Food

Valley Shine Distillery

A spirited addition to Mount Vernon

Attend

What: Valley Shine Distillery

When: 7 pm Thu., Jun. 14

Where: 320 S. 1st St., Mount Vernon

More:

WHEN; 11am-8:30pm Tues.-Thurs.; 11am-9:30pm Fri.-Sat.; 11am-6pm Sun.

Info: http://www.valleyshinedistillery.com

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

It’s been four years since I first wrote about Valley Shine Distillery, back when it was just a part-time operation in the garage of the owners, Ben and Stacey Lazowski.

Ben credits his interest in distilling to growing up with stories of his grandfather, a bootlegger who worked for Al Capone. Gaining their license shortly after Washington state legalization, Valley Shine’s spirits were quickly picked up by the state liquor stores, and when I met them they were still in the process of expanding their offerings to include specialty liqueurs like Bonfire Toffee and Spider Bite anise.

Since then, the couple has moved their distilling operation to downtown Mount Vernon so they can include a tasting room and restaurant. The sleek, urban space just down the block from the Skagit Valley Food Co-op features a glossy wood bar and a scattering of tables in the front of the house, with the distillery and kitchen in the back (tours of the distillery are available).

If you just want to taste before buying a bottle, a flight of quarter-ounce mini-drinks will run you $7 and includes Benjamin’s Bourbon, Red X Gin, Bonfire Toffee, Limoncello, Spider Bite, Revolution Rum, and Ascension Vodka, but you can also get cocktails, beer and wine, and a full range of food.

The cocktail menu includes a drink to feature every spirit made by Valley Shine, so once you’ve been through the tasting flight you can choose your favorite. Since the bar only includes alcohol made in-house, that excludes a number of classic cocktails that depend on vermouth or amaro like the Negroni and Manhattan, but there are still plenty of good choices, ranging in price from $7.50-$10.

The Bourbon Old Fashioned is classic and nicely made, as is the Mojito and both the Moscow and the Kentucky Mule. The Skagit Sidecar is made with house limoncello and served on the rocks instead of up. I particularly enjoyed the Cucumber Gin Fizz, a refreshing tall glass of gin and soda stuffed full of fresh herbs and cucumber—a drink that would be easy to down in quantity on a hot day. I haven’t tried the Bonfire Martini, with rich toffee liqueur and cream, but one of these days I’m going to save room after dinner and go for it.

The food menu changes seasonally and trends toward light, shareable tapas-style dishes, although it’s perfectly possible to make a full meal. The winter menu included a lot of apples and nuts, while the spring menu uses plenty of fresh green vegetables.

I have recently enjoyed the Green Onion Cheese Puffs ($8), which are essentially smoked salmon mousse piled on scallion gougères, making a delightful pairing with a gin martini (available with your choice of lemon twist or blue cheese stuffed olive—I chose the olive).

Pasta with carrot sauce, peas and asparagus ($14) was disappointingly bland, as were the add-on chicken skewers ($4), but I loved the Asparagus and Spring Onion Tart ($7), a crisp pastry square filled with green-flecked cheese sauce and served with a perfect side salad of baby greens tossed with rhubarb vinaigrette.

I strongly preferred the green salad to the barley salad with mint and peas that accompanies several other main dishes, but the pastrami sandwich (made with meat from the Skagit Valley Food Co-op’s charcuterie department, Cured, $14) and the cheddar biscuit stuffed with ham ($13) were both excellent.

Whether you’re looking for a shop to buy local spirits, a place to sit and grab a drink after your shopping trip or haircut downtown, or a dinner destination, Valley Shine is a great addition to the Mount Vernon scene.

More Food...
Fall Fare
A Thanksgiving test run

Every fall, I wait until the temperatures drop before heading to the Bellingham Farmers Market to purchase locally grown garlic for planting purposes.

After waking up to a light frost last Saturday morning, I knew the time had come, and made my way to the Depot Market Square to suss out…

more »
Border Bites
Discovering Gastown

The neighborhood of Gastown is the beating heart of Vancouver BC, the locus where the city began and a vicinity tightly knit with top-tier restaurants, boutiques and interesting corners and alleyways.

Most visitors are satisfied with a photograph of Gastown’s famous steam clock, which…

more »
First, We Eat
Cookbook conversations

The photographs for Eva Kosmos Flores’ Blueberry Dutch Baby recipe make the breakfast dish look so inviting, readers of First We Eat: Good Food for Simple Gatherings from My Pacific Northwest might be tempted to sniff the page for inspiration.

Of course, another way to bring the dish to…

more »
Events
Today
Home for the Holidays

5:00pm|Ferndale Events Center

You Can't Take It With You

7:00pm|BHS Performing Arts Center

9 to 5, the Musical

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Seven Supermans

7:30pm|Heiner Theatre

Waiting for Godot

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Romeo and Juliet

7:00pm|Sehome High School Little Theatre

A Chorus Line

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Secret Agents, LOL-apalooza

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

A Chorus Line

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Gardenview Montessori Holiday Bazaar

9:00am|Gardenview Montessori

Turkey Trot with GBRC

9:00am|Squalicum Creek Park

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Willow Creek

Christmas in the Woods Open House

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

South Fork Winterfest

10:00am|Van Zandt Community Hall

Holiday at the Port Farmers Market

10:00am|Port Transit Shed

Stuff the Trunk

10:00am|Haggen stores

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am| Depot Market Square

Poetry Workshops

10:00am|Mindport Exhibits

Anything Goes Arts and Crafts

10:30am|Sumas Library

Wine and Shop Weekend

11:00am|Eagle Haven Winery

Gnocchi Class

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Needle Felting Workshop

1:00pm|Skagit City School

Coffee and Conversation with Surge Artists

1:30pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Fishboy Holiday Show

2:00pm|FishBoy Gallery

A Local Treasure

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Beatles Sing-Along and Jam

2:00pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Welcome to the 20th century

4:00pm

Pacific NW Insects

4:00pm|Village Books

Skagit Wine & Beer Festival

4:00pm|Eaglemont Golf Club

Last Call Group Reading

7:00pm|Village Books

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Sacred Heart Social Hall

A Light in the Darkness

7:00pm|Church of the Assumption

Seattle International Comedy Competition

8:00pm

Childsplay

8:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Trove Web
Tomorrow
9 to 5, the Musical

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

A Chorus Line

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

A Chorus Line

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Holiday at the Port Farmers Market

10:00am|Port Transit Shed

Wine and Shop Weekend

11:00am|Eagle Haven Winery

Sedro-Woolley Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Langar in Lynden

11:00am|Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Norah Rendell and the Lost Forty

2:00pm|Bellingham YWCA

Hope-Filled Dreams

2:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Whatcom Symphony Orchestra

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Sing-Along Sound of Music

3:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Poetry Duo

4:00pm|Village Books

Four Pair, An Evening of Duets

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Traveling with the Thurbers

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

7-UP

8:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Trove Web Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Monday
Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Bellingham Public Market

Wheelchair Gangball

3:30pm|Bloedel Donovan

Poetrynight

7:00pm|Alternative Library

Guffawingham

9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Seattle Comedy Village Books Trove Web