Last month’s blog was about Aisle 5, a new neighbor at 3320 Grand Avenue. This month, I’m focusing on Alchemy Bottle Shop, which is just a few doors down the block at 3256 Grand. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since they opened three years ago. It’s a perfect time to be discussing Alchemy, since they’ll be celebrating their third anniversary next Saturday, April 8 (details below). It’s also opportune as the California spirits scene has been experiencing a renaissance – which, in my opinion, is about to become a boom due to a change in state laws that will allow distilleries to sell their products directly to the public – as detailed in this Marin Independent Journal article. If you want to know more, I highly recommend Alchemy Bottle Shop as a place to get started.
As a child, I wasn’t bothered by disorder, but as I’ve grown older, I’m much more likely to appreciate the beauty of a clean, well-appointed space. Walking into Alchemy Bottle Shop always soothes my spirits (pun unintended), as it’s a gorgeous space with a light-filled art gallery on the second floor. Owners Peter and Tova Mustacich have filled the lower floor with an amazing selection of spirits, handcrafted by small independent producers using hand-selected, quality ingredients. The front window is home to their large selection of bitters, which you are able to taste before buying. In the art space upstairs, they have a small but quality selection of wine, beer, and vermouth. While the prices are higher than the generics found at Safeway or Trader Joe’s, Alchemy’s prices are competitive for the selection offered (except Campari – go to TJ’s for that!) and, more importantly, you’ll find spirits that Peter and Tova have personally curated and labels you’re unlikely to find anywhere else.
If you’re a cocktail novice, don’t be intimidated. The staff is super welcoming and they always have three or four suggested cocktails on display, with take-home recipe cards, as well as cocktail gift boxes during the holidays. In addition, Alchemy runs four different spirit clubs: single malt, craft whiskey, gin, and agave. I have been a member of the gin club from the beginning and have enjoyed it very much. My stack of gin cocktail recipes is becoming quite impressive, and I was quite the star of my recent ladies’ weekend, when I made rounds of French 75s for everyone!
Finally, they host a lot of fun community events and classes in the art space upstairs. The shop also participates in the Grand Avenue First Thursdays event, and they always host an opening night reception for participating artists. Almost every Saturday afternoon, select distilleries pour samples and answer questions about their products. Through those tastings, I have been introduced to many local distilleries and have learned a lot about the crafting of various spirits. I recommend popping in, even if only to browse. If you are not in the market to treat yourself, their special offerings make excellent gifts. I have purchased most of my recent wedding gifts here and have received several comments that my gift was one of the couple’s favorites. Cheers!
Alchemy Bottle Shop’s Third Anniversary
Saturday April 8th
2-5 pm: free Bourbon Tasting w/ Home Base Spirits
5-7 pm: $3 Cocktails
3+ bottles discounted 10% all day