The Spirits of Snohomish County, WA

Photo © Carrie Uffindell

by Carrie Uffindell

Bordered by the Puget Sound’s moody waters to the west and rugged Cascade peaks to the east, Washington’s scenic Snohomish County (roughly 16 miles north of Seattle) is now home to five independent, family-owned distilleries. Clustered in the cities of Everett, Marysville and Snohomish, these passionate distillers welcome visitors to stop by their tasting rooms and sample their handcrafted spirits.

The Red Door Distillery

For the county’s newest craft distillery, owners Aaron and Andrea Wadsworth invoke an early American tradition of welcome with their red-painted door. Inspired by wife Andrea’s passion for sipping vodkas, Aaron uses soft winter wheat from the nearby Skagit Valley to craft a light, creamy vodka. In the works are a corn-based whiskey, a gin and several flavor-infused vodkas, all showcasing Washington-grown products.

Bluewater Organic Distilling

Owners John and Jessica Lundin handcraft a smooth sipping vodka, a 100-proof vodka, and a citrus-forward dry gin using USDA-certified organic wheat, alpine Cascade water, and copper kettle distilling techniques. Located in Everett’s bustling marina, the tasting room and distillery offer flights and cocktails. Check out master distiller John’s three impressive Moorish-style copper alembic stills, where he refines all his spirits.

Dry County Distillery

A former beer and winemaker, Howard Johnson took his libation-crafting skills to the next level by opening a distillery with wife Jennifer two years ago. In addition to their clean, grain-based vodka and botanical-flavored gin, the Johnsons make an award-winning anise-flavored liqueur and an apple pie liqueur. You can also pick up a white (non-aged) whiskey or rum and a small wooden barrel to age it at home.

Skip Rock Distillers

In a 19th century brick warehouse, master distiller Ryan Hembree and his wife Julie craft their creamy, full-flavored vodkas from Skagit Valley Yukon gold potatoes. The black peppercorn-flavored vodka is warm and peppery but without the bite. Whiskey lovers will enjoy Skip Rock’s two elegant and flavorful rye-based whiskies, perfect for sipping. Other products include a white whiskey, fruit liqueurs and an aged bourbon.

Dark Moon Artisan Distillery

Husband and wife team John Dawson and Kathy Alley offer several unique libations, all crafted from Washington apples. Their Singing Whale Vodka is clean yet filled with herbal notes while Turtle Island is a clear, rum-style spirit with a light caramel finish. Apple Knocker is a flavorful mix of their vodka, apple cider and cinnamon. Dark Moon’s striking labels and unusual name pays homage to Pacific Northwest history and John’s Choctaw heritage.