When most breweries and boozeries find comfort in taxidermy decor and industrial-rustic accents (think exposed wooden beams and brick walls), Blinking Owl Distillery opted for more stylish surroundings. The result: an Art Deco-meets-Studio 54 tasting room and craft distillery, which opened in Santa Ana mid-September and just so happens to be Orange County’s first (and SoCal’s most fashionable) distillery.
Founded husband-and-wife duo Robin and Brian Christenson and Criminal Minds star Kirsten Vangsness, Blinking Owl’s interiors are just as luxe as its spirits. Expect to taste Scandinavian Aquavit (a concoction infused with 10 organic botanicals, including caraway, dill, and hibiscus), vodka, gin, and a variety of whiskey — all of which are crafted with mostly locally-sourced ingredients (the goal is to eventually be 100% California-sourced) and available to take home in bottles.
When dreaming up the tasting room’s decor, Robin tells us she found inspiration from the pre-Prohibition days (fun fact: Brian’s great-grandfather was a bootlegger who had a secret still on his dairy farm) and the sexy ’70s. “While I’m in love with the tiniest details such as gold epoxy filings in the cracks of the concrete, I certainly aimed to keep the room a basic ‘theater,’ with the focus on the 12-foot-high windows framing the magnificent copper still — the star of our Blinking Owl show,” she says.
See more inside the swanky spirits haven above; Blinking Owl offers 45-minute tasting and distillery tours ($25) Wednesdays (by appointment), Thursdays (4 to 7pm), Fridays (3 to 7pm), Saturdays (2 to 7pm), and Sundays (2 to 5pm). Book your next visit online here.
Blinking Owl Distillery
802 E Washington Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92701