In November, Greg and I went to the San Diego Distillers Guild Festival and got to taste our way through the best San Diego Distilleries. It was a fantastic night and we chatted with the distillers and owners, sipped their various drinks, and learned a lot about the local distillery scene in San Diego. Greg and I both are partial to gins and whiskeys, so we mainly tried those. That is not to say the distilleries do not offer other distilled spirits as well, we just haven’t tried as many of them.
A beverage of leisure is a serious businessShane Bowermaster
Best San Diego Distilleries
Old Harbor Distilling
I discovered this distillery, when I bought Greg a bottle of their small-batch barrel rested gins. The light amber color and the full mouthfeel made the gin perfect for sipping, rather than mixing. At the distillers guild festival, we also tried their Asian-inspired gin that contained miso and other funky ingredients. I love that they are always trying new things and adding fun twists to old classics. I am looking forward to checking out their net tasting room in Seaport Village when it opens later this year.
You & Yours Distilling Co
You & Yours is personally my favorite distillery in San Diego (so far). This distillery in East Village is not only owned by a woman, but she also runs the still. A few years ago, Greg and I did a distillery tour and tasting there and it was fantastic. We learned about the history of the company, their distillation process and got to try their gins and whiskeys. I love their Sunday Gin. It is so light and floral, it feels like a butterfly tingles your tongue. Very different from the regular Juniper-forward, bitter gins that you usually get.
Their tasting room in East Village feels modern yet cozy and is decorated with a lot of attention of detail. It is a beautiful space to meet up with friends, go on a date, or simply unwind after a long day at work.
Cutwater Spirits is the largest distillery in San Diego, kinda like the Ballest Point of Craft Distilleries. They offer a wide selection of spirits, including whiskey, tequila, rum, gin, vodka, and even mezcal. You can also find several canned cocktails on their menu that have become very popular and can be bought pretty much all over the country.
Pacific Coast Spirits
One of my favorite gins made in San Diego. We chatted with their head-distiller at the distillery guild festival and learned how they focus on small batch, sustainable distilling using local ingredients to capture the essence of California spirits. They offer a selection of Single Malt, California Bourbon, and Rye whiskeys, two gins, tequila, and brandy.
As many other distillers, the founders started out their careers in craft beer and later found their love for distilling. Their Storyhouse spirits are light and airy, sunny like a day in San Diego. From floral and citrus-y California Coastal Gin to Cucumber-Lemon or Seaside Vodka, these spirits bring you the “California Living” in a bottle.
This small Barrio Logan distillery has such a great concept. They use beer as the base for their distillation and craft some truly sustainable, but also great tasting spirits. My favorite I have tried so far was their Absinthe. It packs a punch of liquorish flavor and a warm finish. Not a spirit you see often, so I highly recommend you try this one!
Seven Caves Spirits
7 Caves makes some tasty rum, ok? Their rum is full-bodied and spicy, a great addition to any tropical cocktail or just to sip on a hot summer day. They also have a decent gin and whiskey, as well as a few canned cocktails on offer.
This North County distillery from Vista focuses on whiskey in all variations as well as a selection of bitters. They have the classics, but even more fun are the funky twists they make, like the Carolina Reaper Whiskey or the Latitude 33 Blood Orange IPA Whiskey in collaboration with a local brewery. If the drive to Vista is too much, they also offer free shipping to California residents on orders over $80.
Another Vista distillery that is worth the drive. What makes Misadventure Co so unique is the fact that they use baked goods as the foundation for their mash. Their vodka is phenomenal and even won a gold medal, but a model of sustainability. As the world’s first carbon-negative consumer good, you can feel real good about drinking this vodka. Cheers!
Mike Curphy Distillery
Peanut butter rum? To be honest, I was pretty sure I was not going to like it. But I tried to keep an open mind. It blew me away. This is such a balanced rum, with an explosion of peanut butter flavor that is so authentic, you feel like you just had the best adult version of a Reeses Peanut Buttercup. The best part? It is 100% nut-free. Crazy!
Named after a 5 mast schoner that delivered spirits up and down the coast of California during Prohibition and became known as the “Queen of Rum Row”, the distillery stayed true to its namesake. The spiced rum made by Malahat Spirits won the Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and it is seriously delicious. Try some of their innovative variations, like ginger rum, black tea rum, or cabernet barrel aged rum.
While San Diego is still known as the craft beer town in Southern California, these San Diego Distilleries show that we can do more than just beer. What is your favorite Distillery in San Diego?
Last Updated on February 16, 2022 by sandiegoexplorer