Woodinville for wine AND whiskey

Woodinville is not just for wine.  In the countryside 30 minutes outside Seattle, known for the many wineries such as Chateau St. Michelle, there are indeed a great number of places to sip the vino.  However, don’t overlook the Woodinville Whiskey Co.  Get yourself a designated driver, then sip, shot and repeat.  Which is exactly what I did recently when Thom and I joined friends for a day of tasting wine AND whiskey.

First stop was Novelty Hill/Januik winery where we found a gorgeous facility with loads of outdoor space to enjoy your wine tasting.  With healthy pours of a tasting of any 4 (including $65/bottle wine) for $12, I started with Januik 2014 Columbia Valley Merlot (which I ended up buying a bottle to take home) followed by two King Cabs and finishing with their Syrah.  All very good and enjoyed with the company of our friends, Kurt and Ernie, who invited us along so we could be initiated in the ways of Woodinville.

Enjoying a short drive in Sexy Best with Thom as the designated driver, we stopped by Chateau St. Michelle just so I could see the beautiful grounds but it was too busy to wade through the crowd for a tasting.  I can see why people love coming here-gorgeous lawn where you are encouraged to buy a bottle and picnic with your family.  I haven’t ever attended one of their outdoor concerts but definitely hope to in the future now that we have a car and get around outside the city.

Nearby, Woodinville Whiskey Co was next on the tasting tour.  Learning about their varieties of whiskey,  Melissa explained how they use ingredients from the Pacific Northwest to produce their award-winning booze.  Ernie and Kurt are whiskey experts so they guided me, the whiskey virgin, through how to properly “smell” each tasting and savor the differences between each type.   Sweet and soft, I took home a bottle of the Straight American Whiskey AND their maple syrup aged in whiskey barrels.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven when they poured us each a shot of syrup with a vodka chaser.  My Belgium waffles (Trader Joe’s) that I love will only be better with this liquid gold on top that costs $20 a bottle and is well worth it.  So.  Good.

All in all, a successful day finally visiting the Woodinville area I had heard so much about but had never had the time to enjoy.  Thankful that Thom was at the wheel, we put the top down and let the sun shine down upon us while I slipped in a quick nap on the way home from our wine and whiskey tasting.  Can’t wait to try the other 130+ wineries and tasting rooms there.  So much wine, so little time!

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My designated driver looking good in Sexy Beast


Winter Whiskey Tasting

Nothing says “HAPPY HOLIDAYS!” like a flight of whiskey to savor and compare.  Forget bargain shopping.  Nobody really needs all that crap anyway.  Belly up to the bar with the family and toast having the good sense to avoid the crazy crowds at the mall.  Cheers!

Just up the road from South Bend, Indiana, you can experience the lovely small town vibe of Three Oaks, Michigan AND visit Journeyman Distillery.  Over 100 years ago, E. K. Warren offered corsets and buggy whips in this factory in lower Michigan.  Journeyman Distillery opened in 2010 in the beautifully renovated factory space as a family-run business that not only turns out craft spirits but tasty food as well. The lunch crowd packed in to eat pizza, burgers and more on the day after Thanksgiving but the star of the show was no doubt the homemade hooch.  A whiskey flight with their five shots was only $4.  That’s right-handcrafted spirits that went down like silk for a couple of bucks.  Got to love the Midwest!

The cocktail ingredients ranged from shrubs to reductions combined with their own small-batch spirits.  No beer, no wine-just a wide variety of homemade gin, vodka, limoncello, and whiskey.  My kind of place!  Cocktails were inventive like the Beetlejuice cocktail with red arrow vodka/simple syrup/house beet-basil reduction or the Fall Classic with whiskey/navy strength road’s end rum/simple syrup/ lime juice/McClary Bros. lemon ginger shrub/house amaretto.  WOW.  I could go there every night for weeks and sip unique drinks.  Probably good for my liver that I go home Monday to Seattle.

After trying all five whiskeys, my tongue and lips were numb but happy.  I loved the W. R. White Whiskey that had notes of banana, mango and ripened fruit as well as white pepper and spices.  The only thing stopping me from buying LOTS of bottles of different spirits was the damn TSA liquid restrictions.  A return trip on our next visit will no doubt be a priority.  Tired from shopping or dealing with crazy relatives?  Try a whiskey flight (or two) and have a happy holiday!wp_20161125_12_46_01_rich