Seattle Hosts 4th Annual PROOF Festival

    Seattle Hosts 4th Annual PROOF Festival

    Washington state is serious about drinking. With 110 licensed distilleries it is the leader in the US. It makes sense then that the Washington Distillers Association created PROOF, an annual festival that allows ticket holders to sample a variety of local liquors and cocktails made with them, meet the distillers, taste scrumptious bites of food from local restaurants, and attend educational seminars about all things boozy.

    The event, held July 9th, has grown in both exhibitors and participants over the last four years. This year there were over 40 craft distilleries taking part, which made for a lot of spirits to be sampled, and some really charismatic and talented people to speak with.

    During the “Use the Booze” seminars, attendees learn from local experts in a series of short sessions. Botanical Bonanza was presented by local author Paul Clark and Heartwood Provisions bar manager Amanda Reed. They discussed the merits of the apéritif while serving a refreshing vermouth spritz. They also spoke about the different characteristics of many amaro (European bitter digestifs) while serving us Black Manhattans.

    Another seminar was led by Chris Elford who, with his wife, Rob Roy owner Anu Elford, is readying to open No Anchor, a bar specializing in beer and cocktails crafted with beer. His presentation gave interesting ideas on using beer as a twist in your favorite classic drinks. A Dark & Stormy made with local rum, lime, and dark stout for instance, or a Tom Collins with local gin, sugar, and a light Saison style ale. I can’t wait to try some of these when No Anchor opens in Belltown!

    Making my way around the Fremont Studios event space, I tasted a lot of delicious, locally made vodka, rum, gin, whiskey, and liqueurs. More than a few products really stood out for me and luckily festival­goers have the option to buy directly from the exhibitors.

    I fell in love with both the history and the spirits of BelleWood Distillery. The family started as an apple orchard in 1996 and has 25,000 trees where you can pick your own apples. In 2012 they started distilling and now bottle a variety of spirits including a lovely brandy. And with each bottle containing over 30 pounds of apples, I’m assuming it is healthy as well!

    I stopped by the Bluebird Microcreamery and Brewery table and found them serving up Boozy Root Beer Floats. House­made root beer combined with 2 Howls Distillery’s spiced rum, and a scoop of their own vanilla ice cream convinced me that floats are better with rum. Another wonderful, and this time non­alcoholic, sip I had was from Bradley’s Tonic Co. There were samples of Bourbon Barrel Aged Kina Tonic, which he ages in Captive Spirits’ barrels. Obviously, this would make a killer gin and tonic, but it was perfectly delicious with just a splash of seltzer.

    Mark your calendar for next July and check out their website for more details: http://proofwashington.org

    Written by Wendy Miller 
    Photo credit - PROOF, Washington