House Spirits Distillery


How lucky am I to have made friends in the whiskey business? Very. I Recently spent some time at House Spirits Distillery in Portland checking out their operation and tasting some of their fine spirits.

They’ve been producing White Dog, which is one of their limited releases. If you aren’t familiar with White Dog, it’s a new whiskey straight from the still. Colorless and plenty strong, this is whiskey that’s never touched a barrel. Typically whiskey will be aged in charred oak, all the while darkening in color and mellowing from the process. The aging process can be used to mask imperfections in lesser whiskeys, but with new whiskey like this – there’s nothing to hide behind. The level of craft at House Spirits makes for an amazing and wonderfully drinkable spirit.

Made from 100% malted barley, you can really breathe in the distinctive malt flavor when sipping. A bit of sweetness, and a light spiciness make it easy to drink neat, but with enough heat to really shine though in a cocktail.

Evan Kinkel from House Spirits even suggested a couple cocktails perfect for the occasion:

The White Zombie

  • 1 1/2 oz. White dog
  • 3/4 oz. Fresh pressed lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. B.G. Reynold’s Don’s Mix
  • Dash of Angustura bitters
  • Garnish with mint &lime

Silver Sunrise

  • 1 1/2 oz. White Dog
  • 1 oz. Stumptown cold brew
  • 1/2 oz. Molasses syrup
  • 3/4 oz. half & half
  • Dash of Reagan’s bitters
  • Garnish with an orange disc & cinnamon

If you try some, let me know what you think. If you’d rather stick to your favorite aged whiskey, I’ve got a DIY coming up for you… I’m gonna try to micro-age some White Dog. I’ll post in a few weeks and let you know how it turns out and show you the simple process.

photos taken by Lisa Warninger 
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7 Responses to “House Spirits Distillery”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Un-aged whiskey is going to be missing a great deal of the flavors that the charred oak imparts. Congrats to your friends if they’ve managed to produce a quality niche product that few others make. In doing so they save overhead from purchasing and warehousing barrels for years.

    Not to put them off, but I still hesitate to call any distillers white dog a true whiskey. In fact you cannot legally do so with scotch, bourbon, and possibly others because they all require at least some barrel aging time. Three years at minimum for scotch and no minimum for bourbon (but it still must be aged some).

    • MMP says:

      Hi Jeremy. I totally agree that an aged whiskey is very different from a new spirit, but they both certainly have a place. I’d urge you to try it before you dismiss it as not being true whiskey. By the way, House Spirits has been aging some of theirs for some time now as well. Quite looking forward to when that’s ready.

    • Gaidig says:

      To be called “straight bourbon”, it must be aged at least two years. Not to mention that to be called bourbon, it must be at least 51% corn, and the barrels must be new charred white oak.

      I do agree that the aging process imparts flavors that are important to enjoying the whiskey, not just masking the imperfections. I’ve tried the base spirit, and I’m just not interested, but then I’m not really interested in vodka, either.

  2. Sean says:

    Awesome hook up.

    We have Tuthilltown distillers out here making micro distilled bourbons and they’re doing a great job (though pricey). We also have Kings County Distillery who are doing the same thing, but unfortunately their end product is far too smokey for my taste. I’ve spoken with them and they tell me that’s the product of their (very) small white oak barrels and the ratio of charred wood to liquor. I’m not sure how the size of their barrels compare to the Tuhilltown barrels, but I imagine there’s a magic ratio that makes it all work.

    Good luck!

  3. lau says:

    ahhhhh those bottles and labels are beautiful.

  4. casey says:

    I tried the coffee flavor while at the Bazaar a few weeks back and love Aviation gin. As a whiskey lover, I like the idea of white dog and think it would be great as a cocktail, as you’ve indicated above, and maybe my palette isn’t refined enough to drink it neat or on the rocks.

    Regardless, I think there’s a place for it and chances are it’s only going to get better.

  5. stephanie says:

    Thanks for posting about it because it really got me motivated to check them out. My husband and I went here yesterday and went on the tour (and had the tasting.) It’s so great to have places like this around town. I wound up leaving with three bottles and am really looking forward to trying their rum and aged whisky once they release it.

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