As haunted as things may be in our towns, nothing is as spirited as our spirits. With breweries, a distillery, a winery, and a soon-to-be cidery, some people love to come here for the boos. Our artisan bartenders, brewers, and distillers are alchemists behind the bar. Every season, they whip up new potions to amaze and delight you. Pick your poison as we share some of the tastiest spirited spirits in our local haunts.
We talk about the Shelburne Hotel quite a bit during this season, and it makes sense because their haunted history is perfect for Fall. But you haven’t lived until you’ve tried their spirited spirits named after the dead.
In Annie May’s Garden harkens back to the ghostly Annie May, who haunts room 16 and the yard. Earl Grey-infused vodka is married with citrus combier, sweetened with simple syrup, and topped with a cardamom sugar rim. It’s sweet and earthy, just like our girl Annie May.
Georginna’s Landing gets its name from the lovely spirit that haunts the second-story stairwell. She tends to keep to herself, but we think she may be a bourbon drinker. Bourbon and cherry heering play nicely with brown sugar and cinnamon simple syrup. Angostura bitters give it a little edge, and the cherry on top is, in fact, a Toschi cherry. It’s low-key and delightful, just like Georginna.
Nina’s Spirit is a little playful. Known as the ghost who mischievously pokes guests during their hallway strolls, her spirited spirit is a gin. Mixed with crème de violette, luxardo maraschino liqueur, and lemon, this cocktail has a ghostly pallor with just a little zip. Like Nina, it’ll give you a playful kick.
And finally, we all can get Under the Stairwell with George. George is the former maintenance man and the grumpiest of the Shelburne ghosts, but his drink sure goes down smoothly. Gin, kuma turmeric liqueur, orange, vermouth, and cherry juice blend together for a beverage that keeps things ticking on the inside.
In addition to their ghostly hooch, Shelburne’s infamous Classic Absinthe is divine. A shot of Pacifique Absinthe Verte Supèrieure flows over a sugar cube on a slotted spoon. Ice-cold water slowly drips from the elegant absinthe fountain until the cube’s sweet granules dissolve. You’re ready to dance with the Green Fairy when the mixture turns from transparent green to a cloudy pale sage.
Castaways Seafood Grille
When the history of your property includes a former house of ill-repute, it stands to reason that you can make a good drink. Castaways Seafood Grille is shaking up some spirited spirits that help the sin go down easy.
Go bottoms up with their Ginger Pear Bourbon-tini. Their Buffalo Trace bourbon slow dances with pear syrup and ginger. Golden sweet honey syrup slow dips with lemon juice for a seductive flavor tango that delights your taste buds.
Take a sip of their Apple Butter Old Fashioned. A shot of Bulleit bourbon pairs with apple butter, cardamom bitters, and seasonal apple cider. Finished with a cinnamon sugar rim, this new twist on an old classic will have you feeling festive and fine.
Gather ‘round their Campfire, which is vanilla vodka, creme de cacao, chocolate Baileys, topped with a toasted marshmallow and graham cracker rim. Ghost stories sound so much better with this grown-up take on S’mores.
Tie on a Cranberry Hot Toddy. Brandy, Adrift spiced cranberry liqueur, honey simple syrup, muddled lemon, and hot water create a warm hug for your insides.
Or slide into their Pumpkin Spiced Mule. A concoction of Captain Morgans, pumpkin syrup, lime juice, and ginger beer rally together in a combination that is anything but basic.
Salt Hotel & Pub
Sitting pretty along the peaceful waterfront of the Port of Ilwaco is Salt Hotel & Pub. A coastal eatery known for its fresh seafood and upscale pub fare, Salt’s bartenders know a thing or two about mixing spirited spirits into delicious cocktails.
Dive headfirst into their Pulp Figtion. Housemade fig jam lovingly mixes with triple sec, lemon juice, and agave simple syrup. It’s so smooth that it should come with a groovy soundtrack.
Get cozy with their seasonal Hot Buttered Rum. Butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and a secret blend of warming spices snuggle up to make you feel warm all the way down to your toes.
Or grab a caffeine buzz with their Espresso Martini. Your martini is made-to-order, so it can be as sweet or as bold as you like.
North Jetty Brewing
Though technically not a spirited spirit, North Jetty Brewing’s seasonal beers are so good they can raise the dead. Fanatic fans of the brewery wait all year for two of their delicious autumn brews to be released. Canned, complete with wild art by Freshwater Bay Creative, the two annual beers are ghoulishly delicious.
Graveyard of the Pacific is a full-bodied Imperial Red that harnesses the wild and relentless rhythm of the coastline. Rich doses of Amarillo, El Dorado, Simcoe, and Columbus hops give the beer a hardy aroma and flavor. Citrus steers the vessel with surprisingly gentle notes of passion fruit and floral that tug along behind. Patinaed from chocolate, honey, and crystal malt, this beer is not lightweight at 10.4% ABV.
If you’re more of an IPA fan, get your paws on their Keelhauled IIIPA. A triple-hopped IPA rounds out with a giant double dry-hopping of Simcoe. Packing a whopping 10% ABV, this brew lives up to its name. You’ll need to get your sea legs after a few.
And while it’s a year-round beverage, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention their flagship IPA, Boneshaker. With a perfect name for the season, its iconic skeleton pirate will give you chills. Your timbers will shiver with its berry and citrus notes. This tried-and-true IPA is no hidden treasure.
It wouldn’t be Fall without the region’s cranberry harvest. Our tart, ruby berries are the star of the show in Adrift Distillers Winter Spiced Cranberry Liqueur. This seasonal version gets warmed with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, cardamom and blended with orange peel. Grab a bottle and become your own sorcerer bartender with one of their easy recipes.
Our local curiosity cabinets are bursting with the wickedest spirited spirits in the land. Bring your empty cauldron down to one of our coastal haunts. We’ll put a spell on you.
By: Danelle Dodds
Danelle is an international traveler, road tripper, writer, and artist. She firmly believes in testing the limits of word count, mileage, and AYCE sushi.