There is TOO stuff to do here…

Hello everyone and happy Monday!

I’m pleased to say that I already checked one thing off of my ‘Summer List’ this past weekend!

After a few failed attempts I finally managed to book a tasting and tour at St. George Spirits, our local distillery right here in Alameda. For those of you that aren’t familiar, you’ve probably come across Hangar 1 vodka: these are the guys responsible. What I didn’t know is that, in addition to their more well known vodka, whiskey and absinthe, they also make brandies, liqueurs, rums, and gins! The whole shebang, as it were. Now, I’m going to say what most Alameda natives don’t want to hear: the island, while lovely in a quiet, suburban way, doesn’t have too much to do in terms of entertainment. Ok…we finally have a movie theater. And there’s all the food you can dream of eating. Being San Francisco adjacent makes it seem rather quaint in comparison, but it still has its hidden gems. The abundance of alcohol-related fun to be had on our old Naval station is one of the many perks. We have Rock Wall Winery, the new Faction Brew Co., and St. George Spirits all within walking distance of each other.

With all three right on the water, you can’t help but linger and take advantage of the view, as well as the good food. Please note that food is essential when planning gin/rum/brandy/absinthe tasting in the middle of the day.


Corn hole next to the San Francisco skyline anyone?


Get a designated driver, everyone. Preferably a well dressed man who will feed you. I find the elementary school French flashcards Scolari‘s gives you rather amusing. L’avion va très vite!



A little bit of summertime in a salad. The perfect thing to eat with the sun at your back. Not pictured are the Parmesan truffle fries that were previously inhaled. They were so delicious, I forgot to take a picture.


Where the magic happens in the distillery proper. With all the chemistry, and stuff way beyond my comprehension.



Yes, that is a shark guarding the brandy barrels. Specifically the one from the movie “Deep Blue Sea.”  It’s a story you need to hear from the St. George people firsthand. Let’s just say that one of the perks of a job there is getting to quality control their product as well as go on gratuitous shark rides.


Pear Brandy, reminiscent of what my family makes at home.



This took me a few seconds to comprehend. Sneaky people…

If you happen to visit the distillery anytime soon, spring for the Advanced tasting, which includes the tour. Our tour guide was both knowledgeable and hilarious- a key combination if you’re going to attempt learning anything after multiple swigs of hard alcohol. For example, did you know…

…The only requirement that a ‘gin’ needs to have is that it contains some amount of juniper…

…When in Scotland, never ask for “scotch.” Just ask for whiskey. “You don’t go to Mexico and ask for Mexican food”…

…Absinthe’s popularity at the turn of the century was due to the grape population being decimated, making wine expensive and scarce…

…Back in the day, absinthe was also made in lead-lined copper pots. Anyone who drank it, with the popular addition of laudanum, was giving themselves lead poisoning, getting drunk, and freebasing heroin simultaneously…

…Making alcohol seems horribly complicated. Each batch produced needs to be systematically separated, lest the drinker get a mouthful of almost pure ethanol instead of a delicious brandy…

…We have the British navy to thank for the term ‘proof.’ Initially, this was soaking gunpowder in rum and lighting it on fire to prove that what was in any given barrel was at least 50% alcohol…

See, you can have your cocktail and learn things too. Aside from the usual life lessons…


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