Local craft distilleries release new products, Seahawks cocktails

South Sound craft distillery update

By Jackie Fender on January 29, 2014

Small craft distilleries have gained recognition nationally and have become the preferred source of spirits for many - from speakeasies to dive bars and everything in between, including personal liquor cabinets. This isn't a surprising trend considering the quality and variety of product that craft distilleries are putting out into the world. There's a little something for everyone, and lovers of the hard stuff can be expected to swirl, sniff and sip just like the classy lushes who love the fermented grape juices. Though the city of Tacoma has yet to see its own distillery, there have been a few in recent years that have made an appearance in some of our sister cities. In 2012, we covered a few of these local gems, but since then, they've been busy producing divine nectar of the gods for us all, so we decided to check in and see what's new.

Parliament Distillery on the edge of Sumner began its adventure concocting Ghost Owl Whiskey, a medium-bodied moonshine that now graces the shelves of many local establishments. Since we last visited, it has been getting adventurous, with a line of flavored moonshines called Rack House. The newbies, presented in Mason jars, include 100-proof Yucca (what founder Tomal says tastes like a "lemon drop on steroids") as well as a 70-proof Caramel Apple shine, and the most popular of the trio, a 100-proof Apple Pie with Graham Cracker Crust. There's a fourth flavor to join the ranks soon, and though Tomal is still hush hush about releasing details to the public, what I can predict is it will be a popular one. Rack House is available in retail spots in Oregon and Alaska, but not yet available in Washington unless you visit the tasting room. Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 13708 24th St. E. Suite 103, Sumner

Port Steilacoom Distillery is a charming little distillery (emphasis on little) and tasting room located in Steilacoom. It began producing both vodka and gin using dark cane sugar and blackberry honey, but founder Kevin Stewart was really looking forward to The Wicked Wind release. This boozy goodness can be likened to a Captain Morgan's spiced rum and has been popular since its release in June of last year. Come Valentine's Day, Port Steilacoom is releasing its Captain Black's Old Tom Gin, a barrel-aged gin like days of yore and, according to Stewart, the only local distillery to feature an "old Tom" style. 3:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, 1601 Lafayette, Steilacoom

Heritage Distilling Company hails from Gig Harbor. These folks are a unique beast in that they offer a fun opportunity for those who want to experience distilling for themselves. During their "My Batch" courses, coming up Feb. 16, participants can create their own batch of booze using HDC's recipes, equipment and expertise. The result will be bottled, labeled and enjoyed at home. Additionally, HDC has partnered with Cascade Regional Blood Services with a Bloody Mary Basket, which is available in the tasting room. Perfect for gift giving, this basket includes a bottle of HDC vodka or gin with all the fixins', marry mix and logo'd glasses and skewers to beautiful your tasty masterpiece. Proceeds benefit Cascade Regional Blood Services. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, 3207 57th St. Ct. NW, Gig Harbor

Though none of the distilleries have any Seahawks Super Bowl-themed festivities planned, Heritage Distilling Company did share a couple of Hawks-themed cocktail recipes to fuel your cheering. Go Hawks!

Screamin' Seahawks

1 ounce Heritage Distilling Company Triple Distilled Vodka

3/4 oz Midori

1/2 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Club soda

Lemon twist for garnish

Add vodka, Midori and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with club soda and garnish with a lemon twist. Enjoy while screaming for the Seahawks to win!

The 12th (Green) Man

1.5 oz HDC Triple Distilled Vodka or HDC Elk Rider Wheat Vodka

1 oz Honey Simple Syrup

1.5 oz fresh lemon juice

Green tea ice cube

Freeze green tea in ice cube tray overnight.  Shake vodka, honey simple syrup, and lemon juice and strain over green tea ice in glass. Enjoy! Recipe via TanakaSan Seattle

Beast Mode Vodka Lemonades

4 packs of Tropical Skittles

3 oz HDC Triple Distilled Vodka split

6 oz lemonade

Separate the green and blue Skittles into 2 bowls or cups (1 for green, 1 for blue). Shake 1.5 oz HDC Vodka and blue Skittles for 2 minutes or until Skittles color has transferred to vodka.  Repeat with green Skittles.  Pour over ice into glasses and top with lemonade.