Fiddich Review Centre
Bourbon Whiskey

The best North Bay spirits for the holidays

“Pipe Dream” Bourbon Whiskey, from Redwood Empire Whiskey, Sonoma County: Named after the 14th tallest tree on Earth, Redwood Empire’s “Pipe Dream” Bourbon Whiskey ($39.99) is a blend of whiskies aged four to 14 years. The mash is heavy on corn, then rye, resulting in notes of maple and vanilla, followed by a tinge of roasted pecans, honey and a long finish. Partnering with Trees for the Future, a nonprofit that has planted more than 100 million trees around the world, Redwood Empire Whiskey plants a tree for every bottle sold— a total of 689,118 trees (and counting) since its launch in 2015. Note: It’s on sale at Oliver’s Market for $29.99, through December.

Barrel Reserve Sloe Gin, Spirit Works Distillery, Sebastopol: A recent Gold Medal and Best in Class winner at the 2022 American Distilling International Spirits Competition, the Barrel Reserve Sloe Gin ($75) from Spirit Works Distillery in Sebastopol is sure to be a hit at any festive celebration. Produced by husband-and-wife team Timo and Ashby Marshall, the gin is distilled with American red wheat, then followed by the addition of whole organic sloe berries from Europe. After resting in new charred American white oak barrels for several months, the resulting liqueur is rich and luxurious with notes of dark cherry, clove, cardamom and orange peel. Enjoy it neat, add a splash to bubbles or add to cocktails.

The Barrel Reserve Sloe Gin (and their other spirits) can be purchased online at or at the tasting room. Spirit Works Distillery is located at The Barlow, 6790 McKinley St., No. 100, Sebastopol; 707-634-4793.

California Amaro, from Young & Yonder, Healdsburg: Young & Yonder is a small craft distillery led by husband and wife Joshua and Sarah Opatz, whose chic tasting space in downtown Healdsburg offers samples of their award-winning spirits and a selection of craft cocktails. In addition to vodka, gin, bourbon and absinthe, Young & Yonder produces a citrusy California Amaro ($40) based on the classic Italian digestif, with 16 botanicals and grapefruit, orange and lemon peel for a balanced, bittersweet finish. It pairs well with a splash of club soda or in array of cocktails, although it’s traditionally served neat or on the rocks after a meal. To buy, visit or stop by the tasting room. Young & Yonder is located at 449 Allan Court, Healdsburg; 707-473-8077.

Recipes for holiday drinks

Now for the fun part, making the drinks. The following recipes, including some for nonalcoholic drinks, come from these local distillers. All recipes are for one serving.

Jolly Holiday (nonalcoholic)

2 ounces gin or 1½ ounces Free Spirits brand alcohol-free gin

¼ ounce pomegranate juice

½ ounce lime juice

¾ ounce FloraLuna Cardamom Clove Syrup

4 drops FloraLuna Smoked Salt & Pepper Bitters

Rosemary sprig and raspberries, for garnish

Add ice and all ingredients, except garnish, to a shaker tin and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a coup glass. Garnish with rosemary sprig and raspberries.

Bourbon Corduroy (nonalcoholic)

2½ ounces Free Spirits Spirit of Bourbon

¾ ounces warm spice syrup (see Note)

1 ounce pink grapefruit juice

½ ounce lime juice

Add all ingredients to an iced cocktail shaker. Shake hard and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Note: To make warm spice syrup, mix 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice mix in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool before using.

Autumn Orchard

2 ounces Griffo Stout Barrel Whiskey

¾ ounce FloraLuna Cardamom Clove Syrup

¾ ounce lemon juice

½ ounce apple cider

1 teaspoon apple butter

Sparkling apple cider

Fresh thyme sprig, for garnish

Add ice and all ingredients, except sparkling apple cider and garnish, to a shaker and shake for 10 seconds. Double strain over a large ice cube into a rocks glass. Top with a splash of apple cider and garnish with a fresh thyme sprig.

Hanson Espresso Hot Chocolate

1 ounce Hanson Organic Espresso Vodka

5 ounces hot cocoa

¾ ounce heavy cream or milk

Combine all ingredients and serve warm in a mug. Garnish with marshmallows or your favorite holiday treats.

You can reach Staff Writer Sarah Doyle at 707-521-5478 or

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