A Portland Perks deal led me to Vinn Distillery in Portland’s Distillery Row. Vinn Distillery is a local Oregon family run business, the name “Vinn” derived from the middle name that all five of the siblings share. Their distillery is located in Wilsonville and their tasting room, open on the weekends, in Distillery Row.
What intrigued me about Vinn is that all their liquor is distilled from rice, hence it’s all gluten free. Sake is about the only experience I had with alcohol made from rice and I haven’t had any experience with distilled spirits. The tasting was educational and interesting, learning about the family history as well as the process of how each product came about.
There were four products that were served along with two mixed cocktails using their products. Mijiu Ice reminded me a bit of sherry, smooth and slightly sweet. Mijiu Fire is earthier and spicier than the Ice. It’s not like anything I had ever tasted before I found it hard to wrap my brain around what I was tasting but I really liked it. Their Vodka is made to be a sipping vodka that you could drink straight up or on the rocks. There was a clean but slightly sweet flavor and it finished smooth, nothing harsh about this vodka at all. Baijiu is similar to vodka but with much more character. The floral notes in the nose really surprised me and it was a really complex with sweet, sour and elements of subtle earthiness.
The cocktails they served introduced me to a couple of new products that I think I am going to add to my mixed cocktail recipe book. The first was a Honey Som make with the Vinn Vodka, Pok Pok Som Honey Drinking Vinegar, club soda and basil. It was so refreshing! The tartness of the drinking vinegar intermingled with the fresh basil was perfect for a hot summer day. The Baijiu Bloody Mary was delicious; Baijiu, tomato juice and J. Wilbur Bloody Mary Flavoring (also gluten-free) made one of the best Bloody Mary’s I have tasted.
I went home with a bottle of Mijiu Fire and Baijiu that day and a few ideas for cocktails to enjoy before the summer ends here in the Pacific Northwest.