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.
(This is a review I did for Trip Advisor)