Don Bauder 7:49 p.m., May 22
Of late, a number of local bars and their associated tenders have been warding off the alcohol world's most transparent spirit. The same can not be said for Scripps Ranch-based craft distillery Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits. They're all set to debut their Fugu Vodka this Friday, February 10, at The High Dive in Bay Park, this Friday.
Named after the infamous and potentially lethal-when-consumed Japanese puffer fish, it will be interesting to see whether head distiller Yuseff Cherney decided to go the clean, flavorless route or stuck with the program he's employed with his previous rum, gin and whiskey - packing in as much flavor as possible.
Doing so has won Cherney and Ballast Point early bragging rights. Their Barrel Aged Three Sheets Rum recently won a Good Food Award and their new Devil's Share Whiskey won first place at the American Distilling Institute's 2010 competition in Louisville, Kentucky.
At that time, it had barely any oak barrel-aging helping its cause. A recent sampling of the current, much more mature version turned up an intense, fiery spirit with caramel notes so well defined it was almost chewy. It's definitely not entry level whiskey and, given its early successes, apparently it never was.
Cherney will be on-hand for the debut party, likely enjoying specials on cocktails created using Fugu and his other spirits as much as event-goers. The debut festivities begin at 5 p.m. The High Dive is located at 1801 Morena Boulevard.