By Nancy Ransohoff
Not since the days of bathtub gin has there been so much distilling going on here. Ascendant Spirits Distillery & Tasting Room (37 Industrial Way, Unit 103, Buellton, 805/691-1000, ascendantspirits.com) is the first legal distillery in Santa Barbara County since Prohibition. Owner and master distiller Stephen Gertman uses American grains and local organic produce to handcraft small batches of distinctive vodka, gin and whisky products. Stop by for tours and tastings Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and sip everything from popular Breaker Bourbon Whisky to clean-tasting American Star Vodka made from 100% American corn. Also available at local bars and shops from Paso Robles to Orange County.
Cutler’s Artisan Spirits (137 Anacapa St. Suite D, 805/845-4040, cutlersartisan.com) has set up its vats smack-dab in the heart of the Funk Zone as the first and only legal distillery in the city of Santa Barbara. Owner and head distiller Ian Cutler continues a four-generation family history in the spirits business. His micro-distillery focuses on American-style whiskys, but also makes vodka, gin and liqueurs. Visit the distillery for a peek at Ian in action, sample his spirits and grab a souvenir in the gift shop. Look for Cutler’s spirits at local bars, including The Lark, and at liquor stores around town.
Originally published in the Fall 2013 issue of Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine.