by Nora Mounce
2017 has made itself at home in Humboldt County with flirtatious snow flurries dusting coastal porches and sidewalks. In case you missed the white stuff, a solid 24 hours of rain hammered home the reality that winter is here. Humboldt is a geographically isolated county, effectively walled in by the Klamath Mountains to the east, towering redwoods above and below, and the roiling Pacific to the west. This geographic quarantine means that when our national parks empty of selfie-snapping tourists each season, the quiet of Humboldt winters can be ominous. Luckily for us, several local distillers and brewers understand the need for fortitude in the grey, post-holiday weeks of January. If cabin fever has your number, put on your warmest puffy and head out for a tumbler of local spirits or a seasonal brew. Sip slowly while enjoying the peaceful quiet of Humboldt County’s winter.
Dutch & Dewey – Gin Cocktail
Carefully crafted to extract the aromas of ten botanicals, Humboldt County's first gin was released in 2016 by Dutch & Dewey. In Old Town Eureka, the friendly barkeeps at The Speakeasy serve up a soul-warming Dutch & Dewey cocktail to keep the winter blues away.
1 thin slice of cucumber, muddled
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
1 ½ oz’s Dutch & Dewey Distillery Horse Mountain Gin
½ oz soda water
Shake ingredients, except soda water, over ice. Strain and top with soda water.
Humboldt Distillery – Spiced Rum Hot Toddy
Crafting a number of libations from their distillery in Fortuna, Humboldt Distillery’s Organic Spiced Rum was literally made for a cold winter’s night. Even a college dorm kitchen should have the basic supplies on hand to mix-up a Hot Toddy.
1 ½ oz Humboldt Distillery Organic Spiced Rum
1 tbsp honey
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 cup hot water
Combine rum, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon stick in your favorite mug. Add hot water and stir. **For a little variation, try a rum hot toddy with tea. Pour hot water into mug and steep tea for 3-5 minutes. Remove tea bag, add honey, stirring to dissolve. Pour in spiced rum, add squeeze of lemon and stir.
Alchemy Distillery – Blushing Blonde Satan’s Whiskers
If you’re shopping for local spirits at Wildberries Market in Arcata, their staff has helpfully outfitted the shelves with cocktail recipes. The Blushing Blonde Satan’s Whiskers, recommended by Amy Bohner of Alchemy Distillery, was crafted by the cocktail blogger, Tortured by Thirst. Bohner recommends enjoying the libation at home in front of the woodstove.
3 oz. Alchemy Distillery ‘Boldt’ Genever style Gin
1 ½ oz dry vermouth
½ oz agave syrup
½ oz fresh lemon juice
2-3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
Mad River Brewing - Barleywine
The Mad River Brewery in Blue Lake is featuring their John Barleycorn Barley Wine 2015 Cellar Reserve this winter. A vintage brew that is only crafted during peak years, the deep golden orange beer is poured with a thick mousse. Floral aromas of honeysuckle and nectarine are balanced by clean malty flavors. Mad River’s head brewer recommends serving the Barleywine in a snifter in front of a raging fire.
Six Rivers Brewery – Spiced Pear Cocktail
In McKinleyville, the gals at Six River Brewery have crafted something extra for their beer loving patrons this winter – the Spiced Pear cocktail. Made with Espolon Reposado tequila, pear juice, agave syrup and Six River’s Chili Pepper Spicy Ale, the Spiced Pear will warm you up from the inside out. Stop by the friendly Six River Brewery any night of the week to try this very local, very grown-up version of a hot apple cider.