Food & Drink: Holiday cheers

Raising a glass to locally made beverages

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San Rafael’s Red Whale Coffee became an underground favorite in Canada before coffee-maker Sean Boyd moved his operation to Marin in 2012. Photo courtesy of kaelynashley97/Instagram.

By Tanya Henry

One of the best things about living in Marin is its proximity to so much locally produced food. The ability to buy world-class cheeses, fresh oysters from Tomales Bay and grass-fed beef from Point Reyes Station are just a few of the reasons that I live here. As interest in our food systems continues to grow, more and more folks are trying their hands at producing and selling their own products. With the holidays upon us, here are a handful of locally made beverages that are sure to add a little more cheer to any get-together.

San Anselmo-based Laughing Glass Cocktails follows up their pre-made margaritas with a ruby-hued pomegranate version just in time for the holidays. Made with blanco agave tequila, triple sec and organic agave nectar, the new flavor offers tequila drinkers a festive option. Founders Sydney Rainin-Smith and Carey Clahan bring a genuine enthusiasm to their favorite cocktail and take great pride in sourcing high-quality ingredients, while also keeping the calorie count down. “We like to make grown-up, clean cocktails,” Clahan says. Try it over ice with a squeeze of lime, or as a base for other tequila concoctions—get creative and make your own signature drink this holiday season! laughingglasscocktails.com.

Ironically, ex tech executive Kara Goldin, who began selling her fruit-sweetened water out of her garage, used to drink as many as 10 to 12 Diet Coke’s a day. Now, a decade later, her fruit-sweetened Hint Water (now a $30 million company) is a regular offering at places like Google headquarters, yoga studios, and if all goes according to plan, on college campuses around the country. Though these mildly flavored drinks might seem more like a post-holiday beverage, they are ideal for replacing sugar-laden sodas and helpful for those pacing their alcohol intake during marathon party-going. There are multiple flavors to choose from—seasonal pear, pomegranate and apple—and sparkling and mixed fruit options available. drinkhint.com.

Given the popularity of kombucha—grocery store shelves are overflowing with options—let me make it easy for you: Look for the 16-ounce brown glass bottles of Marin Kombucha, produced locally by Brian Igersheim. His mild flavors include Original Oak, Pinot Sage and Apple Juniper. Igersheim keeps the pH levels of his brews slightly more alkaline than most, which results in a softer, less tangy experience. My personal favorite is the Pinot Sage. marinkombucha.com.

“We are determined to make the world a better place, one cup of coffee at a time,” reads Red Whale Coffee’s website. Chef-turned-coffee-maker/sourcer/roaster extraordinaire Sean Boyd left his restaurant work in New Brunswick, Canada and started a coffee operation in 2012 off of Smith Ranch Road in San Rafael. Recognized as a finalist in the Good Food Awards, Red Whale is developing a devoted following for their seriously good coffee and sincere interest in educating the world about America’s favorite beverage. Visit them at 169 Paul Drive or online at redwhalecoffee.com.

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