The perfect drink always starts with the perfect pour of spirits. And the spirits are pretty perfect when they come from J.J. Pfister Distilling Company located right here in Sacramento!
J.J. Pfister Distilling Company is Sacramento’s only organic “farm-to-glass” distillery. To be an organic distiller, the products produced in the distillery have to be made from all organic ingredients. Also, there can be no pesticides or any other non-organic chemicals used in the distilling process.
Andy and I were invited to a media event at the distillery last month and treated to a spread of hearty appetizers, special cocktails, spirits tasting, and a behind the scenes look at how grain and potatoes turn into some of our favorite adult beverages!
Since this is a food blog, let’s take a look at the tasty vittles the people at J.J. Pfister provided for us, BEFORE I tell you about the distillery and its history. There was a gorgeous fruit and vegetable tray with hummus, gluten free crackers, potstickers, a charcuterie tray, a cheese platter, buffalo chicken skewers (a personal favorite), meatballs, caprese salad skewers, shrimp cocktail in phyllo cups, and even a few things for those with a sweet tooth. No thank you, I’ll have more vodka, please.
OK, enough with the food. Now let’s talk about what we really came for: the spirits! To best showcase the Capitol Gin made at J.J. Pfister Distilling Company, we were served a special cocktail called “Gin-gle Bells” The gin was combined with pomegranate honey, lemon juice, and apple cider, and packed a punch with its spice and herbaceousness. If you’re interested in trying it, the recipe is below.
• 2 cups raw honey
• 1 cup water
• 6 bags rooibos chai tea
.75 cups pomegranate molasses
Make pomegranate-rooibos honey. Combine honey and water in a saucepan on medium heat until incorporated. Add tea bags and let steep for 1 hour. Remove tea bags, add pomegranate molasses, and stir. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Combine gin, pomegranate-rooibos honey, lemon, and cider in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain mixture into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with apple slices and freshly grated cinnamon.
Though I love a good cocktail, I preferred the gin straight. It was interesting to taste and smell the ingredients: juniper, orris root, angelica, cardamom, cubeb berries, coriander, lemongrass, fennel seed, and lavender (aka botanicals, above) used to make the gin.
After sampling the food and drinks, we were taken on a brief tour of the production facility. While on the tour, we learned that the gin is actually made from an ultra-premium rye vodka base and the botanicals are later added in.
The machine below processes potatoes. Did you know it takes 15 pounds of potatoes to produce just one fifth of J.J. Pfister’s Potato Vodka? The potatoes are, of course, organic, and grown in Klamath Basin in Oregon.
The pipe-organ looking apparatus above is called a “Rectifying Column Still”. It has partitions that set up chambers within the still. As the still is heated from the bottom by pumping steam into the bottom and letting it rise, the mash enters at the top and sinks toward the bottom. As the liquid encounters the steam, the heat vaporizes the mash and forces the alcohol up the still. Each time the vapors reach another partition, they get rid of more and more water and grain solids, and eventually become ethanol. The ethanol comes out of the top of the still and transferred into a condenser to become liquid again. Sound confusing? Luckily, we don’t have to make it, we can just drink it!
The name J.J. Pfister comes from owner Kevin Keck’s great-grandfather. J.J. Pfister was born in Switzerland in 1844 and learned the knitting trade with his brother Henry. By 1876, J.J. had moved to the United States and started a business in a one-room factory (in which he also lived) knitting stockings, mufflers, and wristlets to sell on Market Street in San Francisco. This tiny operation eventually grew, and by 1916 the company was making their signature garment, the knit shoulder to knee swimsuit. J.J Pfister also made sweaters, knit caps, baby clothes and athletic apparel. If you tour the facility (which I highly recommend you do), you will see several pieces of clothing they produced.
Fast forward to 2015. By this time, Kevin Keck is a retired physician and his son Brian has earned graduate degrees in both Chemistry and Viticulture and Enology. The men decide to open their own distillery with Brian as Master Distiller. Their new business needs a name and the Kecks decide on J.J. Pfister Distilling Company in honor of their family patriarch, and to carry on his legacy and dedication to excellence.
Very soon, J.J. Pfister Distilling Company will launch other spirits, such as rum, bourbon, and rye whisky. For now though, they have their vodka and gin for sale in their tasting room. If you are still looking for Christmas gifts, they have holiday packaged bottles ready to go, and a portion of sales goes to both the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge and the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex in their missions to restore and preserve habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife. You can also find their spirits for sale at Total Wine & More and Nugget Markets. Click here to see a full list of locations, including restaurants, where J.J. Pfister spirits are available.
J.J. Pfister Distilling Company is located at 9819 Business Park Drive in Sacramento, and is open for touring and tasting on Fridays from 3-6pm and on Saturdays from 12-6pm. To schedule private events or tastings please call (916) 672-9662.
The 28th Annual Curtis Park Wine Tasting, Silent Auction & Beer Garden returns on Saturday, October 6th, 2018 from 4-7pm. I am honored to be a part of this year’s planning committee, helping to organize some of my favorite local restaurants and wineries for my Curtis Park neighbors and for my husband, who I met at this event in 2011.
This year’s event will feature a special ticket for VIP is available (which includes admission at 3pm for an extra hour of wine sipping and tasting galore). We are proud to announce our VIP Restaurant sponsor will be one of Sacramento’s newest and (hottest) restaurants, The Diplomat, located directly across from our State Capitol building! The VIP wine sponsor will be Ironstone Vineyards.
Returning to support this year’s event are Curtis Park Wine Tasting veterans Selland’s, Dad’s, Espresso Metro, Miso Japanese, La Famiglia Catering, Gunther’s Ice Cream, Casa Garden, Sugar Plum Vegan, and Oak Cafe as well as the culinary students from American River College (under the tutelage of the amazing Chef Roxanne O’Brien).
New to the event this year (so far!!) are Cellar Door Platters (a custom charcuterie, fruit, and cheese platter creation service), Seasons 52, Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, Burgess Brothers BBQ (Antojito’s), Thai Farm House BBQ & Bistro, Buffalo Pizza and Cornflower Creamery, and Adamo’s Restaurant!
Wineries set to participate are Revolution Wines, Moniz Family Wines, Tryphon Vineyards, Matchbook Wines, Seka Hills Winery, Steiner Family Vineyards, and Via Romano Vineyards. If you’re a cider fan, we’ve got Two Rivers Ciders coming, and as always Pangaea Bier Cafe‘s Rob Archie will coordinate his fabulous Beer Garden for all the brew lovers out there.
I have intentionally tried to reach out to restaurants that produce food that not only pairs with wine, but restaurants that will give this event more variety and make it more culturally diverse. If we all have one thing in common, it’s that we need to eat to live. Food can be a great connector to people who have different backgrounds. I feel this event is a great way to taste and get introduce Curtis Park residents to restaurants they might not normally seek out on their own. As one of my favorite travel hosts (and star of Netflix show “Somebody Feed Phil”) Phil Rosenthal says, “Food is the great connector for me, laughs are the cement. It’s all about getting to know people.” Yes!
Proceeds from the SCNA Wine Tasting, Silent Auction and Beer Garden help support upkeep and maintenance of the historic Sierra 2 Center and Senior Center, community events like the Spring Egg Hunt, Music in the Park and Curtis Fest. Additional funds go toward Bret Harte’s 6th grade Nature and Science Camp and the McClatchy HISP program and the debate club.
We are still looking for restaurants and wineries who want to showcase their food at the event, and particularly restaurants/wineries to represent different cuisines/wines throughout the world. If you are interested in participating, please contact me by calling 916-612-0035 or email me: misscavegrrl at gmail.com!
For information about participating, donating or volunteering, you can also contact Terri Shettle at the Sierra 2 Center, 452-3005. No prior event planning is necessary, and it is a great way to connect with neighbors and support your community.
I can’t believe it’s been five years since I met Andy at the Curtis Park Wine Tasting and now we live here in Curtis Park together. We are really looking forward to taking our annual walk over to the Sierra 2 Center in a few weeks to enjoy food, wine and friends. 🙂 If you’d like to read how we met at this event, you can click HERE.
I am happy to share information on this event (which happens to be one of the BEST food and wine tastings of the year in Sacramento) put together by the Sierra 2 Center and I hope you will join us for the 26th Annual Curtis Park Wine Tasting! -cg
The 2016 Curtis Park Wine Tasting, Silent Auction & Beer Garden Event promises to be one of the best ever! In it’s 26th year, the event boasts more than 20 of the best restaurants in Sacramento, more than 50 wineries, and the always popular Beer Garden orchestrated by Pangaea Bier Cafe & Bottleshop. We will have special demonstrations by culinary students of American River College and Oak Cafe along with hundreds of silent auction and raffle items.
The annual Curtis Park Wine Tasting, Silent Auction & Beer Garden Event is the largest fundraising event for the Sierra 2 Center and Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association. Proceeds from the event help us fund artistic, cultural, educational and recreational activities at Sierra 2 Center and throughout Sacramento, including the operations of the Senior Center and community building events. Additional beneficiaries of this event include Bret Harte Elementary School and C.K. McClatchy High School. The event’s success helps fund many different important community activities.
Online ticket sales will close at 11:59pm on Oct. 5. After Oct. 5: $60 all. REGISTER FOR TICKETS HERE.
Online tickets available until 11:59pm, Oct. 5. After Oct. 5, tickets available at Sierra 2 Center office and at the door the day of the event. Tickets are also available for purchase by visiting the Sierra 2 Center office at 2791 24th Street or by calling 916-452-3005 prior to 5:00 p.m. Friday, October 7, 2016. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door prior to the event.
Fundraiser Benefits the Volunteer Center of Sacramento’s 50th Anniversary
Sacramento, CA –The Volunteer Center of Sacramento (VCS) will hold “Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Bubbles and Bling” on Friday, April 20 from 5:30-9pm at the Crest Theatre in downtown Sacramento as part of its 50th Anniversary campaign!
The celebratory event will include desserts, appetizers, champagne and wine, a huge silent auction, a fun photo booth with a Breakfast at Tiffany’s backdrop, live music by The Honey Trees and of course a viewing of the classic movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” on the big screen. Doors open at 5:30pm and the screening begins at 7pm.
To celebrate our role in the community of supporting other non-profit organizations, we have partnered with the Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Center and the California Youth Crisis Line. All three non-profits will benefit from this fun night out.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through the Volunteer Center of Sacramento by calling (916) 567-3100 or online by visiting www.volunteersac.org. Call us to avoid the online convenience fee!
“We are excited about celebrating our 50th Anniversary, however, community support is essential for the success of this fundraiser,” said Frank Kennedy, VCS Executive Director. “We have strengthened the Sacramento community through volunteerism for the past 50 years and we look forward to strengthening it for 50 more.”
To find out more about the fundraiser, how to purchase tickets, or how you can help, please contact us at (916) 567-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Volunteer Center of Sacramento
Founded in 1962, the Volunteer Center of Sacramento works to strengthen the Sacramento community by connecting volunteers with opportunities to serve. We also run several programs such as BirthdayMAGIC which coordinates birthday parties for children in homeless shelters, Adopt-A-Family which provides food and gifts to struggling families during Christmas and our VolunTEEN series which offers fun and easy 3-hour projects for youth in need of community service hours. Visit www.volunteersac.org to learn more about the Volunteer Center of Sacramento.
Some of the best movies I have seen in the past few years have been all about food!!
More specifically, documentaries about our food and its production and distribution.
Needless to say, the inaugural Sacramento Food Film Festival is right up my alley! It will be held on Saturday, March 10, 2012 at Guild Theater from 10am to 10pm. So basically, come out like you are camping out for a deal on an HDTV at Best Buy on Black Friday, ok? 😉
I know a lot of you seem to be aware and conscious of the serious food issues/problems that this world faces, but these movies will educate you (as well as entertain and provoke thought) to what is really going on and really going wrong with our global food supply.
Here is the film lineup for the day:
10:15 Lunch Line 63 min.
The Last Crop follows Jeff and Annie Main, and examines how one family’s mission to preserve their small working farm’s existence for future farmers is challenging the status quo of farmland conservation and farm succession policies within California’s 36 billion dollar agricultural industry. I saw this movie early this month and absolutely loved it. Since the filmmaker keeps adding on to the length of the film as the story progresses (as it is a work in progress), it will be a little longer than 50 minutes.
3:00 Food Matters 80 min.
With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what’s wrong with our malnourished bodies, it’s no wonder that modern society is getting sicker. Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide ‘sickness industry’ and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for overcoming illness naturally.
4:30 Ingredients 67 min.
Through interviews with world-class chefs such as Alice Waters and Greg Higgins and sustainability-minded farmers in Oregon, New York and Ohio, INGREDIENTS weaves an uplifting tale that is equal parts earthy rebellion and mouth-watering homage.
Narrated by Bebe Neuwirth? Guys, need I say more? 🙂
6:00 Farmaggedon 90 min.Farmageddon highlights the urgency of food freedom, encouraging farmers and consumers alike to take action to preserve individuals’ rights to access food of their choice and farmers’ rights to produce these foods safely and free from unreasona-bly burdensome regulations. The film serves to put policymakers and regulators on notice that there is a growing movement of people aware that their freedom to choose the foods they want is in danger, a movement that is taking action with its dollars and its voting power to protect and preserve the dwindling number of family farms that are struggling to survive.
7:45 Farmers Panel Discussion 60 min.
9:00 What’s Organic about Organic? 59 min.
For more information on the event go to: http://sacfoodfilmfest.com
You can find the Sacramento Food Film Festival on Facebook here!!
Buy tickets here now! Hurry because the Guild only holds 200 people and tickets are going fast!!
The Second Annual Riedel Wine Glass Seminar presented by the National Association of Catering Executives, Sacramento Chapter and Sacramento Magazine/Our Wedding Magazine in association with Sean Minor Wines and Arden Hills Resort Club and Spa will take place on Tuesday February 28, 2012.
Time: 6:30p.m.– 9:00p.m. (Doors open at 6:00 p.m.)
Tickets $75 are per person and $85 after February 15. To register, please click here.
Arden Hills Resort Club and Spa is located at 1220 Arden Hills Lane Sacramento, CA.
This unique and fascinating wine glass seminar will be led by Sylvie Laly of the world famous Riedel Glassware. She will showcase Riedel’s Vinum XL glasses and teach about the relationship between the shape of the glass and how the wine tastes, and the enjoyment of wine to our Sacramento community.
The seminar includes a set of four Vinum XL glasses ($123 value) post presentation hors d’oeuvres and sample wine from Sean Minor Wines. Sacramento NACE is offering this fascinating seminar to all interested parties (over the age of 21), whether you are a sommelier, in the food and beverage field locally, a restaurant owner, or a wine connoisseur.
Please join this spectacular presentation where everyone will gain new perspective on how the bouquet, taste, balance, and finish of wines are affected by the shape of the glass. Representatives of all the newspaper companies, TV channels and free lance journalists are cordially invited to make this event a successful one. Doors open at 6:00p.m. Seminar starts at 6:30p.m. Post seminar hors d’oeuvres are from 8:00 – 9:00p.m. For more information please visit: Sacnace.com
Below is footage from last year’s seminar:
So, if you haven’t been to the Hyatt Regency Sacramento recently, you must swing by and take a peek!
A little party was held there last night to celebrate the newly renovated lobby, lounge, Vines Restaurant, second floor meeting space, 12th floor suite and the amazing 360 degree view of the 15th floor Capitol View Room. I felt like one of the luckiest girls in the world–sipping wine at the top of the Hyatt with my sweetie, and taking in the absolute best view in town of Sacramento and the State Capitol.
The Hyatt Sacramento applied for and received a Hyatt Community Grant
which nominates and honors local non-profit organizations for funding
built around the Hyatt’s philanthropic pillars–Environmental
sustainability, education and personal advancement, economic development
and investment or health and wellness. Hyatt Sacramento is one of only
27 Hyatt properties worldwide to be recognized to receive a grant. Their
nominated non-profit organization, the Stanford Settlement Neighborhood
Center received this honor and a $15,000 check at the event. KCRA’s footage of the new space is here.
Another reason to check out the Hyatt? It’s Dine Downtown week through January 18th, and Dawson’s Restaurant is one of the participating restaurants. You can check out their menu here, and make a reservation on Open Table here.
Built in 1988, the Hyatt Regency Sacramento was considered a key pillar in the redevelopment of the central downtown business community and a vital part of the future of Sacramento’s tourism industry.