Highlights from the San Diego Spirits Festival

Michael says:  A couple weeks ago, San Diego was ground-zero for all things liquor thanks to the San Diego Spirits Festival. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it so I asked Annalise to attend and document her experience.  I told her I would be jealous ONLY if I wasn’t going to an all inclusive resort in the tropics.  Let’s find out how things went.  Take it away, Annalise!

Annalise, center, poses with some of the product reps.

On Saturday, June 5, I ventured down to San Diego to attend the Second Annual San Diego Spirits Festival at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel’s Waterfront Park. The festival consisted of many different vendors featuring a variety of spirits including vodka, rum, scotch, tequila, and other miscellaneous types. It was a beautiful day for the festival and the Hilton Bayfront Hotel was a wonderful venue for it.

Pinky Vodka's Pinky Swear

I started off the day with a Pinky Swear from Pinky Vodka which was a mix of orange and cranberry juice, club soda, fresh lime juice and Pinky Vodka. It was a very refreshing drink and a great example of how the vodka mixes well with fruits to bring out the botanical flavors that make Pinky Vodka unique. This was my first time trying Pinky Vodka and I can say that I will be having some more of it! It has such a unique taste and makes a great mixed drink.

My next stop was the Midori booth where I tried the Midori Summer Refresher created by Cent’ Anni Cocktails. It was a mix of Midori, Sky Vodka, Skyy Ginger, pineapple, lemon, basil, and peppermint oil. This was a uniquely flavored drink, but probably my least favorite of the day. It didn’t have as much flavor as a lot of the other drinks that were showcased throughout the day.

I was able to try out a few more vodkas during the day, Svedka Vodka and 2nite Vodka. Of the two, Svedka was my favorite, as they have many four different flavors: Original, Clementine, Citron, and Cherry. We tried the cherry mixed with some Hansen’s lemonade and it made a great cherry lemonade drink. On a hot summer day, this would be a great drink to make; it was refreshing and light!

The Svedka Line Up: (from left to right) Original, Clementine, Citron, and Cherry.

The most unique booth at the festival I feel featured scotch and chocolate pairings, put on by the minds behind Sip Smoke Savor. Their web site focuses on pairings of scotch, chocolate, and cigars; they only featured the first two at the festival.

Now, I am not a scotch drinker, but I do love chocolate, so I wanted to see how these two paired. We were able to try two different scotches with two different chocolates and my favorite was by far the smoky scotch paired with the chipotle flavored chocolate. They were both very unique in flavor yet paired very nicely with each other. If you are a scotch drinker, I would highly recommend this site for their articles on how to pair scotches with chocolates and cigars.

Agwa Coca Leaf Liqueur

There were lots of different booths that I stopped by but the last one, and my favorite, was the Agwa Coca Leaf Liqueur. A versatile liqueur, it can be used to make almost any kind of drink that you want. It is made of the coca leaf and has a flavor that makes a great mixer. I was able to try it three different ways: as a shot, in a traditional mojito, and in a berry mojito. The two mojitos tasted great with the Agwa in them. They also had margaritas, bloody Mary’s and other drinks with Agwa mixed in.

Overall, the day was a great success filled with good people, drinks and food. All of the vendors were informational and I enjoyed hearing about all of the different spirits and how they were unique in their own way. I’m excited to try some of the spirits at home and make my own drinks for the summer!

Agwa Coca Leaf Liqueur takes "Best in Show".

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About the Author

Annalise is a foodie at heart. While known to search out the best macaroni and cheese where ever she may venture, she also enjoys the finer things in life such as a nice glass of Cabernet Franc. You can often find her saying, "The way to my heart is through chocolate.....and cheese!!"

7 Responses to “Highlights from the San Diego Spirits Festival”

  1. I’m 37 and never had vodka. Is now a good time to try??

  2. YES! 😀

  3. Great post Annalise. It sounds like you had a good time at the festival. Maybe I will check it out next year! I am not a fan of Pinky Vodka straight. It would be interesting to taste it in a cocktail. I might have to add a little vodka to my next glass of lemonade…lol

  4. Ah HA! So this is where that pink vodka came from. TKS for the sample. GREG