Distillery Tour: Woodinville Whiskey Co. (Woodinville, Washington)

Lynn and I were in Washington for a wedding a couple weeks ago and while there toured Woodinville Whiskey Co., a bourbon distillery. You say bourbon has to be made in Kentucky. Well, as I’ve talked about before – it doesn’t! Yes, Bourbon can come from anywhere in the USA.

img_5771

We met our friends Tim and Susan at Woodinville Whiskey Company. It’s a small craft distillery that was established in 2010. It’s a really attractive building close to Chateau Ste. Michelle and across the street from Columbia Winery. We took the tour which gave an informative introduction for those who don’t know much about whiskey, bourbon, or distilled spirits.

img_5768

Woodinville Whiskey Co. is a small, well designed, and efficient distillery that makes a very good product. All their grain comes from a contracted farm in Quincy, Washington. They can control the quality and supply this way. They also age their barrels on the farm. Quincy is in eastern Washington and a much better environment to age the bourbon because they get the climate and temperature swings you need to get the bourbon in and out of the oak in those barrels. That helps to enhance the flavor.

img_5767

They have a very fun tasting room with a friendly knowledgeable staff. Kaytlyn greeted us as we walked in the door and helped us with our tasting and got us on a tour.   You get to taste their Rye, Whisky, Bourbon, and Vodka. In addition to that, you get to taste what turned out to be one of my favorites – their Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup. Wow, what a great maple syrup! I saw they had a gift pack with a bottle of their bourbon, 2 bottles of maple syrup, and 2 logo Glencairn glasses (I could not resist the gift pack).

img_5770

After tasting we had lunch in The Hollywood Tavern which has been in that same spot since 1947, and is next door to the distillery. It has inside dining and a fire pit on the patio. The food is amazing. They have a good selection of wine and beer. It hit the spot on an overcast cool day.

img_5765

I highly recommend you visit Woodinville Whiskey Co. You can’t buy their product outside of Washington State. If you are in Seattle it’s worth the time to see Woodinville. You can also tour some of the surrounding wineries. It makes for a great weekend!

Mount Gay Rum (Barbados)

Back with a review of another rum distillery from our trip to Barbados. I promise Lynn and I relaxed and sat on the beach during our trip to Barbados. But we also packed in some great activities! In addition to our visit to St. Nicholas Abbey (read my review here), we also stopped by Mount Gay Rum’s distillery.

IMG_5465

There are three tours to choose from: their Signature Rum Tour, the Interactive Cocktail Tour, and Bajan Buffet Lunch Tour. We decided to just take the Signature tour. It was most informative, you saw a short film, and did a lot of tasting.

IMG_5466

On the tour you get to try everything but the 1703. Rum, like whiskey, is affected by the time in the barrel. That was something the English learned as they shipped it to England and the rum rocked back and forth for weeks in the barrels on board the ship. They offer a complete selection of rum. They offer the Silver, Eclipse, Black Label, XO, and 1703 Old Cask Selection. We bought a bottle of the Silver to make mojitos when we got back to California, and a bottle of the XO for sipping. Surprisingly, sipping Rum is not much different than whiskey, or bourbon.

IMG_5470

After the tour we got a table on the patio and had a wonderful Mt Gay Silver Rum mojito. They were cooking french fries and they smelled great and I can tell you they were great with a mojito. All the food looked really good but we were not hungry.  The Interactive Cocktail Tour took place in the bar right next to us and out on the patio, so we watched it for a bit while we sipped our mojitos. The class looked like a lot of fun and after watching it I would recommend it.

IMG_5467

A little bit about Mount Gay rum, which I knew nothing about before our visit (mostly pulled from their website)… The Mount Gay Rum story begins in 1703. George Washington spent 6 weeks in Barbados when he was 19 years old. He visited some of the Rum Distilleries and no doubt probably visited Mt Gay. Rum, originally called “Kill-Devil” by the Barbadians who first distilled it, is truly a product of the island with their abundance of molasses combined with their thirst for alcohol lead to this unique discovery in the production of spirits. Sir John Gay was a respected leader and businessman who worked tirelessly in service of the island of Barbados. A friend of Sir John Gay’s, John Sober, inherited a then-unknown distillery and had asked for Sir John’s help in managing it. Sir John Gay took quickly to the business of making rum. He refined the distillation process and began producing a noticeably superior product that we know today as Mount Gay Rum.

Sailing vessels carried exotic trade from the colonies and introduced Caribbean flavors to Europe and the Americas. This period of shipping was an important part of Mount Gay’s Heritage. The Mount Gay Rum Red Cap is a symbol of accomplishment in the sailing community. It can only be worn by sailors who have raced in a Mount Gay sponsored regatta where, upon completion of the course, they are awarded the cap. You can’t buy one in the gift shop, you have to earn it.

IMG_5468

I have never really been a rum drinker and enjoyed my re-introduction to the spirit. I enjoyed our time in Barbados and learning about rum. I will be drinking more rum in the future.