OK, I know that the title here is pretty darn boring but I just couldn’t come up with anything better. Seriously. I tried a lot of variations on the word “hang” (Hangin’ in there. How’s it Hangin’? Hanging out at Hangar One. Even Hangin’ Tough.) In the end, I decided that the tour speaks for itself, and if you can’t deal with the dull title, well, that’s just too bad!
I know what you’re thinking: Who goes to a vodka tasting? Does vodka even have distinctive flavor? Let me just say that Hangar One vodka is not just any vodka. It’s small batch, hand-crafted, and made with all natural ingredients. (Yes, you know that I love all of the snooty details.) They specifically make flavors that none of the big distilleries, such as Skyy and Absolut, will make, such as Citron Buddha’s Hand, Kaffir Lime, and Spiced Pear. Their Straight Vodka tastes like a great martini, directly from the bottle.
The tasting is very special too. It’s held in an old airplane hangar (duh) out in Alameda. On the day we went, it was overcast and threatening rain — ideal for sipping spirits indoors. For $10, you get tiny sips of 10 different liquors, including eau de vie (aka European-style schnapps), vodka, whiskey, and tea-infused liquors. If the pourer likes you, s/he might give you a couple more to sample. We were lucky enough to try the first batch of their new Firelit Coffee Liqueur, which tasted like all coffee and no alcohol. And unlike Bailey’s, it wasn’t too sweet. If only it wasn’t $50 a bottle, I would’ve definitely brought some home.
For an extra $5, the tasting includes a small glass of absinthe. We got a full lesson on how to drink it (see videos) and also why it’s not crazy green or illegal. Why is it not green or illegal? I forgot. Even though I wasn’t tipsy after tasting the 10+ spirits, the glass of absinthe really pushed me over the edge. Thank goodness for the designated drivers!
My only gripe was that there wasn’t a big room with comfy seating to hang out in after the tour. They’re all business here — there isn’t a bar, nor is there a restaurant. You are welcome to bring your own food, though, and there’s a little space with a few chairs and some hula hoops.
If you can’t tell already, I highly recommend this tasting if you’re ever in Oakland. Cheers!