San Diego Distilleries Are Making Holiday Spirits Bright

Old Harbor

Cruise passengers may already be familiar with the more than craft 150 breweries in San Diego, but a new batch of beverage producers is creating another craft boom, according to the Tourism Authority. Several distilleries have opened around the city, offering visitors tours and tasting rooms to sample one-of-a-kind spirits.

You & Yours Distilling Co. owned by Laura Johnson in downtown San Diego’s East Village, is the only woman-owned distillery in Southern California. Visitors can sample garnished vodka and gin cocktails in its tasting room. Tours are also available.

Fruitcraft – Fermentary + Distillery in uptown’s Hillcrest neighborhood features fruit brandies on tap, including pineapple, pomegranate, mango, cranberry and pumpkin spice. In addition to its tasting room, open Wednesday through Sunday, guests can enjoy a food menu of appetizers, flatbreads and more.

Seven Caves Spirits features a new tasting room in Miramar where visitors can sample handcrafted small-batch rums including its barrel-aged rum—a bronze medal winner from the American Distilling Institute—and a New Orleans-inspired rum made from sugar and molasses sourced from Louisiana. Future spirit releases will include rums finished in bourbon and rye barrels, single malt whiskey and gins. Tastings and tours are available by appointment.

Co-sponsored by Seven Caves Spirits, the Maritime Museum of San Diego’s new exhibition, Rum: Sailors, Pirates and Prohibition, is currently on display through 2018. The new interactive exhibit tells the story of the new world’s first distilled spirit, from its origins on 17 th century Caribbean sugar cane plantations to today’s trendy cocktail lounges. Using exhibits, artifacts and 3D displays, visitors can uncover stories of pirates, American and British sailors and San Diego smugglers.

Cutwater Spirits’ 50,000 square-foot facility in Miramar produces small-batch liquors including habanero and horchata-flavored vodkas—reflecting San Diego’s signature Cali-Baja flavors—as well as whiskey, bourbon, gin, rum, an herbal liqueur and canned cocktails. Complimentary tours are offered daily.

Old Harbor Distilling Co. in the East Village utilizes produce picked from local farms for its San Miguel Southwestern Gin. Other signature spirits include its Ampersand cold-pressed coffee liqueur and “Navy strength” Barrelflag Rum.

Featuring a tasting room designed after the Prohibition-era, Southern California rumrunner ship it’s named for, Malahat Spirits Co. in Miramar is a distillery for rum drinkers. The distillery produces spirits infused with ginger, black tea and spices, as well as a specialty rum aged in a cabernet barrel. Tastings and tours are offered Friday and Saturday.

Visitors wishing to take home a souvenir of their spirited tour of San Diego or simply jazz up their home bar can shop for cocktail-related items at the new Collins & Coupe Cocktail Supply Co. in North Park. Opened in November, the industrial-style store is stocked with barware, vintage glassware sets—ranging from stemware to tiki mugs—bitters, syrups, stirrers and more.

Expected to open in early 2018, Raised by Wolves in La Jolla’s Westfield UTC will be a destination shop for cocktail aficionados, selling rare spirits and carefully curated barware alongside an in-shop cocktail bar and tasting room.

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