Years ago the team at Cupcake Royale attended a Bon Appetite Catering meeting at 2bar Spirits in SODO. We had the great fortune to meet owner Nathan Kaiser. Throughout the years we’ve used his bourbon here and there in various boozy treats like ice creams and cupcake frostings. Now we’d like to bring you up close and personal with Mr. Kaiser, our go-to bourbon whisperer.

Nathan started the distillery armed with a microbiology degree, years of experience with startups (mostly in tech), and a family history of making moonshine. It almost seems like destiny that he would be a bourbon slinger.

2bar Spirits opened it’s doors in October 2012, but 2bar Ranch in South Texas has been in the Kaiser family for five generations. More than a century ago the Kaiser family settled their South Texas land and established the 2bar Ranch. Five generations of Kaisers have ranched that land under the 2bar brand. Rumors of moonshining are also part of the family tree, but what people remember about the ranch is the quality, independence, and hard work. Nathan applies those characteristics to 2bar fine crafted spirits. The company name comes from the ranch side of the family, but the moonshining, legend has it, comes from both. So moonshine seemed like a logical first spirit for Kaiser’s Seattle distillery.

2bar Spirits is one of the few grain-to-bottle operations. Their moonshine is an un-aged spirit made from 80% corn and 20% malted barley, a less complex mash bill than Kaiser’s corn-focused white dog (which is what goes into oak barrels to become bourbon).

Speaking of bourbon, what makes bourbon, well, bourbon? Part of it is the aging process that smooths out rough edges as the wood interacts with the spirit. But in 2bar’s moonshine, the flavor stays true to the original ingredients. The dominant flavor is reminiscent of summer’s sweetest corn, with a brightness that bourbon’s time in the barrel tends to mellow.

As much as we love the the bourbon, the single-distilled vodka is just as wonderfully sweet, creamy, and rich — a far cry from anything you’ll find from most major producers. Nathan welcomes flavor in his vodka, rather than trying to distill it out.

2bar Spirits has been approached by multiple states, UK, Europe, and Canada about increasing exports, but Nathan and his team want to focus on the Pacific Northwest. Sourcing product and keeping production and distribution local is really important. Nathan’s goal is to grow steadily for the long-term and continue to focus on quality.

As part of our Boozy series of cupcakes launching February 1st, 2016 we invented the Smoked Old Fashioned cupcake featuring 2bar Spirits Bourbon. Fresh orange zest vanilla cupcake, smokey maple and whiskey buttercream topped with Luxardo cherries. It’s sophisticated, boozy, and sweet — what else could you want?


by Benjamin Blackketter

Smoked Old Fashioned cupcake featuring 2bar Spirits Bourbon