Shoebox and Salish Sea, 2 stops worth making.
Updated: Aug 14, 2019
Bright sunny day in Western Washington, couldn’t have been a better day to visit the capital city and take in some of the sites. Had a nice visit to the Olympia Farmer’s Market and spent some time at Lakefair at Heritage Park. The next stop was Shoebox Spirits in Downtown Olympia. We were greeted by Lesa and Ray and had a nice conversation about their distillery and some exciting news for them. Next month Shoebox will be moving to a much larger facility in Tumwater and will be able to expand their production capabilities. Dealing with the laws of the State of Washington as they apply to distilleries can be a pain, Ray and Lesa seem like the types to deal with them with no problems.
I tried a flight of each of their 6 spirits and was impressed by them all. First was their moonshines, regular, Tropical, Peach Pie and Apple Pie. The regular shine was smooth with a nice hint of barley. This would be nice mixed with light flavored sodas. I give it a 4.2 out of 5. Next was the Tropical shine. My wife was enjoying a Tropical Lemonade that Lesa prepared with this while I enjoyed my tasting. Tami thought her drink was very good. It has a nice fruity tone that melded well with the shine. I knew right then a bottle of Tropical Moonshine was coming home with me. I give it a 4.6 out of 5. Next was the Apple Pie shine. Like the Tropical shine, the apple and cinnamon was perfectly blended with the shine, subtle and not overpowering like some other Apple Pie flavored spirits. I give it a 4 out of 5. The Peach Pie shine, like the other flavored shines, had just the right amount of flavor. This would be nice poured over some ice cream or mixed with iced tea. I give it a 4.1 out of 5.
My last 2 tastings were the vodka and the Oly Gin. Like many vodkas, Shoebox’s is very comparable to the big selling national brands. I already have plenty of vodka at home or I would have bought some. I give it a 4.1 out of 5. Last was the Oly gin. As I have stated previously, I am not a big fan of gin but I am coming around. Before tasting the gin, Ray let me smell the blend of botanicals used in Oly gin. Very pleasant with just a hint of juniper. My first sip detected a bit of fruit in the gin, Ray said they used blueberries with the other spices. Instead of an overpowering juniper flavor, you get a light blend of spices and just a hint of the juniper. This became the second bottle of gin in my liquor cabinet. I’m going to learn to make a martini now that I have found a couple gins that I really like. I give Oly gin a 4.5 out of 5. Tami and I would like to thank Ray and Lesa for the hospitality and free flights at our next stop, count on us to be one of the first visitors to your new digs.
Our next stop was Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs in Lacey. We were informed that they had 21 different flavors of liqueurs available. My wife and I each chose 4 so we could try 8 different spirits. I will list them in the order in which we like their products. Easily the best of the bunch was the Honeybush Liqueur. It has a bright sweet taste and a mellow linger on the tongue. This would be a perfect complement with whiskey or sour mixers. We gave it a 4.8 and a bottle came home with us.
Next is the Rose Petal. It actually tastes like a rose smells. This would give a nice floral taste to any cocktail or added to brandy for a hint of niceness. We gave this a 4.6 out of 5 and like the Honeybush, a bottle in now in the liquor cabinet.
Neck and neck with the Rose Petal was the Lemongrass. This was my second favorite but Tami has a bigger say about the foofoo spirits at home. This was be a nice boost to lemonade or where I think this would shine, mixed with tartar sauce for your next fish dinner. We also gave this a 4.6. This will be the next Salish item we buy.
Next are 3 that we enjoyed but they were not what we were looking for today. Another day these might have been rated higher. Hibiscus has a nice floral taste that I think would mix well with tequila or mixed in a vinaigrette for a nice salad dressing.
Honeysuckle had a sweet earthy taste that would brighten any sour or bitter mixers. I thought this would be good in a milkshake. I really enjoyed the Red Raspberry. It has a nice subtle raspberry flavor along with an herbal kick. I think this would be good mixed with apple juice. We gave these a 4.2 out of 5.
The two at the bottom of our ratings were good in their own right and could find a place in any liquor cabinet. The Chrysanthemum starts with a flowery start then ends with a bitter finish on the back of your tongue. This would make a nice balance if mixed with something sweet. I expected a little more from the Nectarine. The fruit has strong flavor but this had more of a delicate flavor. This would be good for adding a hint of fruit flavor to any cocktail. We gave these spirits a 4 out of 5.
Hope to get some time soon for my next update, 17 distilleries in 12 days.
222 Capital Way N, Suite #111, Olympia
Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs
2641 Willamette Dr NE, Suite D, Lacey