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Blackberry Sazerac and a visit to St. George Distilling

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Last Updated on January 29, 2024 by Leah Hall

Check out our visit to a Bay Area Distillery on our latest trip! We also developed a blackberry sazerac cocktail featuring the products!


Have you ever smelled a room filled with perfectly ripe pears? Luckily we have and it is amazing, especially when that room happens to also hold a craft distillery!  Regular readers know we recently were out in California on a little wine adventure through the Napa and Russian River valleys with friends and since we were really close to San Fransisco’s vibrant craft cocktail and spirits scene, we took the short drive from Wine Country down to the east side of San Francisco Bay to visit one of the first legal craft distilleries established in the United States since the dark days of Prohibition, St. George Spirits!


This post contains sponsored content brought to you by St. George Spirits.  We were provided a complimentary tasting experiences in exchange for coverage on social media and this blog, but all opinions and views presented here are 100% our own. There are also affiliate links, which we make commission off of. For further information, or if you are interested in working with us please see our Disclaimer page. 

St George Distillery Signage

Find this sign and you are well on your way to a great spirits experience!


crates of ripe pears sit in the storage area of St George Spirits distillery.

A distillery full of ripe pears? Yes please!

We are always fans of craft distilleries, especially ones that make unique liqueurs and spirits that inspire our imagination and make us want to jump into our kitchen and play around with some new cocktails! St. George Spirits is one of these distilleries, their portfolio of spirits a selection of artisanal gins, carefully crafted whiskeys and a bounty of specialty fruit brandies and liqueurs, all carefully created to excite bartenders and drinkers alike!

Man behind the counter at St George Spirits Tasting Room.

One of the friendly faces that greet you when you visit the tasting room at St. George Spirits!


Some of the stills at St George Spirits in Alameda, CA

Some of the stills at St George Spirits in Alameda, CA

St George Distilling

Originally founded by Jörg Rupf, a Germain immigrant who fell in love with the food and culture of the Bay Area and who just happened to come from a family of distillers. Inspired by local fruit from nearby California orchards, he drew on his experience of distilling fruit brandies back in Germany’s Black Forrest, and started crafting various eu di vie (fruit brandies) from all that local fresh fruit! Jorg’s creations soon attracted a loyal following of fans, including one famous fan, Julia Child!

Seville lemons, Bergamot Oranges and St Geroge Spirits California CItrus Vodka

Just some of the citrus used in the making of St George Spirits California Citrus Vodka.


Terroir Gin from St George Spirits.

Terroir Gin, one of the unique gins made by St. George Spirits, features local plants and botanicals from nearby wilds to flavor their gin.

What Ingredients are Needed for the Blackberry Sazerac Cocktail?

  • Creole Bitters
  • Angostura Bitters
  • Blackberry Simple Syrup
  • Rye Whiskey
  • Absinthe


St George Spirits soon was turning out more and more of their great fruit brandies, and in 1992 Jorg took his Pear Eu Di Vie to Austria where he beat out hundreds of European distilleries at a blind tasting which sealed St. George Spirits’ reputation for being a top notch distillery. When they released their first single malt whiskey in 2000, they cemented their reputation when they were named one of the best American whiskeys bar none.


With a whiskey under their belt, they soon branched out to other spirits like agricole rum, gins, and a little range of vodkas known as Hanger One.

tour guide takes folks thru the old aircraft hanger that now serves as the St George Spirits Distillery

Our tour guide takes folks thru the old aircraft hanger that now serves as the St George Spirits Distillery, under neath the motto of the previous occupants (naval aviation!)


St George Spirits offering of three vodkas, the all purpose, California citrus and the green Chile Vodka.

St George Spirits offering of three vodkas, the all purpose, California citrus and the green Chile Vodka.

St George Distilling in Alameda

In 2004, they moved to their current location on the grounds of the decommissioned Alameda Naval Air Station in a former airplane hanger where they opened a huge distillery and tasting room. The former aircraft hanger allowed them to build a really amazing distillery and one really cool space to take a distillery tour!

It was this space that we got to take a distillery tour and smell a whole distillery full of ripe pears fresh off the tree waiting to be mashed and processed into one of their spirits in one of the many copper stills.

Three bottles of St George Gin in the tasting room at St George Spirits.

Three of St George Spirits Gins, each reflecting a different botanical make up and flavor.


A bottle of pear brandy and a raspberry brandy in the tasting room of St George Spirits.

Some of the delicious fruit brandies from St George Spirits!

The tour takes you through the entire distillation process, from the raw fruit and fermentation tanks, to the stills and barrel aging area, where you see what all goes into making some really good spirits! Our tour guide even showed us the botanicals that go into making what might be St. George Spirit’s real claim to fame, their St. George Absinthe Verte, the first legal American absinthe made since it was banned in 1912!

Up close shot of blackberry sazerac with ice and lemon peel in glass. Absinthe bottle in background


Absinthe really got a bad rap as a hallucinogenic back in the early 1900’s and it was banned in the US in 1912 as it had the reputation of causing folks to go crazy. It even had the nickname “The Green Fairy” for its reputation to cause folks to see mythical creatures (this reputed propensity to drive folks mad is also why St. George Spirits has a monkey playing a skull like a drum on its label!)


This was a real shame, because a good absinthe is a real treat, especially in some classic cocktails like what might be the most famous absinthe cocktail, the Sazerac.

A blackberry sazerac made with St George Spirits Absinthe Verde, Rye, Blackberry syrup and bitters in glass with lemon peel. Absinthe bottle in background

History of the Sazerac

The Sazerac is a classic cocktail, created back in in New Orleans in the early 1800s where it featured cognac or rye whiskey, absinthe and bitters and sugar and became a favorite drink in New Orleans. This cocktail was rediscovered once the “ban” on absinthe was lifted and bartenders could mix up a real sazerac with absinthe!


We love doing our own spin on classic cocktails, and with us walking out of St. George Spirits with a bottle of St George Absinthe Verde, we had to make our own version of a sazerac, the Blackberry Sazerac!

detailed shot of a blackberry sazerac made with St George Spirits Absinthe Verde, Rye, Blackberry syrup and bitters in glass with lemon peel

How to Change Up The Classic Sazerac?

We started out with the classic sazerac recipe, but instead of a sugar cube, we decided to add in a little fruit flavor and use blackberry simple syrup to add a fruity sweetness to the cocktail. Blackberry and absinthe goes together really well, the anise and botanical flavor of the St. George Absinthe Verde complimenting the tart fruity blackberry, especially when paired up with a spicy rye whiskey!

Detail hsot of a blackberry sazerac, St George Spirits Absinthe Verde and books.

This is one really great cocktail that everyone should try, especially if you take a trip out to Alameda to visit St. George Spirits! (oh and you can get one really amazing view of San Fransisco, where you just might catch a really cool sunset if you are there in the evening!)




Other Distilleries

A view from St George Sprits Tasting room looking out to the Bay Bridge and San Fransisco.

Step out of the Tasting Room at St. George Spirits in the evening and you might get a scene like this of San Fransisco!

Other Sazerac Cocktails


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If you are going to wine country, we recommend renting a VRBO Rental Location to stay at! Or, if you are headed to Northern California, stop at Humboldt Bay Social Club or Humboldt Distillery.


Like this post? Check these out below, too!

The Anchor Distilling building in San Fransisco.

The headquarters of Anchor Distilling on Potrero Hill in San Fransisco.

Hotaling Distilling – San Francisco


Orange cocktail and opaque cocktail with cucumbers and straws overlook downtown Kansas CitySpirited Guide to Kansas City


Detail hsot of a blackberry sazerac, St George Spirits Absinthe Verde and books.
Yield: 1

Blackberry Sazerac and a Visit to St. George Distilling

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

A twist on a New Orleans classic, this Blackberry Sazerac is perfect, made with St. George Distilling absinthe. Plus, our tour at St. George Distilling in Alameda, California.




Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice.

Shake and strain over ice.


Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 191Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 16mgCarbohydrates: 20.6gFiber: 0gSugar: 2.8gProtein: 0g

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Tuesday 9th of January 2018

What a fantastic trip! I would love to tour a distillery like this. I love that they built it in an airplane hanger, how cool! Those big vats of pears are a thing of pure beauty, too!

Jessica Robinson

Tuesday 2nd of January 2018

The distillery tour looks like so much fun! And the drink- amazing!

Sarah @ Champagne Tastes

Monday 1st of January 2018

Just look at all those pears! This tour looks so fun- I want to go! Next time I make it out to Cali I'm going to have a huge list of distilleries and wineries to tour!!

The 'Noms.

Monday 1st of January 2018

I know, right?! Just call us your friendly tour guides!

Amy Nash

Saturday 30th of December 2017

I recognize that view in the last photo! This is practically in my backyard! The distillery tour sounds fascinating!

The 'Noms.

Monday 1st of January 2018

Nice! Yeah, it was a super informative and fun tour to go on!

Erica @ Coming up Roses

Friday 29th of December 2017

OMG - a trip to a distillery would be so much fun! Looks like you had a great time!

The 'Noms.

Monday 1st of January 2018

It is! We love to do them, hope you do too!

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