Posted on July 17, 2020
Considering the social and economic upheaval of COVID-19, there has never been a better time to shop local. It’s true that bars and restaurants have begun to reopen, but the reality of the situation is that until a vaccine or effective treatment exists, it is reasonable to expect that some people will continue to hunker down at home. Keeping that in mind, here are three San Diego spirits brands with special offerings, new flavors, and one-of-a-kind sipping experiences that no home bar should be without.
Miramar’s Cutwater Spirits launched its Rayador reposado tequila in early 2020. Since then, it’s received multiple awards: Best of Class and Double Gold at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, as well as Best of Show – First Place at the 2020 Denver International Spirits Competition. The tequila is, of course, made from agave harvested in Jalisco, Mexico, where it is then oven-cooked before fermentation, distilling, and bottling. To achieve reposado status, the tequila is then aged in Cutwater whiskey barrels, which were shipped from San Diego to Mexico. In addition to its line of spirits, the brand also sells canned cocktails (a favorite of mine). Cutwater released a new flavor in mid-June, the Rum Mint Mojito, which is its 19th canned cocktail. It includes Cutwater White Rum, pure cane sugar, muddled mint and lime, and soda water pre-mixed — ready to pop open — no mixing required.
Owned by San Diego couple Mark and Rozlyn Eicker, SinShip Spirits debuted on the market in 2018. Today, the brand boasts a silver rum but it is particularly known for its signature spirit, the 1930 Smoked Rum. The Eickers claim it is the first peat-smoked rum anywhere in the world. The inspiration came from the sinking and burning of a gambling ship called the Monfalcone off the coast of Los Angeles in 1930 — water taxis saved the crew and patrons, and transported them to another “sin ship,” where they ostensibly enjoyed “smoked” cocktails. The rum boasts burnt caramel, vanilla, cherry, anise, and coffee notes with a peaty flavor throughout.
North Park distillery and tasting room 619 Spirits has opened its doors to dine- and drink-in service, however, the brand has a special retail offer for its line of proprietary vodkas. Those shopping in the tasting room can take home a bottle of 619 Vodka for $19 a bottle with a limit of three per person. The flavors include scorpion pepper, cucumber, coffee, pickle, and my personal favorite, rose petal. Jackie Bryant