This weekend we answered the lusty call of local craft beer and distilleries, the Prosser Beer & Whiskey Festival, and ventured over the mountains to the agricultural heart of Washington State. In three hours of driving time we careened down the mountainside, leaving a rainstorm behind us in Seattle and bursting through the clouds into a painting of the sunny, dusty plains of the Old West. As the temperature rose we looked out upon miles of red-tinted rocks, rolling plains dotted with cattle, green sloping orchards, and the occasional tumbleweed scampering across the highway in mortal fear of every vehicle in its path ignoring the posted speed limit of 70 MPH and racing forward with the exhilaration of a wild Mustang running free.
A couple hours after our arrival (we were graciously hosted in the home of a friend, filled with tantalizing smells and as cozy as staying in a carefully-crafted country boutique!) our designated driver approached the Prosser Wine & Food Park where the event was held, and the wind picked-up and the blue drained from the sky to be replaced with an eerie beige color, framed by apocalyptic black clouds. Dust, smoke from a nearby fire, and strong winds did little to deter us, as we clutched our logo glasses and tokens, hair whipping, and entered one of two huge pavilion-style tents, flags a flapping, in search of sustenance. Inside was a wonderland of libations (with a smattering of food and retail booths – one of which was Damsel in Defense, with a display of Tasers in ironic cheerful colors that kept drawing me back, but to their credit they stuck to their stun guns, and did not allow me to test any of them on anybody, now matter how harmless I tried to look with my innocent freckles), with offerings from over 20 breweries and distilleries, from 12 Spirits (Seahawk-inspired) to Moonshine Zombie Whiskey: “Whiskey with a bite!” (my unofficial vote for best name and slogan). I was focused on the spirits; in particular the cocktails, such as a Cherry Moonshine Margarita from Swede Hill Distilling, and a Cucumber Vodka concoction from RiverSands Distillery.
2 oz. Swede Hill Cherry Moonshine
6 – 8 oz. margarita mix
Shake with ice and serve in chilled,
sugar-rimmed margarita glass.
Cucumber Vodka Martini
2 ½ oz. Kennewick Cucumber Vodka
½ oz. of dry vermouth
3 slices of cucumbers
1 cup of ice
Place all of above ingredients into shaker.
Shake for 30 seconds to soften and blend flavors.
Pour into Martini glass and enjoy!
As a home brewer and environmentalist, Joe was intrigued and impressed by Solar Spirits, who, as you can guess by the name, utilizes solar energy to reduce their environmental impact. Whether it was an IPA or a potent pour of whiskey we were treated well, even as we jostled against the crowd and battled the wind which had a playful habit of flinging our hair into our faces blinding us, or picking it straight up off our heads in an unflattering Cindy Lauper style from the 80’s whenever a camera faced our direction.
While we warmed up from the generous pours of alcohol, curly fries made from a mountain of super-sized potatoes peeled with the help of a huge, mesmerizing spinning drill, and super tasty ceviche tacos from El Buen Gusto and some crazed-wind dancing to the live band, the thought of the mechanical bull stoutly residing in one corner of the food tent kept snuffling at my thoughts. It’s one of those bucket-list items that’s gotten dustier over time, and while I was grateful that I possessed enough common sense not to ride the creature, I was also a bit disappointed that same common sense (let me just say it: age) prevented me from a thrilling bit of fun I would have jumped at 10 or 15 years ago. I tend to think I’m much more fit, or at least stronger, than I really am, and though I could envision my vise-like thighs gripping the saddle and giving a Rebel yell that would electrify the crowd into a cheering frenzy, the thought of my skirt creeping up offering an unabashed view of those thighs, the gawdawful double-chinned photo resulting from shriek of terror (i.e. Rebel yell), and inevitable instantaneous fall from bull onto ground, fat-cushion and bouncy-castle material surrounding bull not withstanding, resulting in bruises lasting for the next six to nine months and possible sprains, breaks and ligament tears I would forever refer to as my Bull-riding Injuries from the Fall of 2015 stopped me. Or maybe I'm finally old and wise enough to know my limits and not to drink too much. Who knows? We’ll see what happens next year.