Drinking Oryza Sativa

Posted on Jun 3, 2012 in Distilleries, Featured, Reviews, Travel | 1 comment

Next time you’re in Portland, go west along US-26 and head over to Forest Grove to check out the Saké One brewery. It’s not the kind of brewery you think of when you think of the Pacific Northwest, but there’s really every reason for saké to be a West Coast thing. Japanese culture has deep roots here, there’s the whole Pacific Rim culinary tradition, and the rice itself is grow here. Saké One prefers Calrose, a strain of rice from central California. There’s a tasting room at Saké One, but before you get too far into that, you’ll want to take a tour of...

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DIY Chartreuse. Or Something Like That.

Posted on Apr 16, 2012 in Distilleries, Featured, Make This, Recipes, Travel | 5 comments

The directions from Lyon to the Chartreuse distillery go something like this:  Exit the parking garage while trying to fire up your GPS. As it searches listlessly for a satellite (shouting “Look up!” or pointing it at the sky does not help), drive across the river with the vague feeling that the freeway might be in that direction. Eventually, a crisp Scottish voice will come to life and guide you to Quai Bellevue and from there you will find the ramp to Marseille/Genève/Grenoble/Porta de Croix Luizet/Périphérique Est, the pronounciation of which your Scottish guide will mangle in that...

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Went to St. George Spirits. It Blew My Mind.

Posted on Jan 13, 2012 in Distilleries, Featured, Reviews | 4 comments

“Is it all right?” asks the tasting room bartender Chris, looking down quizzically at my barely-touched vodka shot. “It’s fantastic,” I tell him.  “Just pacing myself.”  He pours the rest out, but he’s not happy about it. And it really is a damn fine vodka, a vodka to put Goose-swillers in their place, a surprisingly floral and complex and lovely blend of two vodkas actually, one distilled from wheat and the other from viognier grapes. If you have ever felt that white wine wastes your time, what with all that fruit and oak and dismally low alcohol content, this...

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The Wonders of Cassis

Posted on Oct 1, 2011 in Distilleries, Reviews | 1 comment

(Your intrepid reporter at the Cassissium.  Notice the pen and notebook. This is work.  Really.) After a week spent touring distilleries in France, Scott and I had come to suspect that anything called a museum must receive special benefits:  tax cuts, subsidies, an extra-long vacation every August.  It seemed like every distillery had created an official museum devoted to their product.  The museum was often nothing more than a few glass cases in the gift shop, but a smiling woman in a blazer and a badge stood nearby, ready to hand us a brochure in our choice of language and give us a...

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