One Year.

fullsizeoutput_3{ a fitting signamazing spread from our One Year Anniversary party! }

Where to begin!

I’m smiling as I write this, thinking about all the fun we had at our one year anniversary party last Thursday night! It was so humbling and inspiring to see all the familiar faces at the distillery, everyone there to celebrate this huge milestone with us! I feel so fortunate to have made it this far and to have accomplished so much in just twelve short months. It’s the best feeling.

Although it feels like both just ten days and ten years since we finally opened our doors last year, I wouldn’t trade the last twelve months for anything. The first year sure had it’s challenges – seemingly endless construction woes, a lawsuit, the inevitably high turnover rate of hospitality industry employees, learning how to build and manage a team, and a crash course in both supply chain management and production logistics.

For all the lessons learned though, we had a hell of a lot of wins too! Nailing down distribution within our first six months, solidifying over 100 (and growing!) accounts across the state, bucket list blog and media features, releasing a third spirit, dozens of cocktail menu placements, hiring our first full-time sales rep, and perhaps most exciting of all, purchasing a semi-automated bottling line! It’s the little things, lol. For more of my favorite moments from last year, read this post

Since I’m too excited to put any more coherent thoughts together (and in Kaua’i for our friends’ wedding!), I thought I’d answer a few questions about what we have in store for the year to come!

What else are you releasing this year? Coming up we have our Old Tom Gin releasing sometime in May (rich, malty, slightly sweet and spicy), Summer Gin in June (my version of a Hendrick’s-style gin: Meyer lemon, cucumber, lemongrass and mint!), and an Italian-style Amaro later on in the fall.

What’s next for the tasting room? We’re building out our outdoor patio so you can enjoy our flights and cocktails in a sunny, outdoor setting! Aaaannnnddd we’ll be squeezing in a small kitchen in the back (somehow, lol) so that we can finally offer some proper small plates to go with those delicious cocktails. Think Southern-inspired tapas and elevated bar food favorites featuring local San Diego ingredients.

Plans to expand? Why yes, I’m glad you asked! We’ve got our eyes on a 5000 sq. ft warehouse just a few blocks away from our existing location, where we’ll be able to store raw materials, finished product, and eventually, increase production with a new still! Stay tuned for a formal announcement in the coming weeks.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but please leave any other questions in the comments, on Facebook, or DM me on Instagram and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

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A Brief History of the Old Fashioned

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The craft cocktail experts at Speakeasy Co. are back again with #BartenderKnowHow. This week’s installment? A brief history of a true classic, the Old Fashioned. The following content originally appeared here. – Laura

The full story is drearily long, but the history is unusually important to understanding this classic, so here is the abridged version:

While the term “cocktail” today might refer to both a Sazerac and an Appletini, in the beginning, terminology was more persnickety. There were Slings (spirit, sugar, cold water), Toddies (spirit, sugar, warm water), various citrus Punches and such, but no mention of the word cocktail. It wouldn’t be until 1806 that the “cock-tail” was defined in print, originally written as a drink comprised of “spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” Those four ingredients made a cocktail. Anything else, tasty as it may be, wasn’t a cocktail.

But over the next 75 years, bartenders continuously tweaked and played. There was the “fancy cocktail” with curacao, then the “improved cocktail” with maraschino liqueur and absinthe.

The evolution continued with pineapple sticks, raspberry syrup, muddling in fruit slices, and the like – what would later be referred to as “the garbage”. It’s all tasty, and a solid template, but it was not a cocktail according to the original definition.

When The Chicago Tribune printed “old-fashioned cocktails” in 1880, they were not referring to a recipe that felt quaint and homey, but rather defining a type of drink from the past. They referenced local curmudgeons, who sought a cocktail like the kind they used to get. The Old Fashioned kind. And an Old Fashioned is today just as it was back then: spirit (whiskey), sugar, water (ice), and bitters.

This drink, as much as any other, is how we know the age of cocktails is back and here to stay. Men and women, young or old, it doesn’t matter. Everyone drinks it now. All it asks of you is that you enjoy your drinks (1) strong and (2) delicious. The Old Fashioned will take it from there.

It’s worth noting that any claim to have “invented” the Old Fashioned is absurd, seeing as it was being made for at least 75 years, as a “cocktail” before it earned its latter name. But extra nonsense points go to the Pendennis Club of Louisville, who maintain their paternity claim even though they opened their doors in 1881, a full year after it first appeared in print.

P.S. – Everything You Need to Know About Cocktail Subscription Service Speakeasy Co (formerly Thirty3Club). 

More #BartenderKnowHow:

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Introducing Distillerista

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Hi there! I’m Laura, your friendly neighborhood Distillerista. A Texas native, California transplant, and lover of all things food and drink. I’ve worked in publishing, finance, tech, fashion and wine, but what I’m most excited about these days is the ever-expanding popularity of American-made craft spirits and – more importantly – the distillers and stories behind those spirits.

In creating Distillerista I aim to help thoughtful drinkers – such as yourself! – better understand the art and craft of distilling so that they can make better informed purchases and enjoy elevated imbibing experiences.

The journey that led me to create Distillerista has been an absolute joy. I’ve taken the last year to learn from and work under some of the best distillers and industry leaders America has to offer. Now, I’m back home in Southern California and thrilled to share the next phase of this ride.

In addition to serving as a one-stop resource for all things craft distilling, Distillerista will be your window into my day-to-day as my team and I embark on the incredibly exciting, albeit lengthy road to opening my first distillery! Set in San Diego, CA and slated for a 2016 grand opening. More delicious details to come.

As mentioned, expect to find a wealth of information and education pertaining to craft distilling and spirits here at Distillerista. Including – but not limited to – drilled-down distilling know-how, industry trends, easy cocktail recipes, fun entertaining ideas, and a peek behind the (sometimes smoky) curtain of America’s modern day liquor business.

I hope you’ll find something you enjoy. ‘Til then, sign up for the Distillerista Newsletter on the side bar to the right. I’m thrilled to have you here. Cheers!

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