Alcohol....The Social Lubricant (Julz Birthday Celebration in San Francisco)

Alameda Travel Blog

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Old bank on Alameda Island

Finally…Saturday was here and it was Julz’s birthday!  I had stayed out partying pretty late the night before with my local “meet up” group friends at a local casino and then the tail end of a wine party.  I had about 4 hours sleep when it was time to get up and ready for my two hour drive to San Jose. 

 

Poor Julz had no idea what plans awaited her for her bday!  Since she doesn’t drink wine, I was on a mission to find another “girly” type outing like wine tasting.  I remembered there was a vodka distillery in Alameda (East Bay) and thought it would be fun to do a tour and vodka tasting!  

 

True to form, I was a little late picking her up but we were still doing ok on time.

Welcome to Hangar 1
  We got lost on the “island” of Alameda since all the directions I printed out didn’t have street names we could find!  We took the bridge back and forth a couple times looking for a street named “Tinker” that didn’t exist!  We finally called the distillery and they directed us to the old naval base where the distillery is located.  Whoo Hoo ��" naval base but unfortunately…the base has been closed for a number of years so no chance of eye candy sightings…or so I thought! LOL. 

 

We drove through the base and Julz still had zero idea of what we were doing.  Once we got in, we started our tastings so we could know what everything tasted like prior to the tour.  I knew they made other spirits besides vodka but wasn’t aware we were going to be tasting like 10 different things.

The birthday girl!
  YIKES! 

 

We started with two fruit fortified brandies which were yummy.  From there we moved on to four different vodkas - three of which were infused.  Unlike most infused vodkas, Hangar One uses real ingredients not artificial additives.  After the vodkas, we moved on to two whiskeys.  I am definitely not a whiskey person but the smoother ‘gateway’ whiskey one aged for about 6 years was tolerable.  After the whiskeys, we tried two herbal tea liqueurs.  The first one was yummy but the second one tasted a wee bit smokey or as Julz said “it tasted like a campfire”.  LOL. After the tea liqueurs, it was on to the fruit liqueurs.  OMG…talk about heaven in a bottle.  The raspberry liqueur was very much like the raspberry wine I had in Washington back in April.

Me and Julz ready to consume the heaven in a bottle
  It was almost syrup like and we instantly fell in love! 

 

By now, it was time for our tour to start and the guide was a girl named “Andy” who was HYSTERICAL.  The tour was long for a small production facility but she provided incredible insight to the history of the company, as well as alcohol production, bottling, and ultimately consumption.  The end of the tour was the history of Absinthe and it’s ban in the US as well as St. George Spirits being the first company in the US to reintroduce it after the ban was lifted in 2007.  The Absinthe tasting was another $10 extra but we decided to try it and see how it tasted.  It definitely was not my cup of tea and was a bit hard to swallow.

Our Whiskey Girl
  Listening to the history of the bottle label was interesting -  they wanted a picture of a crazy monkey with two femur bones pounding a drum.  They had no luck getting the label approved unless they could provide supporting documentation.  The government was concerned about the label being misleading.  Instead, they ended up with a crazy monkey holding one femur bone and a cowbell…..LOL. 

 

Toward the end of the tour as we were at the bottling line machines, both Julz and I spotted eye candy!  They had come into the tour late and one of the guys was pretty good looking.  They ended up being down on the opposite end of the bar when we did our Absinthe tasting but we had a good view (see accompanying pic of the hot guy). 

 

After trying hard to finish the Absinthe, we walked around their store area a bit and just as I was looking at a dessert cookbook by Alice someone, our own TB Alice (alicegourmet) called! LOL.

Julz and I "enjoying" our Absinthe
  What are the odds?!?!  We wandered around the store a bit, took some photos, bought some of the Rasberry Liqeuers and we were off for Julz next surprise! 

 

We stopped outside to get some photos of the SF Bay and the Bay Bridge and I was getting a bit worried since it was starting to get hazy and our evening activity was outdoors and too many clouds would ruin it!  Anyways, we got some great photos of the naval ships which are actually part of a museum - was unaware of that so that is something to check out another time when I am down in the area.  

 

As we get on the road and cross over to the Bay Bridge to head into San Francisco, I turn to get a glimpse of the Bay and spot hot guy from the vodka tasting room next to us on the freeway! Talk about strange timing - somehow they had left and not only caught up with us on the freeway but they were headed over the packed Bay Bridge into the City.

Hazy view into San Francisco from Distillery parking lot
  Whoo hoo!  They spotted us and there were some waves back and forth and as Julz and I pointed out, good grief, why didn't they say anything when we were standing 5 feet from them versus across a 6 lane toll bridge?!?!?  HA HA.  

 

After losing them back in traffic somewhere, we made our way through SF over to the Golden Gate Bridge and into Sausalito for lunch/dinner on the Bay!  I've been by the Golden Gate Bridge and over it but this was my first time actually driving it - pretty cool.  We would've stopped for pics but the lots were all full, it was kinda cold, and we were on a schedule as Julz main surprise still awaited! :D                                                           

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Old bank on Alameda Island
Old bank on Alameda Island
Welcome to Hangar 1
Welcome to Hangar 1
The birthday girl!
The birthday girl!
Me and Julz ready to consume the h…
Me and Julz ready to consume the …
Our Whiskey Girl
Our Whiskey Girl
Julz and I enjoying our Absinthe
Julz and I "enjoying" our Absinthe
Hazy view into San Francisco from …
Hazy view into San Francisco from…
Fruit fortified brandy
Fruit fortified brandy
2nd fruit fortified brandy
2nd fruit fortified brandy
Ready to enjoy some vodka!
Ready to enjoy some vodka!
The first Whiskey - aged 6 years I…
The first Whiskey - aged 6 years …
2nd Whiskey - aged 8 years
2nd Whiskey - aged 8 years
Herbal White Tea Liqueur..YUMMY
Herbal White Tea Liqueur..YUMMY
Herbal Black Tea Liqueur..not so Y…
Herbal Black Tea Liqueur..not so …
1st fruit liqueur
1st fruit liqueur
OMG..heaven in a bottle...2nd frui…
OMG..heaven in a bottle...2nd fru…
Bottoms up! :D
Bottoms up! :D
View from the tasting room back in…
View from the tasting room back i…
Whoo Hoo - sexy!
Whoo Hoo - sexy!
Original words from hangar when fi…
Original words from hangar when f…
The Firebirds logo
The Firebirds logo
Absinthe
Absinthe
The Absinthe bottle with the crazy…
The Absinthe bottle with the craz…
The Absinthe with ice as its chan…
The Absinthe with ice as it's cha…
The Tasting Room area
The Tasting Room area
The hottie from the tour....LOL
The hottie from the tour....LOL
Cheers!
Cheers!
The infused display
The infused display
The Crazy Monkey and the Absinthe
The Crazy Monkey and the Absinthe
Infused display - Mandarin Blossom
Infused display - Mandarin Blossom
The infused display - Buddhas Hand
The infused display - Buddha's Hand
Views of SF from the parking lot o…
Views of SF from the parking lot …
Other empty buildings on the base
Other empty buildings on the base
View of SF from the Naval Ship area
View of SF from the Naval Ship area
Alameda
photo by: princessbride029