Tequila Fest This Weekend, Wildwood Spirits to Open & More Tasty News

Your roundup of important bar news
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From tequila and vermouths coming to town and local cider expanding to different cities, plus a brand-new distillery on the horizon, it’s a fantastic time for local spirit and liqueur lovers, as evidenced in the news sips below. Here’s a big cheers to all who make our drinking life such a flavorful one.

Northwest Tequila Fest

Enjoy a little bit of Mexico this Saturday, August, 9, as Northwest Tequila Fest takes place at the Phinney Neighborhood Center from 3 to 8 p.m. It’s the biggest tequila and mezcal tasting in the Northwest, but it involves way more than just sipping spirits. At the fest there'll also be live music from the Mariachi Fiesta Mexicana and Supersones, beers from Tecate and Dos Equis, cocktails using the signature spirits (I actually get to be a judge at the cocktail contest–be jealous now–and the winner gets a trip to Mexico), education, snacks from Poquitos, Agave, and Calle and much more. Of course, the tequilas and mezcals are the highlight, with approximately 140 different versions to try and test and taste, including El Tesoro, Montelobos Mezcal, Tapatio, Los Altos, Cazadores, and last year’s “Best Mezcal” winner Wahaka Mezca. Tickets for the festival (of which there are different levels) all include tasting tokens to sample tequila, mezcal, beer and cocktails. Also, a portion of all ticket sales and tax-free retail sales (yep, you can buy tequila and mezcal there, too) benefit the Seattle Benevolent Guild.

Seattle Cider Company Now Available In Illinois

I'm going to a wedding in Illinois in about a month, and all I’ve been able to think about is: how will I get the awesome cider I’ve grown accustomed to here in Seattle? Well, luckily, I don’t have to worry any more as Seattle Cider Company’s ciders are going to be in Illinois starting August 15. The company’s nicely dry ciders will be found in restaurants, bars and stores, in 16-ounce cans, 22-ounce bottles and on draft. The lineup will include a wide range of ciders, too, from its Dry and Semi-Sweet to seasonal numbers like the PNW Berry (which uses local raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries) and Pumpkin Spice. It’s fantastic to see our local producers spread their wares outside the state borders, and continue to spread the word that Washington makes the best beverages anywhere.

Spanish Vermouths in Seattle

One of the great things about the local cocktail and spirits boom is the tasty local products being created in state. But it's also amazing that tasty imbibibles are being imported from locales all over the world. For example, Fasel Shenstone importer (one of its two offices is in Seattle), recently began bringing amazing Spanish vermouths into our bars and stores. I have to admit, I didn’t know much–if anything–about Spanish vermouth until this happened. Now I’ve been able to test out the Yzaguirre Dry Reserva and Rojo Reserva, for a start, and have been loving the former’s smidge of sweet and the latter’s rich herbalness. And there are even more new Spanish vermouths I have yet to try that are now here, including the Lillet-y Yzaguirre Blanco Reserva and the Lacuesta line, not to mention the Macino vermouths on the way. Every new bottle of good spirits and liqueurs is just one more way for cocktail lovers to enjoy their evenings.

Wildwood Spirits Opening in November               

It’s always exciting to hear about another new distillery in the area–more spirits made with care right in our state is a good thing! While November seems a way off, you should still get excited now for Wildwood Spirits. With Erik Liedholm, who recently received a certificate in distilling from the prestigious Institute of Brewing & Distilling in London, and Chef John Howie at the helm, Wildwood is sourcing 90 percent of the produce being used to make its spirits in Washington state. It’ll open with two spirits, the dry, English-style, Kur gin and Stark Vatten vodka, both of which have already received awards.