There are several Half Moon Bay restaurants and Half Moon Bay breweries, but only two major distilleries. Half Moon Bay Distillery and Moss Beach Distillery are worth a visit particularly because of their individual stories. While one tells the story of an Austrian town that was part of the distillery business for centuries, while the other tells the story of “The Blue Lady,” a famous resident ghost. Up your alcohol game from beer to spirits (both alcoholic and ghostly) by visiting a distillery in Half Moon Bay!
Half Moon Bay Distillery
Half Moon Bay Distillery was established in 2012 by Ulli and Caesar Bisono. Ulli was raised in Austria in the northern Alps, where farmers in her hometown have been distilling fruit brandy for centuries. She became a small business owner in real estate before moving to the California coast and fulfilling her dream of owning a distillery. Her husband, Caesar, was born in New York but spent summers with his grandparents in the Dominican Republic. Sticking with his Dominican heritage, Caesar became a connoisseur of fine liqueurs, from rum to whiskey and gin. He spent his early career as a jockey before moving to Northern California to manage an equestrian event facility. After meeting Ulli and working with a gold-medal-winning Austrian distiller, he was officially introduced to the art of distilling.
Half Moon Distillery distributes to several retail outlets as well as bars and restaurants. Just a few of these include Sun Valley Market, Half Moon Bay Wine & Cheese Company, Flavor Coastal Comfort Food, the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club, and Via Uno. Specialty products at this distillery in Half Moon Bay are top-shelf Purissima Vodka and bar-strength yet smooth Harvard Avenue Gin. Half Moon Distillery also features a cocktail of the month using one of their spirits, such as the Harvard Avenue Gin Gimlet, a blend of gin, fresh lime juice, Rose’s Lime Syrup, and fresh mint leaves.
Moss Beach Distillery
Alcohol isn’t the only spirit at the haunted Moss Beach Distillery. “The Blue Lady” is a ghostly fixture, featured on Unsolved Mysteries and The Legend of the Blue Lady. According to legend, over 70 years ago, a woman fell in love with a pianist, though she was already married to another man. She was killed while walking on the beach below the restaurant with her lover, and she is said to still be searching for him. Unexplained activities at this distillery in Half Moon Bay include mysterious phone calls from no one, levitating checkbooks, locked rooms form the inside without any other means of entry, and women diners losing one earring mysteriously.
Moss Beach Distillery used to be one of the most successful speakeasies of the 1920s, but now serves as an oceanside restaurant, bar, and event space. Sunday brunch is a specialty, including menu items such as smoked salmon benedict, pulled pork rancheros, and the California coastal omelet along with a bottomless glass of sparkling wine or mimosa. The all-day menu starts off with kale and quinoa salad or an oyster shooter before diving into entrees such as a yellowfish tuna sandwich, wild mushroom ravioli, pan-seared filet mignon, crab and avocado quesadilla, or Frank’s fish and chips. The dog-friendly patio also includes a pooch menu that features bacon slices, grilled chicken breast, and a bowl of kibble. The real menu at this distillery in Half Moon Bay is the cocktail menu, featuring signature drinks such as a Pomegraniti, Poison Apple, Cucumber Apple Press, and of course The Blue Lady.
Take a Cab Back to Mill Rose Inn
After indulging in some spirits from a distillery in Half Moon Bay, be sure to take a cab ride back to Mill Rose Inn, a luxurious bed and breakfast by the sea. Soak away your troubles in the Garden Jacuzzi or rest in one of many elaborate yet charming rooms before waking up to a delicious homemade breakfast! For more information on what to do in Half Moon Bay, download our free vacation guide!