Monday, August 07, 2006

Taking Off

Originally uploaded by gura.
On Saturday, after doing some chores in the morning, went to one of several birthday gatherings for my sister who is a Leo. This one was a Vodka tasting at Hangar One down the street from the beloved Rosenblum Cellars. We would have stopped there too, but it's not good to mix alcohols. We'll have to do Rosenblum another day.

I'm usually more into wines, and definitely not into beers, but I appreciate good quality hard liquor.

Anyway, Hangar One is a craft distillery at the edge of the old Alameda Navy base with a lovely view of the Bay Bridge and SF. A $10 tasting, gets you a free glass, and a tasting of 11 different spirits (tastes, not a full shot, but enough). We tried spirits under the Hangar One brand name as well as the St. George Spirits label. We enjoyed many of the spirits. The Vodkas in particular were very clean, refreshing and no burning wastelands in our throats.


Spirits imbibed with a few tasting notes:
Eau de vie Williams Pear Brandy – 15lbs of Bartlet Pears in each bottle. Yummy! A light sweetness, buttery and creamy at the end. A very very lovely nose. If I were to get a 2nd bottle, I would have gotten this one.
Frambroise Eau de vie Raspberry Brandy – I’m not much of a raspberry fan. Though this was good too, I couldn’t help but remember that my sister’s friend noted that the raspberry seeds smelled like seaweed.
Hangar One Straight Vodka – Smooth. Very clean tasting.
Hangar One Kaffir Lime Vodka – If you like the lime taste of a Mojito, you’ll love this Vodka.
Hangar One Buddha’s Hand Citron Vodka – This one was enchanting. A flavor that starts at your tongue but builds into your whole mouth. Though I liked quite a few of them, I bought a bottle of this because it’s one that I could enjoying continually sipping without getting tired of it.
Hangar One Mandarin Blossum Vodka – Clean tasting like the first two, the Mandarin Blossum is a slightly heavier taste that remains on the tongue and just sits there.
St. George Single Malt Whiskey – Smooth. Late overtones of a dark chocolate and hazelnut. Top this off in your Irish Coffee.
Qi – I foget what kind of spirit this was, but it had honey, and smokey tea, and mandarin blossum. A rich brown color, the smokeyness was just right. But with all the different flavors, each taste was slightly different. It was a bit too multi-dimensional. And though a few sips were nice, unless I was eating this with duck or chicken, I don’t think I’d go through a bottle just sipping this. And probably get ill from the smokey flavor before the alcohol. Even the pourer said that it’s a tricky drink for bartenders to use. My sister’s friend likened it to a Chinese herbal remedy.
Aqua Perfecta Liqueur Pear – Sweeter than the brandy. The fresh fruit really stands out.
Aqua Perfect Liqueur Raspberry – By the time we got to this, I was Raspberried out. The Liqueurs are heavier, just under syrupy and I suspect would go nicely as a sauce for a dessert dish.

In the tasting room, you can see the large hangar where they distill the liquor. There are also two pairs of old airline seats complete with the table that pops out from the armrest. Boy were those comfy! They don’t make airline seats like that anymore!

This is us enjoying the inflight movie:

We also learned a thing or two about post-prohibition as we were purchasing a few bottles. One of the reasons behind prohibition in the first place is that distillers were selling straight to the general public but not giving Uncle Sam his share of the tax revenue. (You know that behind various morality reasons, there's often a pocketbook reason for things.) Anyways, after Prohibition, distillers were required to only sell their spirits through distributors to ensure that the sales and liquor taxes get paid. This includes Vodka and the like. However, it doesn't include Brandy. I'm not exactly sure what's the difference. Brandy probably got lumped into the exception that wine received.

So how did we buy bottles of vodka on Saturday? Well, one cash register is actually linked to their distributor Caddell and Williams. This register actually places an order with the distributor. The distributor then picks up a "shipment" from the distiller and "delivers" it to the tasting room, where it's then available for general public to purchase. As far as I can figure, the distributor along with getting the bottles to BevMo, gets paid to drive around the block, just so the distiller has a location on site to sell to the public.

In any regards, they drive one fine bottle of vodka around the block.

1 comment:

Rock said...

Now THAT sounds like a way to spend a weekend!