If you are Working Babes like us, you take advantage of any three-day weekend you get. So, in true Babe fashion we decided to skip town and head to Santa Cruz, California, for the long MLK Jr. Day weekend. And boy, are we glad we did.
We’d done a little research before setting out, but hadn’t had much luck in terms of Santa Cruz whiskey tips. Luckily, once we got to town we made friends with some locals who let us in on a few hot spots, and we figured it only fair to share the knowledge!
Venus Spirits was our main pre-meditated destination on our Santa Cruz adventure, thanks to a handy 7×7 article we stumbled across ahead of time. We reached out to Venus and the owner, Sean, offered to have us in for a tasting and tour.
We tried their suite of gins, agaves, and whiskeys, and had a hard time picking a favorite! They offer a rye and single malt whiskey (with bourbon coming soon), and their Gin No. 2 and El Ladrón Reposado are aged in whiskey barrels, giving them that amber color and hint of whiskey flavor.
Tastings are $15 a flight and you get to keep the glass.
Our first night in town, we took a tip from our Airbnb hostess and headed to 515 Kitchen & Cocktails. Smartly, we also listened to the lady we sat next to at the bar who let us in on a little secret: We could tell the bartender what we liked in a cocktail and he’d make us a custom drink. Yes, please! They charge you for whatever alcohol you get, plus $3 for the creativity.
We ventured into Hoffman’s Downtown the next rainy afternoon, and the bartender treated us to a sample of Seven Stills’ Fluxuate and Chocasmoke. Hoffman’s stocks many other whiskey options as well, including local favorites from Venus Spirits.
If you want to take a break from the whiskey, check out Poet & Patriot. An Irish pub with live music, it’s a cozy spot to relax for a pint and a listen. Not to mention, they have the most interactive coasters we’ve ever seen.
Also check out: The Red Room. We enjoyed too many Michter’s while we were there to be bothered with pausing for pictures, but with over 100 whiskeys, this bar is worth a stop-in. Be sure to mosey downstairs for the more mellow crowd.
NON-BOOZY BOURBON EXPERIENCES:
Verve Coffee makes a mean whiskey latte using house-made Bulleit simple syrup.
Also check out: The inspiration for Verve’s whiskey latte, The Penny Ice Creamery, and their whiskey custard ice cream. We didn’t make it in to try the ice cream, but it’s on the list for next trip.
BONUS TRAVEL BABE TIP:
Pack your own Duke’s Meats jerky to tide you over in between meals, but don’t leave it where the cat can get it.
Travel Like a Babe is a series focusing on whiskey travel tips for destinations around the globe.
Been to any of these spots? Have somewhere we need to check out next time we’re in town? Let us know in the comments.
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