The Puget Sound is a unique body of water that brings together people from different environments and experiences. County by county, this metropolitan area encourages new thoughts and lifestyles to thrive and represent the Pacific Northwest. Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs has effectively established a lasting impression with their many liqueurs that resembles the role the Puget Sound has harbored.
“Salish Sea was coined by a University of Washington professor to describe the water in the Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca,” explains Sam Desner, owner and distiller of Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs. Desner chose this name for the business to pay homage to the special environment the Pacific Northwest sustains and more intimately tie the business back to its roots by maintaining a sense of locality.
Since opening in 2015, the business has expanded its craft, small-batch liqueurs, now offering 22 different varieties. When Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs first opened, Sam and his father Sandy picked out 100 different herbs to play with, and they still participate in roughly 10-15 “experimental runs” a month. When the business first opened its tasting room, the liqueurs over-achieved expectations. “The ginger liqueur sold out 2/3 of what we made in the first week,” Desner says.
Desner uses a unique cold maceration process to produce a beautiful liqueur. It’s a different process from anything else on the market. “Cold maceration is the oldest liqueur-making process and can encompass many different techniques depending on the liqueur makers,” Desner explains.
Desner’s approach requires a 40-50 step process per batch, allowing the liqueurs to age for roughly a month. Each batch starts out with a neutral, grain-based spirit diluted with water to the desired “proof.” Then it is transferred to a one gallon jug to age with pre-measured herbs or fruit. After aging, the liqueur goes through a “stirring process” every three days. “Small batches give precise control over the product,” says Desner.
Consistent control and maintenance is a top priority in order to stand out from other brands. The immense dedication Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs continues to deliver has gained them impressive recognition throughout the years. “We’ve won 12+ awards in the last two years we’ve been open,” Desner says, and if you visit the tasting room you will see why. “The flavors are simple, clean and prominent.” Salish Sea also maintains a “transparent” nature to its liqueur, ensuring everyone knows what he or she is drinking.
Salish Sea’s products are polished and tailored to be nothing less than honest, organic and original. Some steady, favorite flavors are hibiscus, ginger and nectarine. “We purchase our fruit from within the US and herbs from all over the world,” Desner says. The grapefruit comes from Florida, nectarines from Walla Walla, hibiscus from Egypt, and ginger is from China. Desner has even imported some of the most delicate lavender from France.
“We source from all over the world to ensure we get the highest quality,” Desner explains. These flavors are exceptional in cocktails and especially shine bight as marinades or dessert sauces. “All of our liqueurs have culinary applications,” says Desner. The flavors offered at Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs are endless, and Desner is confident that anyone could find something to fit his or her own palate.
Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs produce many charming libations that not only taste remarkable in a way that could not be replicated, but the business also gives back to the community. They constantly hand-out coupons in their tasting room for charity events and auctions, and they also participate in 1% for the planet.
Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs is currently distributing to 100 locations across the state including various Whole Foods and Total Wines stores. They have seen a 50% increase in sales in this year and plan on continuing an expanded production by experimenting with new flavors while still providing the fan favorites.
Stop by and pick out a couple of bottles for your next BBQ or picnic. You will delight in the playful marinades or relish an adventurous mixing in cocktails and sparkling wine in order to gain a spice or floral-focused outcome. Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs has a product that is worth tasting and coming back for more. With the support of locals everywhere, the Desners are proud to be Thurston-based and enjoy seeing the community grow.
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