Lake Cushman Booster Club Meeting:

Salads and Rums

Chuck and I were invited to speak at the May 2 Lake Cushman Booster Club meeting. The Booster Club supports the local fire department, the community disaster center, the food bank, and other organizations.

Lake Cushman is a beautiful community set in the outskirts of the temperate rain forest of the Olympic National Park. It is on Highway 119 between Hoodsport and the National Park.

We were invited to speak about the distillery and to share their pot-luck dinner at the Fire Hall.

The pot-luck dinner included a variety of dishes. There was a spinach salad with blue cheese, almonds and strawberries. Everyone commented that it was a very good salad. A friendly woman sitting at our table told us that she makes the same salad, only a little different. She uses arugula instead of spinach, walnuts instead of almonds, feta instead of blue cheese, and beets instead of strawberries. Otherwise, she said, it’s the same. At first I was astonished, thinking this is not at all the same salad.

But then I realized that she was right. It is the same. Both salads have a leafy green, a crumbly cheese, nuts, and something red. They really are only a little different.

This made me think of creating new spirits and mixed drinks at Hardware Distillery. How could I use her kind of thinking?

In Washington State, craft distilleries must use 51% Washington products for their substrate. This is not difficult, as Washington produces a great variety of products, both grains and fruits.

There are a few crops we don’t have, such as sugar cane. Rum would not qualify as a Washington craft distilled spirit, as it must be distilled from sugar cane.

But using her thinking, we could use Washington state sugar beets instead of sugar cane to make a rum-like spirit. Like the salad with beets instead of strawberries, it will be the same. Only a little different.