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Spy Hop Gin
We make a spectacular gin that reflects the spirit of our local whales. It is silky-smooth, energetic, inspiring, exciting. Besides standard gin botanicals (juniper, lemon, star anise, cardamom, orris root), we use local botanicals from the beautiful San Juan Islands to flavor our gins: blackberries, wild roses, lavender, other hand foraged island barks and botanicals. These are unique and unusual flavors for gin, and they create an amazing and original gin. The American Distilling Institute gave this gin a silver medal in 2013!
Seasonal Spy Hop Gin
We are always looking in the forests of San Juan Island for berries, barks, leaves, other seasonal botanicals that we can add to our gin recipe. Depending on what's fresh and ripe, you are likely to find a very interesting Seasonal Spy Hop at the Distillery. Seasonal Spy Hop is sold only at the Distillery, we make a very limited quantity. Our seasonal gin this month is Nettles, we pick the beautiful green shoots as they come out of the ground. It is a deliciously green gin, and it makes wonderful cocktails. Other Seasonal Spy Hops (so far ...) are Elderflower(May/June), Thimbleberry (June) and Salal berry (September/October).
Barrel-Aged GinWe love the taste of oak in our gin! But not too much, it still needs to be distinctly gin. So we age it in an 8-gallon oak barrel for two months, then bottle it with a curl of Madrone bark. The bark gives a note of cinnamon and bitter on the finish. It's really great to sip on ice and it adds an amazing flavor to gin cocktails.
Spy Hop Harvest Select Gin
Spy Hop Harvest Select Gin is unique because it is made with all of the same botanicals in Spy Hop Gin, but the alcohol in the gin is made exclusively from Washington apples. It is an extraordinary sipping gin that is delicious on its own and great in cocktails, especially ones built around apples (like the ones on our cocktails page). We sell this in both 375ml bottles and 750ml bottles, and we also fill a growler for true fans of this gin.
Spy Hop Harvest Select Navy StrengthNavy Strength Gin (57% Alcohol By Volume) is the proof at which the British Navy required its gin, tested by whether gunpowder could be fired if it was wetted with the gin. In the 1800s, San Juan Island was occupied by both Americans and British farmers. But an American shot a British pig in 1859, causing an armed encampment of both British and American soldiers until 1872, when international arbitration decided that the boundary between the USA and Canada was the Haro Strait, not Rosario Strait. This gave the San Juan Islands to the United States. Our Navy Strength gin celebrates the Pig War with a special STRONG edition of our cider-based Spy Hop Gin. Three times distilled in two different stills, this gin is flavored with foraged San Juan Island botanicals including barks and berries. Higher alcohol content heightens the unique character of these flavors. Here's to a bloodless war!
We decided to make a very different gin, one inspired by the Coast Salish, who lived on our island and ate off the land. This gin is distilled with locally foraged Salish Juniper and botanicals that we forage near the seashore, including sea beans, sea pinks, madrone bark, and camas root. We love it in a martini with good dry vermouth (we're making one) and pickled kelp. It's salty!
Our Eau de Vie
Our award-winning Apple Eau de Vie has a clean apple taste in a clear brandy. This is what we age in oak barrels to become Calvados-like apple brandy. It is a delicious digestif, goes beautifully in between courses or with desserts and cheeses. This eau de vie won a gold medal at the 2011 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry competition and a bronze at the 2011 American Distilling Institute judging. We sell this in 375ml bottles.
Our first release of apple brandy won best in class from both craft distilling associations, making it the best craft-distilled apple brandy in the U.S. It is a beautiful amber, soft and smooth on the finish, with a delicious apple note.
Pommeau is a cider-based aperitif made with fresh apple juice and our delicious Apple Eau de Vie and aged in fine white oak barrels. French farmers in Normandy make this as part of their hard cider-Calvados production, so we incorporated it into our line. It is wonderful before dinner served chilled, use it instead of Lillet or Cocchi in cocktails, and lovely after dinner. We sell this in 375ml bottles.
Lavender and Wild Rose Liqueur
Pelindaba lavender and local wild roses at their peak bloom are combined with our delicious apple eau de vie, capturing the essence of the fragrance and color of these beautiful flowers. Enjoy this liqueur in cocktails or use it in desserts.
This delicious nasturtium flavored liqueur is made with our own flowers and apple eau de vie. It is great in cocktails and makes an original contribution to desserts. It's a taste of summer year around! Available starting in August.
Hawk handpicks thimbleberries in late June and early July to infuse into our apple eau de vie. We add only enough simple syrup to bring up the intense, sparkly, wild raspberry flavor of this unique Island brandy. We only make a few cases each year, available seasonally in July and August. We usually sell out of this almost as soon as we make it!
Our berry picker, Hawk, and his grandchildren pick island blackberries as they ripen each summer, usually in mid to late August. These berries are mixed with a little simple syrup and infused into our apple eau de vie to make a delicious blackberry brandy. Available seasonally starting in September, only a few cases each year.
We infuse bitter botanicals including bittersweet and bittersharp apples in our Apple Eau de Vie for several months to create an extraordinary bitters for flavoring cocktails. These botanicals also include hazelnut leaves, crabapples, and madrone bark.
Red Sky at Night
Our favorite cocktail is now available at the distillery in a cocktail mix, all you need to add is lemon juice. It is a convenient alternative to putting all of those ingredients together -- we mix Spy Hop Gin, Lavender and Wild Rose Liqueur and Westcott Bay Cider Syrup together. Pour it in a cocktail shaker with ice and fresh lemon juice and serve it up or on the rocks with a rose petal or lemon zest for garnish. So so good.
We make a very small amount of barrel aged apple brandy infused with madrone bark and blackberries, sweetened with Madrone blossoms. It is simply amazing. We love to sip it after dinner, but it also makes a fabulous cocktail that we named The Bazelgette: Madrone Brandy, Pommeau, Kari's Old Fashioned Bitters (2:1:dash).
Our barrel aged apple brandy is infused with just the flavorful peel of tangerines, it creates a Tangerine Brandy that sparkles in your mouth. We made this for our Christmas Pig cocktail (tangerine brandy, chocolate eau de vie, bacon infused apple brandy: 2,1,1), but it is so delicious we are bottling up a few cases to sell, starting this fall. Try it. It's amazing.
New Projects (We can't stop!)
We are working with San Juan Vineyards to develop a dry vermouth. And a sweet vermouth based on Pommeau.