High Spirits at The 2019 San Diego Spirits Festival

The 11th Annual San Diego Spirits Festival distills the essence of the luxury craft cocktail and liquor market into a world-class event right here in San Diego.

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For two days at the spectacular waterfront Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego, attendees can toast to the glory days with an unlimited tasting experience featuring world renowned brands and boutique distillers hoping to gain a foothold in the luxury spirit market.


The creativity and design of the event space invites you to leave your inhibitions at the door and fully immerse yourself in an afternoon of tasty thrills and tantalizing excitements. All of the key players in the world of liquor production are here; Maker’s Mark was a premium sponsor and showcased some bold twists on familiar favorites, including a festival standout Old-Fashioned and scintillating “Adult PB&J” mini-sandwiches made with bourbon-infused wafers.

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Another standout was a trio of Glenlivet Scotches aged from 12 to 18 years, affording all attendees the opportunity to experience the legendary brand’s finer offerings without completely breaking the bank.


One of our favorite surprises from the afternoon was the presence of the Bacanora spirit brand 42 Degrees.

Bacanora is an agave-based spirit that falls in between tequila and mezcal, with a smoky, peppery taste and a smoothness that demands to be enjoyed neat and in slow measured sips. It is produced in the Mexican state of Sonora and currently unavailable at retail stores in San Diego, though 42 Degrees is looking to change that.

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The event features entertainment that behooves the adult atmosphere of the festival; we were treated to a splendid revue by a burlesque dancer who transported us back to the golden age of prohibition-era speakeasy’s and timeless glamor with her seductive dance routine and risque outfit. Another standout performance was exhibited by a pair of exotic belly dancers draped in billowy fabrics and sporting henna on their immaculate figures. Their performance induced all present further into an ecstatic trance and was a high point in the afternoon.

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A selection of high-profile local food vendors were also on-site to help keep the party moving. Louisiana Purchase spiced up the afternoon with Cajun-style Alligator Cheesecake in the VIP Lounge while the Patio Group and Ranch Catering saddled up next to Carolina Mike’s Sauces on the waterfront behind Port Pavilion with selected offerings such as sliders and wings.

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In the pantheon of outstanding San Diego food and beverage events, San Diego Spirits Festival holds considerable weight and is guaranteed to deliver an incredible experience that will draw you back the following year. It’s cheaper than a standard night out in the Gaslamp and offers a staggering amount of selections — and perhaps most notably, an open invitation to sample rare and top-shelf liquors that most of us only get to enjoy once in a blue moon.

If you’re in the market for a rollicking good time and memorable craft cocktail experience, bring your best friends to next year’s festival and get ready to toast ‘til the cows come home.

Rebecca WalkerComment