For Sunday Fun Day, we organized a “field trip” out of the City and across the Bay to the St. George Spirits/Hanger One Vodka factory. They give free tours and inexpensive tastings on the weekend.
We took the Ferry over, which was a blast and adventure on its own.
Then we walked about a mile from the Ferry through the old Naval base and to the factory, which is literally in an old hanger (Hence the name, Hanger One Vodka).
From the outside, it seriously looks like an abandoned building.
But the inside is really nice! Re-done and very modern. We started with an hour-long tour.
I learned a lot. Here are a few fun facts about vodka and the general alcohol making process:
Vodka doesn’t have to be made from potatoes, in fact, it’s usually not. Vodka can be made from ANYTHING, what makes it vodka is that it’s 95% distilled. St. George’s Spirits makes most of their vodka from wheat and grapes.
Scotch and Whiskey are the exact same thing. Scotch is just whiskey made in Scottland. So if someone tells you they like Scotch and not Whiskey…..that’s totally impossible because it’s the same!
You shouldn’t have to freeze vodka or even drink it cold. It’s only the poor quality vodka that tastes better when you do this because the coldness cuts down the bad flavors and makes it more tolerable. Good vodka can and should be drank room temperature.
Fermentation is conducted in clean, sanitized vessels that are open or sealed from the air and lasts for three to five days.
The government has to approve every single label that any alcohol company puts on their bottles….and they are super strict about it!
Absinthe is NOT illegal in the US (i totally thought it was!) and it’s made from anise, fennel, and wormwood seeds. Interesting, right?
Hmmm….and that’s all I can remember. He told us about how all the machines work and stuff and it’s a long interesting process. The tour guide loved his job, obviously.
Then we all went into the tasting room. For $15, we tasted 10 of their different kinds. Quite a menu:
First rule they set was– no taking shots! You must sip it in at least 2 sips- ha, wonder if they had issues with that in the past.
Our group at the tasting table.
The way you are supposed to taste vodka is really unlike wine tasting. Under no circumstances should you swirl it in your cup! If you do, it lets the alcohols out and will cause more burning in your mouth. Instead, you are supposed to take a deep breath, take a small sip, and then breath out through your mouth.
So many to try. My favorite was the Mandarin. The most out-of-ordinary was a chipolte vodka- spicy hot and sooo different.
They were all good, but I couldn’t get most of them down….I’m not used to drinking straight alcohol and much more just a wine-sipper these days. I “shared” my tastes with the others.
After fun tasting, we caught the Ferry back to SF. Sunday Fun Day and now I’ll be more inclined to buy more expensive vodka.
– Have you ever done a non-wine tasting?
– What’s your drink of choice when you go out? Red wine usually for me, though occasionally vodka-soda