Some trip highlights: Hanger One Vodka Tasting

    For my sister’s birthday my parents took us all to the Hanger One Distillery to taste booze.  Located in an old military base building, in the middle of nowhere, and with an incredible view of the city from the parking lot, this place was truly awesome.  When we entered the building there was this old safe on display that had to have been more than 50 years old.  Inside the door of the safe, in big, old style letters: “Buffalo, NY”.  It was really cool to see and made me miss home.  Now let’s talk about some booze.

The tasting involved the sampling of 9 products:

Aqua Perfecta Pear Eau De Vie:  “Deep buttery pear, hints of spice, 15lbs of Bartlett pears in every bottle.”
Hanger One Straight:  “A blend of wheat and viognier vodka.  Smooth with a touch of sweetness.”
Hanger One Buddha’s Hand:  “Infused with exotic Asian citrus for a vibrant lemon flavor.”
Hanger One Mandarin Blossom:  “Intense floral aromas & delicate flavors make this a lovely mixer.”
Hanger One Kaffir Lime:  “Solid herbal flavors from Kaffir lime leaves pair nicely with tonic.”
St. George Single Malt Whiskey:  “It’s not Scotch!  An ethereal whiskey with hints of cocoa and hazelnut.”
Aqua Perfecta Framboise Liqueur:  “100% Raspberry.  Not too sweet, perfect on pancakes.”
Aqua Perfecta Pear Liqueur:  “Big pear flavor, subtle honeyed richness.  Wonderfully fresh with a lingering deep finish.
St. George Absinthe Verte:  “Deep, rich anise and botanicals make this the perfect way to finish the day.”
    I was never a real Vodka drinker and never knew how to place one Vodka over another in terms of their quality, but after this tasting I have a pretty good sense of what is decent.  Apparently the less alcohol you taste, the better the vodka is.  With that being noted, this was some really good Vodka.  The Pear Vodka was refreshing and smooth with really great flavor.  The others on the list were all decent in terms of quality, most would be better as a main component of other mixed drinks.  In addition to this list was a hot pepper vodka that I was not crazy about, although in a Bloody Mary it would be tasty I’m sure.  My favorite samplings were the Whiskey and the Absinthe.  I am a regular drinker of both and I considered these two hanger one products to be really impressive.  Nicole on the other hand was not a fan of either, particularly the whiskey.
    One thing I learned about Absinthe while on this tour was the correct procedure for drinking it straight.  I’ve often seen the classic procedure of the sugar cube in the fancy spoon while the water drips down on it from above, mixing it into the Absinthe.  Apparently its all complete nonsense and if you find yourself mixing Absinthe with sugar, its not good absinthe.  The proper way to drink it is to simply put ice in it until the Absinthe gets completely cloudy and there is no oil at the very top.  It usually takes a few minutes but when it is done, it is fantastic.  
The ice was just placed into this glass and you can see the whole process working its way up.
    The male host we had on the tasting was a bit hard to handle sometimes and a bit pretentious.  He had made the statement, “We are tasting the products, not doing shots.  We are very serious about this and if I catch you shooting it, your next round will be skipped.”.   The problem was that some of the pours were so skimpy that often you were trying to get the last drop which ended up appearing like you were shooting it!  So after a friendly confrontation with the host and my stepfather, the pours were jokingly more generous in fact we received extra pours of products that weren’t even on the list.  The male host gradually became pretty cool and very informative in terms of teaching us about certain samples.  Eventually we all got mildly sauced and I lost count.  The girl host was fantastic and a lot of fun.
    Overall, the trip to Hanger One was a blast and I highly recommend stopping down for a tasting.  Reservations are required so call ahead.
2601 Monarch St
(between Midway Ave & Tower Ave)
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 769-1601 

(Right to Left) Nicole, Jody (my mom), me, Henry (my stepfather), Elena (my sister), Sid
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