The old “tied house” ABC law essentially broke down as such: liquor companies in California were unable to sell directly to the consumer, they had to first sell to an intermediary who then turned around and sold it to you. It was thought that large manufacturing companies might not have the public’s best interest in mind when it came to selling spirits. A loophole was created for smaller companies in 2015. Small distilleries struggled to compete with the giants, and so “craft distillers” (under 100,000 gallons annually), were allowed for the first time since Prohibition to sell directly to the consumer in limited amounts (up to 2.25 liters per person). After the shutdown in March of last year, another temporary legal loophole was created, and those small craft distilleries could ship directly to you, and within specific counties, intermediaries (such as Drizly, Instacart, and Shipt) could also deliver you almost anything you wanted liquor wise. We are not sure how long this will last (it was extended for 6 months after reopening) so you better get it while you can.
So, in the interest of our community’s best interest we have taken the liberty of assembling a list of new products, all localized for your consumption, and all available for home delivery, for how long we are not sure.
Santo Spirits, Reposado tequila, $54.99, 80 proof
Spearheaded by Marin’s Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar, Santo Spirits started out with a “Mezquila” (a unique agave distillate using both blue agave traditionally used in tequila, and other agaves used in the production of mezcal). Santo then introduced a blanco tequila, and most recently has added a reposado. Important to note it was a reposado that originally put Cabo Wabo tequila on the map (Hagar’s former company). This new reposado is Santo’s original 100 percent blue agave tequila aged in used bourbon barrels for four to five months (reposados are limited to just under a year in age). Bright, herbaceous, with a touch of toasty caramel (and slightly caramel in color), one can see (literally) why reposado put Hagar on the tequila map in the first place. More info and to arrange for delivery go here: Santospirit.com
Hanson of Sonoma, Pink Grapefruit vodka, $40, 80 proof
Many flavored vodkas make the mistake of going too heavy on the flavor (often by adding sugar: allowed in trace amounts for regular vodka, and in any amount in “flavored vodka”). Hanson does not. Their Pink Grapefruit (limited to club members) is tart, citrusy and dry. Sometimes grapefruit flavors can be overpowering, but this Pink Grapefruit is a perfect whisper in the background. Try it in a Grapefruit and tonic, and summer might never be the same. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Swing by the tasting room in Sausalito and see for yourself, you won’t be disappointed. More info and to arrange for delivery go here: Hanson of Sonoma
Blackened Whiskey Batch 114: The Black Album Whiskey Pack, $59.99, 90 proof
Marin’s own Metallica has been at the whiskey game for some time now (Batch 114 should be an indicator). Their take is that BLACK NOISE™ – a proprietary system of heavy low end vibrations from Metallica’s music – which they say helps drive the whiskey in and out of the wood grain while aging in the barrel. Blackened’s Batch 114 reaches a new low end by using the heavy bottomed stylings of the groups legendary “Black Album.” I don’t know about the “science” there, but the flavor is all burnt toffee, oak, maple, and caramel, which are indeed whiskey flavors produced by barrel aging (in this case; brandy barrels). Sure, there’s also allspice, butterscotch, and honey, but those flavors have less to do with “Enter Sandman,” and more to do with the blend of bourbon and rye mash bills. Blackened Batch 114 comes in a “pack” which includes the 750ml bottle, a collectible whiskey coin and a “Snakebyte” Cocktail Booklet. Sure to sellout, get it soon, or you’ll be sure to see that maybe, something else matters. More info and to arrange for delivery go here: blackenedwhiskey.com
Square One Organic Spirits, ready to drink cocktails, $39.99 (8-pack), 7.5% abv
Allison Evanow’s Marin born Square One Spirits, was not only a pioneer in Marin based spirits making, but also a pioneer in organic spirits making nationwide. Her original vodka, as well as her cucumber, bergamot and botanical still lead the pack. But leave it to her (a one-time bartender) to not only add a line of organic mixers, but also to do the mixing for you! Available in 8-packs of 355ml cans she creates four intriguing cocktails to savor organically, literally! The four flavors are Mediterranean Pearl (with pomegranate, bergamot, and coriander), Pear of Roses (with rosemary, pear, rose and lavender), Basil Berry Fizz (with lemon, basil, and strawberry), and Cucumber Therapy (with cucumber, ginger, and rose). All as convenient as popping a top! More info and for delivery go here: Square One Organic Spirits