Review: St. George Spirits

St George Spirits
2601 Monarch Street
Alameda, Ca 94501

Absinthe. The brooding drink conjures romance, and Hemingway, and insanity. And now you can taste it—at the first decriminalized production site in the U.S. Located in a former hangar of the U.S.  Naval Base, St. George Spirits channels everything that’s fascinating about the taboo anise-flavored liquor: It’s sleek, stark, masculine, sexy.

The peeps at St. George love what they do. And it shows. The follow the Old World eau de vie distillation principles of capturing the essence of the raw materials they use to make their small batch spirits. Wasabi root, goose liver, noble fir…  no ingredient is too bizarre or exotic for a little experimentation.

The 30-year-old distillery makes spirits for all tastes: vodka, bourbon, gin, a variety of liqueurs, and absinthe. And there are almost as many options for exploring them. Drop-ins can always jump in on Basic Training (get it?) an educational, visually stimulating tasting experience, covering sips of bourbon, vodka, gin, and more for $15, any time during opening hours. There are also free distillery tours on Saturdays at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m.

More committed tasters may opt for a Friday evening Special Ops Training which includes a 5:30 p.m. tour plus a before- or after-“bonus” tasting in the upstairs private bar ($20, reservations required). Or join the distillery’s “mad scientists” for the occasional special release tasting (stop by the tasting room Wednesday through Friday to see what’s new).

Read about more things to do in Alameda.

Take the ferry to Harbor Bay, or take BART to Fruitvale and transfer to one of many AC Transit buses that link to Alameda.

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