Tasting the goods at the new Port Steilacoom Distillery

By Jackie Fender on December 13, 2012


In case you haven't notice I have bourbon fever. I've applauded local distillery endeavors and reported on bourbon dinners. Because the Weekly Volcano is an equal opportunity rag, I turn my attention to the translucent liquids.

No, no, not H2O silly. I'm talking to you vodka and gin.

As mentioned in my local distillery piece, there is a new distillery in Pierce County - Port Steilacoom Distillery. Kevin and Jennifer Laughlin Stewart opened the distillery Friday. Situated in the idyllic community of Steilacoom the Laughlin Stewarts are now concocting Chambers Bay vodka and gin from their charming distillery space.

PSD's vodka and gin have unique flavor profiles. Due to federal restrictions, craft distilleries are required to use 51 percent Washington-grown product. For most distillers, the products are grains. At PSD, Chambers Bay vodka and gin are distilled with blackberry honey and dark cane sugar. As a result, the vodka and gin are gluten free. You gluten-free kids on the crazy train can indulge with no negative consequence, ignoring bad dancing and wicked little hangovers from overindulgence. The honey and sugar combination also distinctly different flavors from many similar products. In other words, I think PSD's vodka and gin are tasty.

Chambers Bay Vodka carries a nice sweetness with a smooth clean finish. The honey and sugar lend this sweetness that is pleasant and light with just a hint of honey. The products are not syrupy, such as flavored vodka. It's mixer friendly, too.

Chambers Bay Gin also has this playful sweetness with a finish teasing with the herbal finish that lends itself to a nice aroma. I myself am not a fan of gin. Thankfully, Chambers Bay Gin lacks that uber-juniper berry flavor that can overwhelm some drinkers. Port Steilacoom Distillery uses a traditional London dry technique with its gin.

In six weeks, or so, PSD will add a rum type liquor to its product line. Though technically not rum since it's not produced from cane sugar Wicked Wind Spiced Rum will be made with Laughlin Stewarts' special recipe of spices and buckwheat honey, which consistency much like molasses.

PSD's tasting room is open Wednesday-Sunday, offering free two-ounce samples, by law, and a limit of two bottles per day.

When you visit the distillery be sure to keep a lookout for its mascot. "There's a tabby cat that is always nearby and on occasion will come in and take a seat. One day while I was labeling he jumped right up, I decided to read his little tag on his collar and get his name ... Martini," Jennifer Laughlin Stewart says with a laugh.

If that isn't a good omen, I don't know what is.


LINK: The scoop on local distilleries Heritage and Parliament