Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ascendant Spirits, Santa Barbara's First Craft Distillery

Beers and even wines are aplenty in the lands of Southern California, but we're not exactly known for our distilleries. Not yet, anyway, but craft distilleries like Ascendant Spirits are looking to change that.

Ascendant Spirits, which is located in Buellton, is the first craft distillery (after prohibition) in the Santa Barbara area, producing moonshine, bourbon, and vodka.
I think the headliner of their products is the Breaker Bourbon. Even to drink on its own, I liked Breaker. It was smooth and balanced with enough sweetness and complexity to keep you sipping. There are notes of chocolate along with honey and spices. The bourbon, which is aged for 5 years, recently won the gold medal for Best American Bourbon that's aged less than 7 years form World Whiskies Award!
I tried playing around with cocktail recipes using Breaker. Since I didn't have any Vermouth handy at home (shame on me, I know!) or Maraschino cherries, I reached for my Roi René Rouge cherry liqueur (from Combier).
It worked wonderfully using classic Manhattan proportions (2 oz Breaker Bourbon, 1 oz Roi René Rouge cherry liqueur, couple dashes of Peychaud's bitters).

Ascendant also makes a moonshine called Silver Lightning. Obviously, this one's not for sipping but it works quite well in cocktails.

The one I have not tried but really curious about now is their caviar lime vodka. I mentioned in my Whiskey in Winter post that they brought out a caviar lime for me to see and taste.
I want to try this vodka when I go up for a tour! Oh, yeah, the distillery is open for tastings and free public tours on the weekends (Friday-Sunday), so keep that in mind on your next road trip!


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