The Grand Tasting Salon
A bit of backstory: Boozephreaks is a social group in the Bay Area which aims to educate people on how to drink WELL. Not more, not fancier, just well… they host events that are educational, fun and tasty as well. I discovered them when they had an Amaro class at Seven Stills in February, and it was super kickass. So when they announced the Grand Tasting Salon tour, I signed up.
We met in the parking lot of the Distillery, where our host, Dr. Inkwell checked us in and had those of us who were “new” pick our Boozephreaks names. They were, like “Dr. Inkwell” all horribly awesome puns. I am forevermore “Graham Marnier” in the world of Boozephreaks.
Paul, our Master Tourguide took met us in the parking lot, and led us inside to the distillery floor where he and Dr. Inkwell did an informally formal introduction, then took us around to see how everything worked. I don’t plan on going through the tour in detail, because you should really go do it yourself, but here are some photos!
When the tour was done, we were taken upstairs to the Grand Tasting Salon, which was pretty awesome. Paul and Theodore took us through HOW to taste, then we tasted:
- Napa Reserve Neutral Brandy (which is really a vodka made from grapes, but they can’t call it that yet)
- Old Hollywood Ginn (which may be the best gin I’ve ever tasted, but that could be because I was tasting it PROPERLY)
- Brandy Cordial (so good I had to buy a bottle on the spot)
- Bourbon Mash Whiskey (finished in Port barrels)
- East India Cocktail (California Brandy, Orange Curacao, Real Blackberry Syrup and Blood Orange Bitters)
The tasting was REALLY educational, and both Paul and Theodore added just the right amount of humor to keep us smiling and enjoying ourselves the entire time.
We all got little gift bags from both the distillery and Boozephreaks, and then we dropped our credit cards on the table to sign up for the Bar Club. Because who doesn’t want stuff this good delivered to their door on a quarterly basis?
And because we were there, we were able to pick up March’s club release, which consisted of:
- NVD’s Meyer Lemon Vodka
- NVD’s Bourbon Mint Julep Cocktail
- NVD’s East India Cocktail (as seen above)
- Bang Candy – Hibiscus, Orange Blossom, Ginger Syrup
- Inna Shrub – Ginger Shrub
- Six cocktail recipes which utilize the ingredients above
And since I signed up for the Bar Club and was getting a deep discount, I also got a bottle of the Ancho Leon chili-infused aged Brandy. It was mind blowing.
Post tour, we all headed over to the Oxbow shopping center, where NVD has their storefront. We checked out the wares there (OMG, So. Many. Bitters.), grabbed some lunch, chatted quite a bit, then headed home. It was the perfect First Top Down Drive of Spring.