Langley shop offers taste of finer, tipsier things

Kate Johnson considers herself a novice, a neophyte when it comes to fine wines, craft beer and cider, cheese and cured meats. Perhaps in the context of standing next to a career charcuterie expert or a Master Sommelier, she is indeed a neophyte. For the majority of her customers at The Tipsy Gourmet, she’s a wealth of information and insight into flavor and taste.

Kate Johnson opened The Tipsy Gourmet in Langley to fill a void in craft drinks and snacks.

Kate Johnson considers herself a novice, a neophyte when it comes to fine wines, craft beer and cider, cheese and cured meats.

Perhaps in the context of standing next to a career charcuterie expert or a Master Sommelier, she is indeed a neophyte. For the majority of her customers at The Tipsy Gourmet, she’s a wealth of information and insight into flavor and taste.

“I like to try to get stuff in that people can’t find,” she said.

In the shop in Langley Village, the shopping area between Second and Third streets, Johnson has collected a host of hard-to-find brews, wines and spirits. Tipsy Gourmet is Langley’s new go-to place for anyone looking to put on a cocktail party.

Her talents were recently utilized in an edition of Kitsch ‘n’ Bitch, Whidbey Island Center for the Arts’ food and drink series. She created the Jammy Juice, based on a pajama-themed evening, that includes vermouth, brut rosé and an orange slice for garnish (see breakout box for the recipe).

Ask her about how to pair some of the cheeses with crackers and the right wine, and she’s got several answers. A question about what defines “abbey ale” had her stumped, but only for as long as it took for her to search online for a good definition. She may not know everything, but she’s quick to learn.

“There’s no such thing as a stupid question,” she said.

Johnson is an island girl who left Whidbey after high school, pursued culinary school in Portland, returned to the area and finally returned home to start her own business.

She opened in September 2014 in the space formerly run by the Langley liquor store. With alcohol sales taken out of the state’s strict hands, Johnson said her aim is to provide booze for special occasions and people willing to try something different. She knows that means customers have to trust her, and she’s hoping to earn that trust, one sip and one nibble at a time.

When people come in, they can often get a sample of the cured meats and special cheeses she stocks. Prosciutto, manchego, and an assortment of blue cheeses are all up for interested taste buds. Her reason is simple: she wants customers to know they like it before they buy it.

Offering that same service for the imported wines or craft bourbons isn’t as simple. She can’t just crack open a bottle and offer sips at all hours of the day, so she hosts regular events. Some of the upcoming tastings cost $5 to $10 and include organic and sustainable wines, American cider tasting, ladies night and Eastern European wines.

Anyone with hesitation about attending one of her wine tastings should take heart from a story she told about one regular customer. He had not attended any of her near weekly tastings until she asked why and heard that he didn’t know how to properly taste a wine or swirl it. She was happy to show him the method of keeping the glass on the table, how to smell and taste wine like an aficionado.

Those seeking local products will be hard pressed to find it in Johnson’s store. She said that’s because if they want a Whidbey wine, they should go to the winery itself and directly support them.

“When you don’t want to drink Washington wine, come see me,” she said.

 

Jammy Juice

Kate Johnson, owner of The Tipsy Gourmet in Langley, crafted this cocktail in honor of WICA’s Kitsch ‘n’ Bitch series.

4 oz. BroVo Spirits Jammy Vermouth

1 oz. Oriol Rossell Brut Rosé

1 orange slice

Pour vermouth over ice in cocktail glass, top with a floater of rosé. Garnish with orange slice.

Enjoy!


 

More in Business

Healing Circles offers sanctuary and support

The people sitting in a circle of comfortable chairs may talk about… Continue reading

Training slated at mussel rafts

Penn Cove Shellfish employees will participate in oil spill training Friday near… Continue reading

SICBA holds home tour

Skagit/Island Counties Builders Association will hold its 12th annual SICBA Home Tour… Continue reading

Gemkow now McClure Custom Homes

Gemkow Construction has changed its name to McClure Custom Homes, LLC nearly… Continue reading

Photographer wins Whidbey Telecom’s cover art contest

Whidbey Telecom has announced the winner of its 2018-19 Directory Cover Art… Continue reading

Freeland sculpture park open to public Aug. 25, 26

‘Liberating the image within’ sparks Hank Nelson’s creative vision

Mother-daughter duo bringing corners of the world to Whidbey

Fiona and Francesca Coenen-Winer sell pieces from near and far

Island Senior Resources aims to raise $10k Aug. 1

Growing demand for essential services strains nonprofit agency

Habitat taking over Saratoga Community Housing

After witnessing Saratoga Community Housing’s declining effectiveness, Habitat for Humanity of Island… Continue reading

Celebrate everything rabbit-related during Bunny Daze, March 26-31

Spring has sprung, and so have the bunnies. Celebrate the furry creatures… Continue reading

Schools foundation holding Dine Out Wednesdays

The South Whidbey Schools Foundation is holding its March Dine Out Wednesdays… Continue reading

Langley chocolatier Mona Newbauer offers a wide variety of gourmet chocolates in her shop, Sweet Mona’s. Some of those chocolates will make their way to Coupeville Saturday for the annual Chocolate Walk. Photo by Megan Hansen/Whidbey News-Times
Chocolate Walk tickets selling quickly

A handful of tickets remain available for Saturday’s Coupeville Chocolate Walk. For… Continue reading