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Nuda Tequila Comes Home

A Sonoma County native has traveled near and far to craft tequila fit to sip straight, and she’s bringing her product back home. Frances Reyes, a graduate of Petaluma High School and Santa Rosa Junior College and co-owner and co-founder of Nuda Tequila, has begun distributing his creation in Sonoma County.

Nuda itself is produced in Mexico’s Tequila Valley, home of the world’s largest tequila distilleries, and celebrates the rich history of the spirit’s production. “It is important for me to share this magical drink with my community,” says Reyes. “I want people to know that Nuda Tequila is a sophisticated drink, that can be enjoyed sip by sip, just as they will enjoy a glass of wine or cognac, no different.”

Reyes started Nuda tequila, which is based in Carson, Calif., in 2008, and production began in 2017. Reyes is involved in all facets of the company, including the design of the bottle, and she travels to Mexico to personally monitor her product. To make full-bodied tequila that doesn’t need salt, lemon or lime, Nuda uses an artisanal cooking process and triple distillation. Reyes made her first Sonoma County deliveries in March, bringing Nuda to Rancho Mendoza super mercado, El Gallo Negro in Windsor, Healdsburg’s Lupe’s Diner, El Infierno Night Club in Santa Rosa and Mi Pueblo restaurant in Cotati.

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Sipsong Spirits: Locally Exotic

Tara Jasper’s passion is in the culinary arts, but she didn’t become a chef, not in the traditional sense. Jasper distills gin with botanicals at Sipsong Spirits, which she founded in 2016. “I like to combine new botanical flavors, and I’m always impressed when local chefs are able to do that,” says Jasper. “It’s fun when you surprise people with something they’ve never tried before. For instance, I love pairing my gin cocktails with food.”

Sipsong’s Indira gin is made with a grape-based spirit and a blend of spices inspired by Jasper’s love for ethnic cuisine. Scott Beattie, noted mixologist and special events beverage director at The Restaurant at Meadowood, was the first to try it. Beattie, a friend of Jasper’s, was impressed. “He kept encouraging me to figure out how to produce the gin commercially,” she says.

Jasper discovered her niche in the food and beverage industry after graduating from Cal Poly and meeting her husband, Dane Jasper, the chief executive officer of Sonic, a Santa Rosa-based Telecom. Now, more than 17 years later, her passion has brought something new to the North Bay spirits scene. “Most gin is made in a London dry style, but it actually is considered the most diverse spirit,” says Jasper.

Jasper continues to break the mold with her latest innovation, which she’s never seen done before. She’s developed a non-alcoholic gin that will be sold as a tea, so the medicinal benefits of the botanicals are the focus. The method will also eliminate the need for bottles, lessening the negative impact on the environment. And since it tastes just like gin, it’s perfect for mocktails.

Jasper’s non-alcoholic product will be available soon. Indira is available in the North Bay and in San Francisco.

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