Tom and Spirit Works Barrel Rested Gin. Once you’re familiar with “Barrel Rested” or “Barrel Finished” Gin, I guarantee you’ll start seeing them everywhere!

Peated Bourbon. Bourbon is a go-to any time of year but when the temps drop and there’s a chill in the air, I like to switch it up to something a bit smokier. Peated Bourbon refers to a Bourbon that has a peated malt – heavy mash bill. Meaning in addition to corn, they’ve added some percentage of peated malted barley into their mash and fermentation. The addition of peated malt gives the finished whiskey a bit more richness and smokey flavor than what you would normally find in a textbook Bourbon. King’s County in Brooklyn makes a great version that’s lightly smoky without being over-powering. Aged for at least one year and incorporating just 15% peated malt, it’s a beautiful entry point into the world of peated whiskeys and Scotch whiskeys.

Mezcal. Mezcal is an incredibly complex spirit with strong similarities to Scotch in its smoky qualities. A cousin to Tequila, this agave spirit is made from fermented agave that has been charred, roasted and smoked, as opposed to just roasted or steamed, as is customary for Tequila. The more aggressive cooking methods applied to the agave give the spirit tons of smokey character, making it an incredible addition to cocktails. Enjoying Mezcal straight is very similar to enjoying Scotch straight, in that (in my opinion) – working up to the keyword here – enjoying the experience is somewhat of an acquired taste. Nonetheless, once you get used to Mezcal, you’ll never go back. It has an incredibly rich sense of terroir, more so than any other spirit, which makes you’ll taste wildly varying differences between Mezcals from distillers and producers, just based the region the agave was grown in. Check out my guide to Mezcal here – Part 1 & Part 2.

Sloe Gin. Sloe Gin is another one of those niche styles of gin I turn to when the leaves change! You can read more about sloe gin here, but it’s basically a gin that has been steeped with sloe berries and then post-sweetened, technically making it a liqueur. Don’t let the “liqueur” label scare you, as the natural tartness of the sloe berries negates any cloying sweetness. Enjoy it neat, in a cocktail, as a substitute for sweet vermouth, or even warm! as they do in Scotland. My favorites are Plymouth, Spirit Works, Greenhook, and Boodles.

Spiced Rum. Spiced rum is perhaps the most obvious spirit for the cooler, festive months and I’m happy to say that there are several high-quality, craft options hitting the market these days. Two, in fact, can be found right here in San Diego! Malahat Spiced Rum is an absolutely delicious concoction of warm spices and Liberty Call is made with lots of cinnamon and clove. I like to enjoy Spiced Rum in big batch cocktails, as the spiciness and gentle sweetness are crowdpleasers, making them great for gatherings.

 

What are your favorite fall spirits? Let me know in the comments below! // Top image via.