Thursday, November 15, 2018
Jalapeno Wine, Maple Bacon Cashews In Spotlight at Spirited Taste and Craft Show
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The copper that once made Butte, Mont., rich now provides distilling equipment for Headframe Spirits.
 
Saturday, October 13, 2018
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Chokecherry pickers fan out to top secret spots each fall to pick up to 2,000 pounds of chokecherries a day to provide Willie’s Distillery in Ennis, Mont., with fruit for its Montana Wild Chokecherry Liqueur.

And three brothers recently turned their fifth-generation farm in the Dry Hills near Bozeman, Mont., into a farm-to-bottle market as they took a crash course in the art of distilling at Kentucky’s Moonshine University  and repurposed their farm’s hard red spring wheat, rye, barley and potatoes into wheat whiskey, raspberry-flavored potato vodka and potato gin.

Taste & Craft—a tasting and education-focused event celebrating craft-made products held Thursday night at the Limelight Hotel—boasted plenty of stories about how farmers and other entrepreneurs have established their niche catering to  consumers who are increasingly looking for adventures in eating and drinking.

 
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Sue and Dan Balluff sell a variety of artisan nut products, including brittle.
 

Among them: Boiseans Von and Crystal Potter whose Potter Wines have differentiated themselves with signature Jalapeno and Chipotle wines that have taken top honors at Cascadia Wine, Sip Northwest and other competitions.

Von Potter, the scientist, breathed a little fire into the wine industry by throwing some jalapeno peppers in with the grapes. And he and his customers have concocted a long list of recipes for them, including a Jalapeno Wine Butter Sauce for Shrimp, a homemade ice cream infused with jalapeno wine and chicken breasts marinated in Jalapeno Wine Lemonade  and stuffed with mozzarella cheese and wrapped in bacon. 

And he’s about to introduce a seasonal pumpkin wine using pumpkins sourced from local farmers.

Crater Lake, produced by Bend Distillery featured a long line of gins and vodkas, including vodkas infused with pepper, sweet ginger and an ultra smooth Hazel Nut Espresso Vodka.

 
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Jalapeno Wine Lemonade pouches, which contain only 2.5 percent alcohol, can be frozen to take on camping or river trips. Jalapeno Wine is available locally at BaseCamp.
 

Among those with craft nibbles were Sue and Dan Balluff, who offered samples of fresh roasted artisan nuts they sell at their City Peanut Shop on 803 W. Bannock St. in downtown Boise.

Dan Balluff grew up in a small town in Michigan where Saturday mornings meant trips to the local Planter Peanut Shop. Trying to recapture that part of his youth, he traded a high-tech corporate for a more nutty career a few years ago and began spending long hours in the kitchen figuring out how to get beer and other flavors to stick to his nuts.

Today the Balluffs offer apple pie-flavored almonds imported from California and the fan favorite Maple Bacon Cashews.

They’ve even partnered with other Boise institutions, such as MFT—My Father’s Tradition—to create BBQ Nuts using Virginia peanuts.

 
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Layna and Luke Patterson’s Good Vibes Kombucha made from fermented black and green tea with local, vine-ripened strawberries and other fruits, has helped people with digestive issues, said Layna.
 

 “Dan likes spice so there are a lot of spicy nuts,” said Sue Balluff. To prove her point, she offered a nut from the Carolina Reapers collection. That one peanut infused with “the wildest, hottest pepper in the world with just a touch of sugar” was enough to burn a hole in a sweatband.

A representative of Heritage Distilling Co. based in Gig Harbor, Wash. showed off a line of vodkas flavored with huckleberry, grapefruit, mango and lavender, as well as brown sugar bourbon

One taste and it wasn’t hard to see why the distillery has been the most awarded craft distillery in North America by the American Distilling Institute five years in a row.

Damiana Liqueur, a smooth, light herbal-based liqueur made from a small shrub in Baja Mexico that produces small yellow flowers, took its place among margarita products.

 
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Rebecca Larson and The Warfield Distillery and Brewery touted its Sister City traditional European style brandy created in celebration of Sun Valley’s longstanding kinship with Kitzbuhel, Austria.
 

And Katie Yurashak touted Headframe Spirits’ Orphan Girl Bourbon Cream Liqueur, Destroying Angel Whiskey and Ansemo Gin—spirits named after the mines that dominated Butte, Mont., when the town  boasted the nation’s largest copper mining industry, making it the fourth largest town in the United States.

Yuashak told how a coffee company in West Yellowstone created its most popular coffee drink by soaking its beans in Orphan Girl Bourbon Cream Liqueur.

“And you can turn Orphan Girl into a Dirty Girl by mixing with Barq’s Rootbear,” she added.

 

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