Now in its fifth year and hosted by the Washington Distillers Guild, Proof, the largest distillery festival in the Northwest, takes place this Saturday, July 7, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. (for those with VIP admission, you can slip in at 4:30 p.m.) at Fremont Studios. With 45 distilleries involved, it’s a tasty way to sip, sample and purchase tipples from a wide array of local craftspeople. Every year, I see old bottled friends and find fantastic fresh spirits and liqueurs. With that in mind, below are five things I can’t wait to enjoy at Proof:
Getting the scoop on new distilleries.
While I know a fair number of the Northwest’s amazing distillers, there are always ones I’ve yet to meet—and Proof is the best place to meet them. And by “meet,” I of course mean sip their products and hear their stories. A few that are new to Proof this year that I’m excited to stop by and see include Fish Tale Spirits (who make, from what I’ve read, varietal grape vodkas and brandies) and Rolling River Spirits (who have an intriguing line of aquavits, among other bottles).
Sampling Cadée Distillery’s Epic Sh*t Gin and Medusa Whiskey.
At last year’s Proof I heard whispers about an upcoming barrel-aged gin from amiable Scottish transplant and Cadée distiller and owner Colin Campbell. Since then, the whispers have come to life, and it’ll be fun to see this gin—which has been aged in American White Oak barrels that once held Cadée bourbon—available at this year’s event. Also looking forward to seeing their new Medusa, a straight bourbon that’s been matured in 10-year-old Spanish Madeira wine barrels. Plus, Colin’s accent is fun.
Trying Sidetrack Distillery’s Yuzu Liqueur.
If you’ve ever been to this Kent spot on a farm also owned by the amazing distillers (if you haven’t been, you should really stop by), you know it’s a beautiful place where they raise an extensive range of fruits and produce, which they then turn into lovely liqueurs, eau di vie and more. And now they’re introducing a Yuzu liqueur at Proof. An Asian “superfruit,” Yuzu has become a big hit in cocktails made by local bars in the last few years. You can bring that cocktailing home with this liqueur, which I’ve heard has a delicate citrus taste and a heavenly aroma.
Tasting Copperworks’ Event-Only Whiskey.
The Pioneer Square distillery, which was recently named Distillery of the Year by the American Distilling Institute, is releasing an American Single Malt Whiskey especially for Proof, and only available, I believe, that night. I know little about this whiskey—only that I’m excited it’s around, and that there will only be 100 bottles available. My guess is it’ll be like the other delectable Copperworks whiskies, and made from 100 percent malted barley and twice-distilled in Scottish copper stills.
Snacking with local restaurants.
I always believe its good idea with all the spirit and liqueur tasting to enjoy a few snacks at Proof, to maintain my equilibrium. But this year, with 20 local restaurants there, the question is what to have? Will I balance my boozing with a little ballast in the form of made-from-scratch Honest Biscuits? Swim into a little sushi from Chiso Sushi to accompany the above Sidetrack Yuzu liqueur? Indulge my sweet tooth with a chilly treat from Bluebird Ice Cream? Probably, I’ll just decide on site once scanning the many choices.
Read more about Proof, and get tickets here.