The minute you walk into Woody Creek Distillers tasting room, one thing is clear: Mixologist Christian Wilhoft loves his job.
“How can you not be psyched to create craft cocktails when you’re working with some of the best spirits around,” says Wilhoft, who has transformed WCD’s cocktail menu into one of the most innovative and sip-worthy ones in the midvalley. “But it’s more than the drinks, it’s the whole atmosphere.”
Indeed, the sign behind the bar does seem to say it all: “Drink Happy Thoughts.”
And what a happy process it has been for the locally owned business. Woody Creek Distillers was established in 2013; since then, the company has grown exponentially. Currently its products are available across the country. And the distillery has received numerous recognitions and awards for its two different kinds of vodka and its rye whiskey (WCD also produces a gin and a rum).
But the crown jewel of Woody Creek’s portfolio has to be its distillery and tasting room, located in Basalt’s Mid-Valley Design Center. Rustic, yet modern, the tasting room invites visitors and locals to see how the distillery operates, while also enjoying the fruits of those labors.
“We want people to come here and feel at home,” says tasting room manager Tracey Snow, noting that while there is no food service at the distillery, guests are welcome to bring in their own cheese platters, dinners, or whatever takeout they like. “It’s a unique experience to see where the spirit in the cocktail you’re drinking is made.”
In fact, Woody Creek Distillers makes nearly everything in-house — the spirits, the infused spirits, an array of bitters, syrups of all stripes, even its own tonic water.
“Really, our cocktail menu is worth the trip to Basalt; you will not find anything like it anywhere else,” says Snow. “Or, you can always just enjoy a flight to get a taste of all that we offer.”
For example, a small tasting of any three spirits is just $12; fleets are also on the menu. And, the distillery is also home base for sales of its bottled spirits and gift boxes, which range in price from $40 to $150 (custom gift boxes also available).
“We like to think that we do more than just make spirits,” says Snow.
Spend some time at Woody Creek Distillers and you’ll see why she’s right.
Prices: Spirit tastings and cocktails, $8 during happy hour, 4-6 p.m. daily; bottles of vodka, $6 to $120; bottles of rye, $27 and $49; bottles of gin, $23 and $35; apple brandy and pear brandy, $49. Tours by appointment ($10 for tour only; $30 for tour/tasting trio/specialty cocktail).
Ambience: The tasting room combines rustic warmth with state-of-the-art architecture and design for a relaxed vibe.
Signature drinks: The Orchard, with muddled apple, Woody Creek Vodka, all spice, ginger, lemon juice; Madame Butterfly, with muddled tarragon, Woody Creek Gin, ginger, anise, lemon, butterfly pea flower extract; and classics from Old Fashioneds to Manhattens to Sazeracs.