It’s a Carnival of taste! Craft Spirits Carnival

It’s hard to believe that next weekend is Memorial Day.  Where did the spring go?  Summer is rapidly approaching, and with that, some great summer cocktails!CSC logo

Be sure to catch all the action at the Craft Spirits Carnival in San Francisco on June 15th & 16th.  This unique event combines the showcase of an old fashioned big top, with hundreds of craft creations:  small batch mezcal, tequila, whisky, bourbon, vodka, gin, rum and absinthe, and an assortment of flavors and libations you’ve never known before.

Each purveyor will present their delicious spirits, as well as a signature cocktail.  This is not to be missed!  The best part about this carnival?  If you taste something you can’t live without, you can purchase it at the end of the day so you can recreate the magic at home.

Check out local favorites St. George Spirits and Charbay, as well as small batch distillers from Oregon, New York, and all over the country.

Buy your tickets now – and get 60% event pricing, just $32-40 for a full day of sipping!  VIP packages include both days and early entry so if you are a mixologist in the making, make sure to grab your discount early.  So many discoveries were made here last year.

See you there!



1:00pm – 4:00pm
Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion



Cocktail of the week: Chinese Cherry New Fashioned

Sometimes, a wine blogger needs to mix it up a bit and enjoy a delicious cocktail.  After attending the Craft Spirits Carnival, and having a blast at the Republic of Jam after the Wine Bloggers Conference, I was inspired to get crafty with my growing bar and some of these amazing spirits.

My friends at Pithy Little Wine Company in Paso Robles have branched out in to the craft soda business, and generously gave me some of their yummy sodas to experiment with.  These amazing, old fashioned sodas have bursts of natural flavors and are made with sugar and not that icky corn syrup, and you can really taste the difference.

First up:  Pithy Little Soda Works Black Cherry.  This rich black cherry soda is made with real cane sugar, and the black cherry and red vine licorice aromas will fill your glass as flavors of cherry candies and vanilla sparkle across your palate.

With this amazing black cherry flavor, I created a Chinese Cherry New Fashioned using the Bar Keep Chinese Bitters discovered at the Craft Spirits Carnival.  This line of bitters is a whole new world, with flavors like Chinese, Lavender, and Swedish Herb.  While bitters were originally crated as medicinal tinctures, but are now used more as digestifs or as flavor enhancements to cocktails.  These Chinese bitters are a blend of clove, fennel, cinnamon, star anise and Schezuan  peppercorn, which is a classic flavoring in Chinese dishes.  Adding this to a cocktail gives it an amazing kick.

  • First, measure out 3-5 ounces of good bourbon over ice.  I only had by stand by Knob Creek in the house, but the better the bourbon, the better the cocktail!  How much depends on how strong you like your cocktail.
  • Then, fill your old fashioned glass with the Pithy Black Cherry soda.
  • Add two dashes of Chinese Bitters, and stir.  Be careful not to use too much!  These are strong suckers.
  • Garnish with Republic of Jam Brandied Cherries, Marachino Cherries, or an orange slice.  In fact, next year when cherries are back in season I will make my own drunken cherries!

Voila!  Delicious.  Cheers!

Next week, I will be making a Rocketship to the Moon.  Stay tuned!


A Farmers Market for wine!

Here we are, jumping in to the holiday season with a bang.  Twice a year, the San Francisco Vintner’s Market, allows you to wander around the halls of Fort Mason, taste delicious wines, and carry them home with you.

On November 17-18, Harvest Hoopla will commence in San Francisco, where you can try it and buy it!  It’s like the RonCo Electric Food Dehytrator – Set it, and forget it!

I really enjoy this event, because as an experienced wineaux, I appreciate being able to taste the wines before I buy them.  Being in the city, I can visit Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Paso Robles, and more regions in one room – without leaving home.  Howe many times have you been to a tasting event and you haven’t been able to get the wines after?  The SF Vintners Market changed the way tasting events are run in San Francisco; as the first of it’s kind, they have paved the way for the federal land that Fort Mason sits on to allow special licensing to sell wine at tasting events.  Today, events like Family Winemakers and Rhone Rangers have followed suit, allowing exhibitors to sell wine at the tasting events.

Here, the Harvest Hoopla SFVM will showcase 200 wines from all over, with this tested try & buy methodology.  With wineries being added all the time, this is a not to miss event!

Tickets area available for $80 per day.  For access to the Reserve Room, tickets are $100 per day.  This year, there is an added Cult Wine Lounge, where exclusive wines will be poured.  A two day pass for the event with Cult Lounge access is $250.  Yes, tickets are a bit costly, but keep in mind that you have access to wines that you probably wouldn’t be able to taste other wise.  Additionally, keep your eyes out as the SFVM often releases tickets to flash sale sites as well (Goldstar currently has tickets available).

If you do go, please make sure to buy some wine!

Now I’ll let you in on a little secret.  If you’re interested in attending the SFVM, you can get a steal on tickets for the Craft Spirits Carnival!  Buy a ticket to the SFVM and get 70% off the CSC!  Simple use “sfvm” in the promo code box.

Happy sipping!

Carnival of Spirits

Fall is here!

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line.

To borrow a line from CAKE, I am reluctantly embracing Fall.  Somehow summer passed us by and didn’t even wave hello.

But here we are, at the end of September.  Luckily, I have a few events to keep me busy and distracted from the cold, foggy soup out there.

First up, October 13th and 14th is the first annual Craft Spirits Carnival!  Brought to you by the good folks who created teh San Francisco Vintner’s Market, The Craft Spirits Carnival promises to be a one of kind tasting room for handcrafted ultra-premium spirits.  I’m especially looking forward to it, as my bar is sadly empty, and I need to stock up on some great spirits.

Craft spirits are wildly popular, and with well known names like Charbay and Hangar One, many other producers are offering unlimited tastings (yikes!) of over 100 spirits from some of the world’s best producers.  One of the key features of this event, like the SFVM, is that if you like a spirit, you will be able to purchase that day.  This is  a unique opportunity to take that hooch home with you!

To add a special flair to the show, there will be a carnival sideshow, featuring top aerialists, trapeze acts, fire eaters, sword swallowers, knife throwers, contortionists, burlesque, and so much more. Watch these incredible performances in the middle of the largest walk-around tasting of ultra-premium craft spirits – all included in the price of admission.

Tickets for the Craft Spirits Festival are available for $125 for one day, or $200 for two days.  If you HURRY you can get the early bird discount until 11pm TONIGHT for $100!  If you are attending the SFVM, you can get a discount on the Craft Spirits Fair, but more on that shortly.
I can’t wait, and I hope to see you there!