Thomas & Sons Distillery, the newest branch of Townshend’s Tea, is not your typical distillery. Innovators of sustainability, they pride themselves on avoiding artificial additives and sweeteners while preserving the delicate flavors of tea and maintaining quality. It’s also pretty clear the team is passionate about the tea spirits and the work they do.
There was an amiable feeling drifting in the air while Ray led us through corridors of floral scents and barrels full of booze and bucha. As we were guided to the tasting room, I noticed tons of tiny felted sloths cuddling various bottles of the spirits. We were given a tasting of the products while I observed more amusing details around the room.
It’s rare for me to declare a gin perfect on its own, but Townshend’s Gin was pleasantly botanical and carried the least amount of heat I had ever tried in a clear spirit (40% ABV 80 proof). White Rose was delicate and seemingly perfect for a spring cocktail (40% ABV 80 proof). The Sweet Tea was well balanced on the sweetness factor and tasted just like sweet tea you could get from the South (35% ABV 70 proof). The Smoke Tea gave strong campfire vibes (35% ABV 70 proof). The Kashmiri Spiced Amaro was complete comfort in a bottle (40% ABV 80 proof). My favorite, the Portland Fernet, was spicier and more complex than Branca (40% ABV 80 proof). When I tasted the Alpine spirit, a go-to for tiki and hot beverages, I imagined it would be much like taking all the plants in Portland and drinking them…and then possibly getting wasted from it.
The most impressive aspect of this new project is how inspired and creative the team is. They’re stoked about cocktails, the craft of distilling, and actually go out together to forage ingredients for the spirits. It’s adorably handcrafted and inspiring in itself. This is a definite destination for any traveler intrigued in tea, cocktails, and Portland.