Liquor goes local at Blinking Owl Distillery

Crafting booze in O.C. hasn’t always been a hoot for Brian and Robin Christenson, proud owners of newly hatched Blinking Owl Distillery in downtown Santa Ana. Almost five years in the making, the Blinking Owl, launching production this month, is the county’s only spirits distiller. Gin, vodka, whiskey, and aquavit aged in sherry casks are all on the inaugural list, with retail sales and tastings commencing when distiller Ryan Friesen gives the go‑ahead. Blinking Owl already is leaning on native herbs, flowers, fruits, and yeasts to boost the local character of spirits sure to be welcome players in craft cocktails in bars or at home. The Christensons confess to a longtime affair with wine and home brewing, but we’re equally impressed by Brian’s great‑great grandfather’s stint as a Nebraska bootlegger. 802 E. Washington Ave., Santa Ana, 714-760-4493, blinkingowldistillery.com

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