Kim Karrick had a vision when she started Scratch Distillery: make one vodka and two gins, using organic, non-GMO materials from local farmers. Had she known that the demand for her small batch gin and vodka would be so high, and that the local cocktail bars and breweries had ideas of their own, she might have foreseen the explosive and almost immediate growth in her distillery.
“We can’t curb the creativity,” she said. “There is just too much demand in Edmonds. Between all of our great local restaurants and bars. It has really come alive.”
Much of that creativity comes from Kim, but also in collaborations with the talented bartenders in the neighboring cocktail bars. They team up to create new spirits and cocktail recipes. With the local breweries, Salish Sea Brewing and (the now permanently closed) American Brewing Co., they create “beer schnapps,” distilling down a special beer into a unique spirit.
Scratch now makes seven vodkas, three gins, two aquavits, and an award-winning whiskey. They just started making an apple brandy, which will be aged in their Edmonds Own Whiskey barrels. It will be ready sometime early in 2021, and Spirits Club members are the first to get to try it. They have a loyal following. Their members and others also take GINiology classes, learning the fine art of cocktail mixology. GINiology graduates craft a personalized gin recipe, tailored to taste — it’s a gin recipe they can reorder from the distillery.
"At GINiology, after a classic cocktail to start the evening, we’ll tell you about the history and production of gin. And then we taste. We have distilled more than 30 separate botanicals that are used to make most of the gins in the world, so you can taste each flavor independently. By deconstructing gin in this way, you can discover which botanicals make your mouth happy [website].”
Edmonds Own Whiskey is an 83-proof, single-barrel whiskey made with 100 percent Skagit Valley old world grains of spelt, millet, winter white wheat and malted barley. They call it a “new-world whiskey from an old-world recipe.” It was the 2018 double-gold winner for Sip Magazine’s "Best of the Northwest" competition. That award was won in the whiskey’s first year release.
“The judges were like ‘who are these people and where did this whiskey come from!?',” said Sip Magazine reviewer Kristin Ackerman Bacon in a video review.
The whiskey is aged for two years in a new American oak barrel, offering up a “lovely richness and smoothness” from the oak. It’s perfect neat, as Bryan Karrick prefers it. Bryan is Kim’s husband and co-owner of Scratch. It would also be “killer” in a Manhattan or Old Fashioned, as Bacon notes.
While aging whiskey takes time, it also gives you something to look forward to. Mark your calendars for November 2022 — the first tasting of their “COVID Whiskey” made from Skagit Valley maple-smoked malted barley.
In the meantime, join GINiology, visit Salish Sea Brewing, or visit Brigid’s Bottleshop or Arista Wine Cellars. And enjoy a cocktail at any one of the truly stellar cocktail bars and destination restaurants in Edmonds.
Edmonds, says Kim, is “a wonderful, dynamic liquid arts community.” We can drink to that!