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SUMMER 2017

ORIGIN MY THS

FAIRY AWARE

SUMMER CRUSH

SPIRIT GUIDE

Who created the Margarita?

The facts about absinthe

Blending is back in vogue

B.C. listings and tasting notes

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Contents 08 – SEARCHING FOR MARGARITAVILLE The many origin stories of a summer favourite by Joanne Sasvari

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16 – FEAR NOT THE FAIRY Dispelling the myths behind absinthe by Alexandra Gill

Dan Toulgoet photo

22 – THE COSMOPOLITAN Our man at the bar pairs cocktails with mood and moment by John Burns

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25 – THERE’S NEW LIFE IN THE OLD TOMCAT Local distilleries roll out the barrel-aged gin by Janet Gyenes

Meghan Kirkpatrick photo

Cover image: Dan Toulgoet

31 – RETURN TO BLENDER These aren’t your average slushies by Justin Taylor

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35 – DIY STILL So you want to start a distillery? Start saving first by Charlene Rooke 05

38-50 – DISTILLERY LISTINGS With tasting notes from our panel of experts. Talia Kleinplatz photo


Contributors

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John Burns has been writing about politics, culture and food for more than 25 years. In that time, he’s found most dishes and drinks a) too sweet, b) too salty, or c) both. Those rare times when things are just right please him, therefore, all the more.

Charlene Rooke is a Certified Specialist of Spirits and a Moonshine University-trained craft distiller who writes for enRoute, Taste and Food & Drink. She drinks stirred rye Manhattans on the rocks.

Alexandra Gill is the Globe and Mail’s western restaurant critic and a freelance food and drinks writer for numerous publications. She moved to Vancouver at the start of the city’s cocktail renaissance. No wonder she never left.

Joanne Sasvari is a Vancouverbased writer who covers food, drink and travel for a variety of publications, including weekly drinks columns for the Vancouver Sun and Westender.

Janet Gyenes is a travel writer, editor and beverage columnist. Her articles and photography covering everything from cocktails to kayaking have been published in a range of print and digital publications.

Justin Taylor has been mixing it up behind the bars of Toronto and Vancouver for almost two decades. He is currently general manager of The Cascade Room in Vancouver.


Meghan Kirkpatrick photo

W

hile the drinks we celebrate in The Alchemist are distilled, many are also steeped in lore.

Whether they’re murky origin myths, tales of legendary proportions, or simple yarns warped by tellings and retellings in countless bars, pubs and speakeasies over the years, these stories add a dramatic layer of interest to our favourite spirits and cocktails. In this issue we shine a light on several of these drinks of much-debated birth, including Old Tom gin and the notorious Green Fairy itself, absinthe. We’re also hoping something else will be shining by the time you read this. It’s supposed to be summer, after all. Perfect timing, then, for the blender to come back into vogue behind the bar. “Crushed ice” doesn’t need to be a dirty term in the cocktail world, and our recipes will show you why. Of course, it’s also the best time of year to reacquaint yourself with Margarita. Just don’t expect a straight answer about her back story. Cheers! Jan Zeschky, Interim Editor

PUBLISHER: Gail Nugent gnugent@glaciermedia.ca EDITOR: Fiona Morrow (on leave) fmorrow@thealchemist.ca INTERIM EDITOR: Jan Zeschky DESIGN & PRODUCTION MANAGER: Tara Rafiq CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Lou Lou Childs, Jeff Grayston, Meghan Kirkpatrick, Talia Kleinplatz, Dan Toulgoet. ILLUSTRATOR: Ryan Mitson @TheAlchemistBC @TheAlchemistMag Published by: Glacier Community Media 303 West 5th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1J6 604-742-8678 © The Alchemist 2017 This issue is complimentary.

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Dan Toulgoet photo

“On the one hand, it’s hard to mess it up. But on the other hand, it’s hard to perfect,” says Ryley Zucca of La Mezcaleria about the Margarita.

Searching for Margaritaville 08

MASTERING THIS QUINTESSENTIAL SUMMER COCKTAIL CAN BE AS DIFFICULT AS TRACKING DOWN ITS ORIGINS by Joanne Sasvari


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t’s the taste of a perfect summer afternoon: that citrus bite, the peppery hit of tequila, the touch of salt like the spray of a random ocean wave. We’re talking about the Margarita, of course; the quintessential summer cocktail that holds a mysterious past. When it comes to this particular dame’s history, no one really knows what the truth is.

NO WAY, JOSE

Jose Cuervo’s take on the Margarita myth is that the drink was invented in 1938 by a bartender in honour of Mexican showgirl Rita de la Rosa. The tequila maker began running ads for the Margarita in 1945 featuring the slogan, “Margarita: It’s more than a girl’s name.”

“There are a bunch of stories and they all have to do with a woman named Margaret or Margarita or Rita,” says Ryley Zucca, beverage director of Vancouver’s La Mezcaleria restaurants.

including the actress Rita (born Margarita) Hayworth in Tijuana, socialite Margaret Sames in Acapulco and singer Peggy Lee — “Peggy” being short for Margaret — in Galveston, Texas.

According to the best known tale, a Tijuana bartender named Carlos “Danny” Herrera invented the drink in the 1930s for a glamorous Ziegfield showgirl named Marjorie King. She was apparently allergic to all spirits except tequila (uh-huh), so he took a traditional sour, replaced the gin with tequila, and a classic was born.

Chances are, though, that none of these stories is true.

Other stories have a variety of bartenders in the 1940s inventing the cocktail for beautiful women named Margaret who happened to have a thing for tequila,

HOT BUFFETT

“Margaritaville” was Jimmy Buffett’s biggest — some might say only — hit when it was released in 1977. Elvis Presley was originally slated to record the song, which Buffett wrote about wasting away a summer at a Florida beach resort.

Cocktail historian David Wondrich traces the Margarita back to a much older drink called the Daisy. Invented in the 1870s, it comprised a shot of liquor shaken with lemon juice and “orange cordial” — what we now consider a standard sour. Sometime in the 1920s, it seems, a customer asked for a Gin Daisy at the Turf Bar in Tijuana. The bartender, Henry Madden, accidentally grabbed the wrong bottle, made the drink with tequila instead of gin and, completely by mistake, created the Margarita, which is Spanish for Daisy. To add credibility to this story, it was told to a reporter in 1936, by which time the drink had spread across Mexico. Or had it?

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THE ONE THING WE KNOW ABOUT THE MARGARITA IS THAT IT’S NOT A MEXICAN COCKTAIL AT ALL. INSTEAD, THEY WILL DRINK PALOMAS AND MICHEL ADAS AND ANY THING YOU CAN MIX WITH HORCHATA.

Dan Toulgoet photo

Mexican Firing Squad adds grenadine and bitters to the Margarita mix.

“The one thing we know about the Margarita is that it’s not a Mexican cocktail at all,” says Zucca. “Instead, they will drink Palomas and Micheladas and anything you can mix with horchata [a creamy, ground-rice drink].” In fact, Mexico has never had much of a cocktail culture. However and whenever it was created, the Margarita emerged from the borderlands. But that doesn’t make it any less delicious, provided, of course, that it’s made right. “On the one hand, it’s hard to mess it up. But on the other, it’s hard to perfect. Its real brilliance is its simplicity,” Zucca says. 10

The formula for the classic Margarita is so easy you can even remember it after too many, well, Margaritas: two parts tequila, one part lime juice, one part Cointreau. Shake it up and serve it up in a cocktail glass or over ice in a saltrimmed rocks glass.

The most important thing is to use a good quality, 100-per-cent blue agave tequila, not a cheap mixto. The second most important thing is to use fresh juice, not sour mix. There are countless variations on the Margarita, including pineapple, ginger, blood orange and pomegranate, the latter of which goes into a little-known classic from the 1930s called the Mexican Firing Squad. “The key to a delicious Mexican Firing Squad is good grenadine, not to be confused with mass-produced and cloyingly saccharine pre-bottled or on-the-gun swill,” says Zucca. “It’s bright and fresh, rich and deep, slightly sweet and perfectly tart.” Then, of course, there’s the frozen Margarita, invented in the 1950s and popularized in the ’70s. “I have no ill will toward a frozen Margarita,” Zucca says, before throwing some shade at this Daisy-come-lately. “Though what you will get is a less fresh, less bespoke Margarita.” Though we may know little about the Margarita’s past, one thing about this cocktail is clear. As Zucca says, “When the weather is sunny, it goes down so fast.”


MEXICAN FIRING SQUAD Take aim at some g reat g renadine flavours.

2 oz blanco tequila (or mezcal) ¾ oz grenadine* ¾ oz fresh lime juice 3 dashes Angostura bitters 1 dash lime bitters Splash of soda Lime wheel, for garnish

Shake all the ingredients except soda with ice. Strain over fresh ice in a Collins glass. Top with soda and garnish with a lime wheel. Serves 1. *La Mezcaleria’s grenadine: Place 1 cup pomegranate juice (fresh is best, but bottled 100-per-cent pomegranate juice will also work) in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for approximately 5 minutes. To preserve the bright, fresh flavour, do not boil or reduce the juice. Remove from the heat and add 1 cup sugar and a couple of dashes of orange flower water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. This will keep, refrigerated, in a clean glass jar for up to a week. —by Ryley Zucca

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Dan Toulgoet photo


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When you check in to the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, there’s no real reason to leave until you check out. With spas, superb food and three of Vancouver’s leading bars inside its 90-year-old walls, this glamorous landmark accommodation is a highlight reel of local luxury, history and flavour. The hotel’s attention to detail and local emphasis is showcased by the recent

remodelling of its 1927 Lobby Lounge, a relaxed space with soft, natural light and seats that encourage reclining. Its walls now host a variety of historical photos featuring famous guests — including Sinatra, Elvis and Sammy Davis, Jr. — as well as some original Frank Herzog shots. The bar at 1927 offers a wide gin-centric selection of cocktails, curated by head bartender Robyn Gray. Among them are


the famous Hotel Georgia, whose origins go back to the 1940s, and a variety of G&Ts done properly — something very important to Brad Simmons, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “It doesn’t need to be overly complicated. It’s about having the right garnishings with that gin and tonic, whether that’s grapefruit, peppercorns, or a little bit of basil or some rosemary. All of these things that will complement the botanicals,” Simmons says. To that end, the hotel has even had its own tonic created by Bittercube, in collaboration with Bombay Sapphire. For an even more laid-back experience in the open air, take the elevator to the fourth floor and the oasis of the Reflections garden terrace. Edison lights twinkle in Japanese maples, while lowslung sofas beckon amid water features. It’s a beautiful space designed for familystyle dining over brunches, lunches and dinners, whether that’s pizzas, salads or charcuterie — “chill, relaxed, good food; simple food but done beautifully,” Simmons says. There’s also a fully stocked bar and an extensive B.C. wine list. If you’re more about letting your hair down than putting your feet up, head down to Prohibition for live jazz- and swing-influenced music and a stellar spirits and cocktail selection, including an authentic absinthe experience. One must-try is Gray’s Inception cocktail, a “Negroni within a Negroni”: a red

negroni injected into a sphere of ice, then added to a white negroni. With such a range of experiences, you might be tempted to make a full day of your stay at the Hotel Georgia — even if you’re not a guest. “Keep in mind that it’s a relatively small hotel in the scheme of things. But in bar terms, we have three of the leading bars in the city and they’re all very different,” Simmons says.

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or over a decade, Chambar has been known as not only a destination restaurant famous for its Belgian and Moroccaninfluenced cuisine, but also as a cocktail mecca that has attracted and nurtured some of the city’s top talent. With a fantastic kitchen that produces strong Belgian and North African influence, the bar program works collaboratively to uphold the food flavours, while being rooted in storytelling. The classic cocktail world is extremely dynamic; there are beverages that have outlasted multiple wars, multiple countries. The stories of the cocktails add interesting complexity to Chambar’s well considered list. Every cocktail is perishable art.

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Photo credit: www.jlowphoto.ca


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Meghan Kirkpatrick photo

Bar manager Simon Ogden draws off some absinthe from the fountain at the Veneto Tap Lounge in Victoria.

Fear not the fairy 16

L AYING BARE THE LEGENDS AND LORE BEHIND ABSINTHE by Alexandra Gill “After the first glass, you see things as they are. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.” — Oscar Wilde


A

bsinthe, the fabled Green Fairy that ran amok through Paris at the height of the Belle Époque, remains the most polarizing spirit on the bar shelf. At Veneto Tapa Lounge in Victoria, an ornate absinthe fountain in the front window attracts curiosity seekers like bees to wild nectar. “People put on the brakes, walk in, bang a couple back and start going on about how they’re going to cut off their ears,” says bar manager Simon Ogden. Yet over in Whistler at Cure Lounge, bar manager Rhiannon Csordas finds that even her entry-level Movie Star cocktail, which dilutes its tiny quarter-ounce of absinthe with gingerlemongrass syrup and whisky, makes customers run for the mountains. “I have to promise them it’s going to be OK. They’re not going to start seeing fairies and fly away,” Csordas says. Ah, the legends and lore are such a big part of absinthe’s allure. But now that three B.C. distilleries are making it — Okanagan Spirits, Pemberton Distillery and Arbutus Distillery — it is time to separate fact from fiction.

Meghan Kirkpatrick photo

Absinthe is still something of a niche product, but it’s already being produced by three B.C. distilleries.

I HAVE TO PROMISE THEM IT’S GOING TO BE OK. THEY’RE NOT GOING TO START SEEING FAIRIES AND FLY AWAY. WHAT IS IT? Absinthe is an anise-flavoured spirit distilled with various botanicals, most notably wormwood. It was invented by a French doctor as a remedy for stomach upset, and was first manufactured in 1805 by Pernod Fils. By the late 19th century, it had become popular among the artistic bohemian set (Oscar Wilde, Vincent van Gogh and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, among others). And of course that crowd got itself into all sorts of trouble — debauchery, madness, self-mutilation, what have you — which accounts for much of the mythology.

J’ACCUSE! OUTRAGE AND OUTL AWED

The movement to ban absinthe gathered momentum when a peasant in Switzerland called Jean Lamfray shot dead his pregnant wife and two daughters after drinking two glasses of absinthe in 1905. In the moral outrage that followed, it was forgotten that Lamfrey was a chronic alcoholic who drank up to five litres of wine per day. Switzerland banned absinthe in 1908 and many other countries soon followed.

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Meghan Kirkpatrick photo

SWEET SERVING SUGGESTION

The classic French absinthe ritual involves placing a sugar cube on a perforated spoon resting on the rim of the glass containing a measure of absinthe. Iced water is slowly dripped on to the sugar, which gradually dissolves and drips into the absinthe, causing the spirit to louche.

WHY WAS IT BANNED? Absinthe’s mass appeal can be traced to the 1870s phylloxera blight, which devastated European vineyards and drove up the price of wine. It was the winemakers, helped along by the temperance movement, who later led the charge for absinthe’s early 20thcentury ban in the United States and much of Europe. 18

IS IT LEGAL IN CANADA? Although absinthe was never banned in Canada, it wasn’t until 2000 that the first imports arrived. In 2007, Kelowna’s Okanagan Spirits launched Taboo Genuine Absinthe, the first made-in-

Canada absinthe, which uses a kirsch alcohol base. It has since won two gold medals at the World Spirits Awards. WILL IT MAKE YOU HALLUCINATE? Wormwood is a bitter herb that contains a psychoactive ingredient called thujone, which is said to cause hallucinations when ingested in great quantities. But it is also a naturopathic remedy commonly found in drugstores. The levels found in locally distilled absinthe are minuscule and strictly monitored. WHY DOES ABSINTHE STILL GET A BAD RAP? Because it has a high-alcohol content — the B.C. brands are 60 per cent ABV. HOW SHOULD YOU DRINK IT? With chilled water, both to dilute the alcohol and to activate the milky, lavalamp louching effect, an important part of the ritual for some. It is the oil from the anise seeds that creates la louche, and depending on the recipe, some absinthes louche better than others. WHY DO BARTENDERS LOVE IT? In Europe, absinthe was typically taken straight as an aperitif, but, in North America, it was primarily used as a cocktail accent. “There are so many classics — the Sazerac, the Corpse Reviver No. 2 — that can’t be made without absinthe,” says Ogden. “Now that it’s back, it has opened a door to a room of beautiful drinks that we didn’t have access to before.”


GODDESS OF THE HUNT A decadent drink for wannabe immortals

0.75 oz Taboo Absinthe 0.75 oz Giffard White Chocolate Syrup 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice Prosecco

Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake with ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with prosecco. —by Simon Ogden

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Meghan Kirkpatrick photo


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Rye smile JS DUPUIS IS BACK DOING WHAT HE LOVES, WITH THE DRINKS HE LOVES, AT HOMER STREET CAFÉ AND TABLEAU It’s a time of change at the Homer Street Café and its sister venue, Tableau Bar Bistro. And that suits JS Dupuis just fine. Following a stint in sales, Dupuis returned to the fold as beverage director for the restaurants in April. 20

“I learned a lot about the other side of the business, but I learned a lot about myself,” he says, sitting at the Homer Street bar. “I’m a hospitality person. I like working in the hospitality business, I like being in a

restaurant, I like hosting events … this is where I want to be.” Dupuis’ newfound sense of belief is driving a new direction for both Homer Street and Tableau, as he revamps their drinks programs to align with their identities. For Tableau, which is going back to its bistro-cuisine roots, that means Frenchinspired cocktails featuring French ingredients. The latter includes vermouth,


whiskies, so I want to focus on it and use it just to set us apart a bit. And just because I like using it.”

one of Dupuis’ favourites. The Montreal native is excited to see it gaining a new audience in Vancouver. “Five, six, seven years ago you had one vermouth, and now people are asking ‘What kind of vermouth do you have?’ … People are starting to realize there’s more to these things and bartenders are getting more creative.” At Homer Street, Dupuis gets to indulge in his other love, rye, which will offer a rough focus for the bar. The North American spirit just felt right for the retro-style café and the classic, high-ceilinged charm of its newer annex, which features a wealth of reclaimed features such as flooring from the demolished Pantages Theatre. “In the past few years, a lot of distilleries have come up with a lot of fun Canadian

That includes in cocktails such as Spring Flowers, featuring rye and limoncello, and Dupuis’ favourite, the Boulevardier. Dupuis will also be pushing food pairing principles for his cocktail and wine selections, training staff and offering suggestions to customers. “We want to make drinks that are light and fun and fresh that you can have before your meal; then cocktails that are more robust that can go with roast chicken or a beautiful piece of roast beef from the rotisserie; then maybe something bitter and stronger for after dinner.” Underpinning the new direction at Homer Street and Tableau is a focus on value. That could mean fun specials such as a côte de boeuf for two, and “weird” wine selections from France by the glass. “We want to offer good value at both places,” Dupuis says. “We’re a neighbourhood restaurant... Being neighbourly, offering great value, so you can come here once, twice, three times a week without having to break the bank.”

Homer St. Cafe & Bar, 898 Homer Street, 604-428-4299, @HomerStCafeBar HomerStreetCafeBar.com Tableau Bar Bistro, 1181 Melville Street, 604-639-8692, @TableauBistro @TableauBarBistro TableauBarBistro.com

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THE COSMOPOLITAN THERE’S A COCKTAIL FOR EVERY MOOD AND MOMENT, SAYS JOHN BURNS, OUR MAN AT THE BAR

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o me, cocktails are mood on ice. They elevate a moment, enhance life. They’re the pocket squares of gastronomy, the clever patterned socks that tie it all together and keep the same old interesting. In that way, they distill our best selves. When I travel, I always treat myself to an interesting bar off in some neighbourhood (thanks for the research, city magazines!) and in preparation, run through the questions. What will I wear? What time of day will I visit? And, of course, what will I order? The whole sums to this: For these precious minutes, who will I be? Cary Grant? Steve McQueen? (Hey, don’t laugh at other people’s selfdelusions.)

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A few weeks back I found myself in Toronto at Leña, the little bar in the Saks on Yonge Street, and because it was warm and it was Friday and everyone looked so damn… tidy, I ordered an Aperol Spritz. Not always my favourite drink, but at the right time of day, when the light’s just so, it’s perfect. The second one felt even perfecter.

I’d been in New York just before that and had the chance to choose the bar where an Important Conversation would take place. I’m a hopeless romantic, so no Dead Rabbit for me. I’ll bypass bleedingedge cool most nights for tattered glory. So it was a no-brainer: Bemelmans in the Carlyle, that Upper East Side bastion of hot jazz and mahogany cool. Bemelmans is Old New York, muted, gracious, posh. Chris Gillespie was on the piano (as he’s been, weeknightly, since 2001), giving a master class on the Great American Songbook. Fitting, since composer Richard Rodgers was the hotel’s first tenant back in 1930. Scanning the drinks list by the trembling candlelight, I was torn. The bar was revamped, but not fussed with, in 2001 when the legendary Audrey Saunders (Blackbird, Pegu Club) revitalized the beverage program. It’s wonderfully balanced, opening the possibility for many moods. The setting is luxe and understated, but we were in Manhattan, poised to talk big business. Was it Gin-Gin Mule time?


FOR THESE PRECIOUS MINUTES, WHO WILL I BE? CARY GRANT? STEVE MCQUEEN?

Illustration by Ryan Mitson

The signature cocktail, developed by Saunders and made famous at the Pegu, adds fresh mint to a traditional mule — delicious (and bonus points: born in Manhattan), but to my view not a drink to enjoy in the dusky confines of a club. Another house standard, the Maple Leaf, a whiskey sour with maple syrup (shades of Erik Adkins’ Filibuster), felt a little on the nose for a Canadian. In the end, I went with location and the fact I was in a suit: a Tequila Manhattan, made with George Clooney’s añejo

tequila, antica formula sweet vermouth, and orange bitters. At US$23 ($31 Canadian), it wasn’t cheap, though cocktails come with a complementary Sidecar on ice — so, two for one. My companion chose the Champagne Dream with Cointreau, orange juice, and pomegranate liqueur finished with Canard-Duchêne Champagne (US$34), then switched to a Passion Royale (passion fruit-infused vodka and lime, topped with Champagne) as we got down to business over “Take the A Train.” I could feel sheepish about drinking at the Carlyle — pretty touristy, right? Well, I don’t. The night was magical. The murals, painted by onetime resident Ludwig Bemelmans of Madeline fame, were luminous. Chris Gillespie let me choose the last song of his set (“All of Me,” played happy), and the night was magic. I felt my best self, as a Tequila Manhattan should enable. As we came to our agreement, I recalled Paul Theroux, who wrote: “All travel offers a sort of special licence allowing you to be anyone you want to be.” This me felt pretty fly.

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A fresh idea on the classic negroni.

The “BC Negroni”. Made with BC’s own handcrafted Tempo Gin and Bitterhouse Rubato. Cin Cin!


There’s new life in the old tomcat GIN’S DARK PAST COMES TO LIGHT AS DISTILLERS GO BACK TO THE DRINK’S BARREL-AGED ROOTS by Janet Gyenes

Dan Toulgoet photo

Early gin was stored and shipped in barrels, so it was naturally darker. Modern barrel-aging aims to add vanilla and spice complexity to gin’s botanicals.

T

o the superstitious, a black cat is a bad omen. But to underground drinkers during Prohibition, spotting a sign depicting an old tomcat meant you’d hit the gin jackpot. A precursor to the crisp and clear London dry gin, Old Tom gin was stored and shipped in wooden barrels, so it had a naturally

darker hue. Sometimes it was sweeter or more resiny, thanks to the addition of sugar or, yes, turpentine. Swill or not, Old Tom was probably better than no Tom. Thankfully, those murky days are done. Gin has seen the light. So, why are so many B.C. distillers resurrecting the juniper spirit’s shadowy past and aging it in wood?

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Dan Toulgoet photo

WITH ITS NOTES OF VANILL A AND SPICE, BARRELAGED GIN INVITES COMPARISONS TO BROWN SPIRITS LIKE WHISKY AND RUM. AND IT’S ARGUABLY A GATEWAY GIN FOR JUNIPER HATERS.

Liberty Distilling ages its Old Tom in French oak Chardonnay barrels, while Wayward lets its gin sit in bourbon barrels for six months.

“It’s a West Coast thing,” says Dave Brimacomb, head distiller and cofounder of Wayward Distillation House in Courtenay. He’s explaining what spurred him to stash a batch of the distillery’s Unruly Gin in a 200-litre Basil Hayden’s bourbon barrel and let it sit for six months.

But isn’t something lost in this rediscovered spirit? Doesn’t the wood beat down gin’s botanical bite, making it mellow yellow? Unlike the Old Tom of yore, modern barrel aging isn’t about “fixing” bad gin but enhancing its complexity instead, by drawing more individual flavours out of the oak.

Blame our American cousins. They started stirring up the barrel-aged gin renaissance about five years ago. “For me, it seems like a natural progression,” says Brimacomb. “I wanted get back to the roots of where gin comes from.” Gin, he says, lends itself well to barrel aging.

When making Wayward Order Bourbon Barreled Gin, “we resist the temptation [to use smaller] 30-litre barrels,” says Brimacomb. Larger barrels let the gin mature more traditionally, resulting in an aged spirit that’s lighter in colour, without the wood overwhelming the juniper. As Brimacomb puts it: “More maturation, less alteration.”

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TOM, MEET COLLINS

The first recorded mention of Old Tom was, rather appropriately, in a recipe for a Tom Collins cocktail in 1891.

With its notes of vanilla and spice, barrel-aged gin invites comparisons to brown spirits like whiskey and rum. And it’s arguably a gateway gin for juniper haters.


But aren’t distillers gambling with a spirit that’s already a safe bet? Lisa Simpson, director of operations at The Liberty Distillery on Granville Island, disagrees. “Part of our joy and fun is to convert the ‘nay’ gin drinkers into gin lovers,” she says.

The Liberty Distillery’s aim in making Endeavour Old Tom Gin was to pay homage to gin’s darker days with a more full-bodied and full-flavoured spirit. “Something that was really intense,” says Simpson. It starts with the London dry-style Endeavour Gin, which has a base of 10 botanicals. “Then we add another five to macerate. That was to lend more of a spicy Christmas cake-style character,” says Simpson. (One botanical is a tea grown in B.C. that also provides depth of colour.) Then it goes into 220-litre French oak Chardonnay barrels, which have been used once or twice, and aged for four to six months. Simpson says the modern take on the old method of barrel-aging gin is here to stay. She likes using her Old Tom in a Negroni or a Manhattan.

PUSS IN BOOZE

One origin story of the Old Tom name lies in an illicit gin-dispensing unit created in 18th-century London, built into a wooden sign of a cat and fitted in a window. Thirsty passersby would drop money into a slot in the cat’s mouth and receive their fix of gin from a funnel built under the cat’s paw.

“The sweeter spice tones start coming through,” she says. “It’s not a sweet drink by any means, but very spirit forward. It’s easy sipping.” Brimacomb also uses his aged gin to concoct a classic. “I’ve been drinking Old Fashioneds,” he says. “That’s been pleasing me a lot.”

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?? photo Dan Toulgoet photo

THE TOM CAT

A fr uity, herbal mix to get your whiskers twitching

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2 oz. Old Tom gin ½ oz. lemon juice ½ oz. Tuscan pear rooibos tea syrup ½ oz. Triple Sec 3 dashes of peach bitters Rosemary sprig and lemon twist

Fill a Collins Glass with ice. Shake all ingredients in a Boston glass. Strain into Collins Glass. Garnish with rosemary sprig and lemon twist. —by The Liberty Distillery


Introducing Kaitlyn Stewart 2017 World Class Canada Bartender of the year!

Views from the Drink 1oz Bulleit Rye 0.5oz Amaro Montenegro 0.5oz Tim Hortons coffee syrup*

0.5oz Lime Juice 2 dashes Angostura bitters Top with ginger beer

Combine all ingredients, excluding the ginger beer, into a shaker tin. Vigorously shake for 7-10 seconds. Strain into collins glass over crushed ice, top with ginger beer. *Coffee Syrup Using a 1:1 ration of sugar to water, add to a pot and bring to a light simmer. Add in 2 tablespoons of Tim Hortons ground coffee and let steep for 10 minutes. Fine strain the mixture and refrigerate.

VISIT US: 905 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver • 604 974 8077 royaldinette.ca • @royaldinette

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ENJOY OUR FAMILY-LOVED, TRIED, TESTED AND TRUSTED RECIPES BROUGHT FROM SPAIN TO YOUR TABLE - TODAY.

COME BIEN, RÍE CON FRECUENCIA Y AMA MUCHO (EAT WELL, LAUGH OFTEN & LOVE MUCH)

30

Available at Bodega on Main, 1014 Main Street, Vancouver, 604-565-8815 or email SALES@BODEGAFOODS.CA bodegaonmain.ca bodegaonmainvan @bodegaonmain


Talia Kleinplatz photo

Return to blender THE CACOPHONY OF SPINNING BL ADES IS USUALLY THE SIGN OF AN INFERIOR COCKTAIL — BUT BARTENDERS ARE NOW SEEING THE GADGET’S POTENTIAL by Justin Taylor

O

nce a derided device of the past, the blender is slowly finding its way back into cocktail bars around the globe.

powered noise-maker — not because of its potential, but because of what was expected of it.

The blender was formerly synonymous with chain restaurants that favour sickly sweet syrups and pre-mixes with inferior alcohol over fresh fruit and quality spirits. Daiquiris, Margaritas and Piña Coladas were almost ruined by this culture. Most quality cocktail bars banned the high-

However, the modern, creative bartender is beginning a rehabilitation of the blender. Drinks considered far too refined for the spinning blades are now being elevated by this technique. The blender is in vogue. Here are a few blended gems from my cocktail pages.

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Talia Kleinplatz photo

HEMINGWAY DAIQUIRI

4 oz light cuban rum 1 oz maraschino liqueur 1.5 oz freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice

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1.5 oz freshly squeezed lime juice 0.5 oz simple syrup* 2 cups of cubed ice

Add all ingredients to a blender, leaving the cubed ice until last. Put the lid on and blend on the lowest setting. Slowly increase the speed until the desired texture is reached. Pour into Martini glasses. Garnish with fresh mint and a grapefruit wedge. Serves 2.

BLOOD ORANGE NEGRONI

1 oz London dry gin 1 oz Campari 1 oz sweet vermouth

3 oz freshly squeezed blood orange 2 cups of cubed ice

Add all ingredients to a blender, leaving the cubed ice until last. Put the lid on and blend on the lowest setting. Slowly increase the speed until the desired texture is reached. Pour into double Old Fashioned glasses. Garnish with a fresh rosemary and a straw, or maybe even a spoon. Serves 2.

*Simple syrup: Bring one cup of sugar and one cup of water to the boil while stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool. Keep sugar syrup refrigerated in an airtight container. Keeps for up to one month.


RAMOS GIN FIZZ

4 oz London dry gin 1 oz simple syrup* 0.5 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice 0.5 oz freshly squeezed lime juice 2 oz heavy cream

1 tsp orange flower water 2 oz club soda 1 oz liquid egg white (white of one large egg) 1 cup of cubed ice

Add all ingredients to a blender, leaving the cubed ice until last. Put the lid on and blend on the lowest setting. Slowly increase the speed until the ice has melted and cocktail has become light and frothy. Pour into Highball glasses. Garnish with grated nutmeg and perhaps an umbrella. Serves 2. —all recipes by JustinTaylor

PEACH BELLINI

1 oz peach liqueur 1 oz prosecco 1 fresh pitted peach (leave skin on for added colour and texture)

OR 3 oz white peach puree 2 cups of cubed ice

Add all ingredients to a blender, leaving the cubed ice until last. Put the lid on and blend on the lowest setting. Slowly increase the speed until the desired texture is reached. Pour into coupe glasses. Garnish with fresh mint and peach slices. Serves 2. TIP: Depending on the type of ice, more or less may be needed to perfect the drink’s consistency. Please experiment responsibly!

33


Local spirits. Handcrafted cocktails. Sustainable dining. 1300 ROBSON ST. | VANCOUVER BC | 604-661-1400

Photo credit: jonny_nono

YOUR SOURCE for LOCAL beer, wine 34

& spirits

open daily 10am-11pm • delivery available 1218 west pender, vancouver • 604.685.1212 coalharbourliquorstore.com


Still life

THE LURE OF COPPER IS STRONG. BUT IF YOU WANT TO BE A DISTILLER, YOU’D BET TER START SAVING — OR GET YOUR DIY ON by Charlene Rooke

H

ere’s the thing: It could all blow. Not just your meticulous business plan, your local-grain supply chain or your retro-cool logo. I mean the actual still. It could blow. Distilling is a high-stakes poker game of chemistry and engineering. Add pressure, heat and wayward puffs of highly explosive ethanol vapour and — well, more than one local distiller can show you scars. The actual still is typically the most important, and expensive, thing in the distillery. A properly zoned space, architectural plans, drainage and ventilation, heating and cooling: you’ll need all that, too. But that’s not nearly as fun as choosing the gleaming rig that will become your BFF. Plenty of distillers even name their stills: Phillips Fermentorium in Victoria calls its vintage British 1920s still Old George. So influential is that single piece of equipment on spirit-making, that magical thinking takes hold of grown humans (mostly men). In the Scottish Highlands, I heard tales of banged-up pot stills replaced after decades of useful life by new stills, carefully dinged up at the foundry in exactly the same spots. (They believe in fairies, too.)

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The last thing any maker of an excellent spirit wants? Change.

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industrial, hand-crafted and machined parts” that he calls his “secret sauce.”

As someone whose apple-farming Copper is the stuff that spirits mythology Okanagan granddad made ’shine under is made of. Distilled wisdom says it acts as the porch, I’m a sucker for the idea of a catalyst, removing some undesirable a (safe, legal) DIY path to artisan compounds. When the gleaming distilling. So I was charmed Forsyths stills used at Shelter by the Woz-and-Jobs-inPoint Distillery in Campbell COPPER the-garage vibe of Mad River look as impressive as Laboratory’s industrial still its product tastes, I want IS THE STUFF in South Vancouver. With to believe. THAT SPIRITS creatively salvaged and MY THOLOGY IS sourced old microbrewery “The still was indeed our MADE OF. and dairy equipment, the most expensive single help of engineers and a purchase, but it is the heart welder, Scott Thompson is living of our business and something a dream he woulnd’t be able to you really can’t put a price tag on,” picture if it cost hundreds of thousands. says Charles Tremewan at Long Table Distillery, his freshly polished Carl still A longtime hobby distiller, Thompson from Germany winking behind the glass. spent months meticulously researching safety and process, especially since he But the mystique of copper does not wanted to build an uncommon directcome cheap, nor does it seduce everyone. fire rig. (His creation has passed all Odd Society Spirits’ Gordon Glanz found inspections.) Though he respects that used Holstein copper stills from Germany there’s a market niche for every scale online and pieced together his versatile and style of distillery, he puts himself system. Father-and-son engineering among those who take “craft” to mean duo Stephen and Jeremy Schacht at handcrafted, “from tip to tail, including Ampersand Distilling Company in Duncan the equipment,” he says. constructed their stainless steel still from scratch, then packed the column “For me, half the fun is building the still... with copper coils, which they credit for If you’re going to make handmade spirits the spanking clean base spirit for their you should do as much by hand as you winning gin. can.” A handful of other local distilleries have Am I the only one who feels lazy? In the built their own stills, including Sons of spirit of that DIY edict, hack off a chunk Vancouver and Anderson Distilling, where of block ice and hand-squeeze a lime for physicist and proprietor Ian Anderson your next B.C. G&T, out of respect for the used “a combination of commercial, distiller and the still that helped make it. customized commercial, repurposed


BILLS, BILLS, STILLS So, ready to cobble together your own distillery? Sadly, you’ll still need either deep pockets, generous investors or a drunk bank manager.

PRE-OPENING YEAR ONE BUSINESS AND PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: Facility (engineers, contractors, architect/plans) Corporate development (accountants, lawyers, finance)

$60,000 $10,000

Brand and company development (branding, packaging, labelling)

Even the most basic setup could set you back six figures, says Alex Hamer, founder of BC Distilled and co-founder of the Distillery School. At the high end, you could be talking a cool $5 million. And remember, this is before you’ve even made a penny from your product.

$70,000

Product development (prototyping, flavour development)

$15,000

The numbers here, provided by the Distillery School, “are probably good working numbers for anyone looking to establish a local, mid-sized distillery with a strong initial branding presence in the market,” Hamer says.

Production equipment (stills, mash tuns, etc.)

While a high-quality still is likely the biggest single cost, it’s just a fraction of the overall picture.

“A lot of it would depend on the skills and experience the founders bring to the table.”

DISTILLERY CONSTRUCTION: Professional fees Build out

Machinery and support equipment

$150,000 $200,000 $100,000 $100,000

CONTINGENCY BUDGET: Minimum recommended TOTAL:

$100,000

$805,000

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B.C. DISTILLERY LISTINGS MEET THE EXPERTS As part of our mission to provide the essential resource on B.C. spirits, our panel of top mixologists provides tasting notes on one spirit from each listed distillery.

38

Born and raised in Vancouver, Shaun Layton is a leading figure on the international cocktail scene. He led the bar program at L’Abattoir for more than four years, before opening Vancouver’s Juniper Kitchen & Bar. He is currently focused on his consulting business.

Josh Pape is an award-winning bartender who has established himself as one of Vancouver’s most influential young restaurateurs. He co-owns and operates a number of the city’s new and notable restaurants and bars, including The Diamond, Pizzeria Bufala, Wildebeest, and Lucky Taco.

Award-winning Wendy McGuinness has worked the wood of fine establishments from Toronto’s Sassafraz to the Go Go bar at Melbourne’s Chin Chin. She most recently headed the bar program at Kissa Tanto, creating a rocking retro cocktail list.

At Prohibition speakeasy bar at Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Robyn Gray loves creating a bespoke experience for guests. Gray learned his craft at Gastown’s Revel Room, and has been at the Hotel Georgia since 2011, opening and operating all the hotel’s lounges.

Trevor Kallies is bar and beverage director for the Donnelly Group, where he has created several award-winning cocktail lists. A founding member of the Canadian Professional Bartender’s Association (CPBA), he also manages the Cocktail Apprentice Program at the world-renowned annual Tales of the Cocktail.

Bar manager at Whistler’s Bearfoot Bistro, Scott Barber is also responsible for the restaurant’s sub-zero vodka room. He has created tasting notes for each of the dozens of vodkas poured, becoming an expert on the distillation techniques and different flavour profiles in the process.


B.C. DISTILLERY LISTINGS

AMPERSAND DISTILLING CO. 4077 Lanchaster Rd., Duncan 250-737-1880 AmpersandDistilling.com @AmpDistillingCo

Lou Lou Childs photo

W

elcome again to the listings pages, where we provide all the essential info on 34 distilleries across British Columbia, from Vancouver Island to the Kootenays. As these distilleries mature, so their range of drinks grows. To help guide you through this ever more dizzying range of craft spirits, we’ve once again enlisted a panel of experts to taste some selected products. You can trust their palates — they’re all award-winning bartenders with extensive experience of working with, and tasting, a wide range of drinks. In each entry, they offer their independent impressions of fragrance, flavour, feel and finish, before giving an idea on how the drink might be best enjoyed and offering a bottom line wrap-up. We hope you will find this helpful in navigating your way through the many locally distilled options available at liquor stores, cocktail bars, or at the distilleries themselves. Happy tasting!

TASTING NOTES LEGEND

Father and son Stephen and Jeremy Schacht hand craft their spirits on five acres of organic farmland in the Cowichan Valley, distilling their gin and vodka from B.C. wheat.

AMPERSAND GIN FR Juniper and coriander. FL Juniper forward, floral, spiced finish. FE Medium to high viscosity. FI White pepper spice. BE In a Gibson Martini. BL Great value. Mix in citrusy drinks or a classic Martini. –Shaun Layton

FR: Fragrance FL: Flavour FE: Feel FI: Finish BE: Best enjoyed

39 Other products include: Per Se Vodka.

BL: The bottom line Tasting Room by appointment


ARBUTUS DISTILLERY

BOHEMIAN SPIRITS

CENTRAL CITY BREWERS & DISTILLERS

1890 Boxwood Rd., Nanaimo 250-714-0027 Arbutus-Distillery.com @arbutusdistillery @ArbutusDistill

417A 304 St., Kimberley BohemianSprits.com @GoodCheerHere

11411 Bridgeview Dr., Surrey 604-588-2337 CentralCityBrewing.com CentralCityBrewing @CentralCityBrew

Head distiller Michael Pizzitelli brings both a background in science and his experience in brewing to Arbutus Distillery’s ever-growing range of botanicalforward spirits.

Using botanicals foraged in the mountains around Kimberley, Bohemian produces small-batch hand-crafted vodka and gin.

The successful B.C. brewer of the popular Red Racer beers, Central City began distilling after it moved into a giant new facility in North Surrey in 2013.

BABA YAGA GENUINE ABSINTHE

FORESTER SINGLE MALT OAK AGED GIN

FR Fennel, licorice, citrus. FL Dash of water, fresh citrus and tons of anise. FE Medium to full body. FI Long, hot, super delicious. BE Neat or with a dash of water. A fantastic rinse for your Sazerac. BL A very enjoyable absinthe. But be careful! –Scott Barber

FR Wood on the nose. FL Caramel and light vanilla, botanicals slightly hidden. FE Has a slight heaviness to it, likely due to the barrel. FI Long and creamy. Definitely not a gin for traditional types. BE Store in the freezer and serve with some lemon zest. BL A fun, oak-aged gin. –Trevor Kallies

SPIRIT OF IPA FR Floral, mild hops, citrus, jelly bean. FL Slightly sweet, some chocolate notes. FE Light to medium body. FI Super clean, spicy, delicious. BE Neat. Would also make a fantastic Gin Sour. BL Super-cool product. Not overpowering or as hoppy as you might expect. –Scott Barber

40 Other products include: Coven Vodka, Empiric Gin, Juniperus Lupulus, Grand Visco Brandy, Espresso Infused Vodka.

Other products include: Limited Gin, Vagabond Vodka.

Other products include: Lohin McKinnon Whisky, Seraph Vodka, Queensborough Gin, Spirit of Merlot Liqueur.

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room no

Tasting Room yes


DE VINE SPIRITS

DEEP COVE BREWERS & DISTILLERS

DRAGON MIST DISTILLERY

6181B Old West Saanich Rd., Saanichton 250-665-6983 DevineVineyards.ca @deVineVineyards

2270 Dollarton Hwy., North Vancouver, 604-770-1136 DeepCoveCraft.com DeepCoveBrewers @DeepCoveCraft

213-19138 26th Ave., Surrey 604-803-2226 DragonMistDistillery.com @DragonMistDistillery @DragonMistVodka

This Saanich-based distillery is proud to use local fruits, honey and grains in their spirits. Also a winery, they use their own grapes as the base for their Vin Gin.

This North Shore distillery augments its rosemary and oliveinfused gin and award-winning vodka with a variety of smallbatch seasonal releases.

Using wheat from Dawson Creek, Surrey-based Sherry Jiang is producing Canada’s only expressions of traditional Chinese spirit, baijiu.

GENEVER

DEEP COVE VODKA

BLUEBERRY LIQUEUR

FR Pungent, green cardamom, toasted spice. FL Fennel, cardamom, clove. FE Not subtle. FI Dry and hot. BE As a bold Gin & Tonic. Or find a Rembrandt recipe with dry vermouth and Drambuie. BL A fun cocktail ingredient. –Josh Pape

FR Light, not too boozy. FL Sweet, white pepper. FE Even, balanced, medium body. FI Clean, silky and long. BE With less, rather than more. Keep it booze forward. BL A well made spirit, better than the big-name brands you get with bottle service in the club. –Josh Pape

FR Berrylicious. FL Not overly sweet at all. Very enjoyable. FE Light. Doesn’t have that thick sugar feel, which is nice. FI Short, clean. BE Neat, as an after-dinner sipper. Would be great in a spritz. BL Get a bottle if you’re looking for a natural-tasting liqueur. –Scott Barber

Other products include: Honey Shine Beekeeper’s Reserve, New Tom Barrel Aged Gin, Vin Gin, Moderna Vermouth, Glen Saanich Single Malt.

Other products include: Rosemary & Olive Gin, Barrel Aged Akvavit.

Other products include: Baijiu Gold, Baijiu Silver, Dragon Mist Vodka, Dragon Mist Gin, Coffee Liqueur, Cranberry Liqueur.

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room no

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DUBH GLAS DISTILLERY

FERMENTORIUM G&W DISTILLING CO. DISTILLING INC.

8486 Gallagher Lake Frontage Rd., Oliver 778-439-3580 TheDubhGlasDistillery.com @TheDubhGlasD

2010 Government St., Victoria 250-380-1912 Fermentorium.ca PhillipsBreweryCo @PhillipsBeer

7167 Vantage Way #8, Delta 604-376-0630 SidsVodka.com, SilverDawn.ca

Though whisky is owner Grant Stevely’s true passion, the first signature release from this Oliverbased operation was the small batch Noteworthy Gin, distilled from B.C. barley.

Fermentorium’s Stump Coastal Forest Gin is fast-becoming a signature B.C. spirit. Its collection of artisanal tonic waters elevate even the most basic of highballs.

Goodridge & Williams is quickly becoming a national player in craft distilling, led by the bestselling Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka and award-winning Nütrl Vodka.

NOTEWORTHY GIN

STUMP COASTAL FOREST GIN

TEMPO RENOVO DRY GIN

FR Floral, herbacious, delicious. FL Pine freshness with an earthy finish. FE Velvety, smooth. FI Long and smooth. BE As a G&T with one of Fermentorium’s handcrafted tonics, and lemon peel. BL Phillips’ first play at spirits is a success: foraged ingredients, New World style. Fantastic product and packaging. –Trevor Kallies

FR Sweet vanilla. FL Vanilla and buttery. FE Medium bodied. FI Long-lasting sweetness. BE In a Silver Gin Fizz. BL Beautiful, easy-going sweetness makes for a versatile cocktail gin. –Robyn Gray

Other products include: Virgin Spirits Barley, Age-Your-Own Spirits Kits.

Other products include: Hop Drop Elixir, Fermentorium Handcrafted Tonics.

Other products include: Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka, Nütrl Vodka, Bitterhouse Aperitifs, Mapleshade Reposé.

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room no

Tasting Room yes

FR Fruity, with a little funk. FL Very floral, soapy lavender. FE Thin, slight bitterness. FI Violets, coriander. BE As an Aviation cocktail. BL Mix with tropical and floral accompaniments. –Shaun Layton

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GILLESPIE’S FINE SPIRITS

KOOTENAY COUNTRY CRAFT LEGEND DISTILLING DISTILLERY

8-38918 Progress Way, Squamish 604-390-1122 GillespiesFineSpirits.com @gillespiesfinespirits @gillespies1

7263 Gustafson Rd., Slocan 250-355-2702 kootenaycountry.ca Kootenay-Country-Craft-DistilleryLtd

3005 Naramata Rd., Naramata 778-514-1010 LegendDistilling.com @legendnaramata

Friendship, a fun attitude, and a shared love of booze inspired Kelly Woods and John McLellan to start their Squamish-based still. Their spirits are designed to be cocktail friendly.

Lora and Kevin Goodwin strive to keep to the100-mile philosophy in their spirit production, using organic heirloom wheat, seasonal flowers and fruits, and spring water from the Selkirk Mountains.

In a former doctor’s office on the Naramata Bench, Dawn and Doug Lennie created Legend together, drawing on the local bounty of the Okanagan for the base and flavours of their gin and vodkas.

SIN GIN FR Green and sharp. FL Woodsy, pine-tree spice. FE Pleasantly warm and mouth coating. FI Slight honey sweetness and a lingering peppery finish. BE In a Last Word cocktail. BL A robust, London Dry-style gin. –Robyn Gray

KOOTENAY COUNTRY GIN

BLASTED BREW SPIKED COFFEE

FR Fruity, citrus notes. FL Understated, subtle juniper. FE Soft and delicate. FI Clean, lush. BE Simply. Makes an excellent Negroni. BL Very easy drinking. A bit dangerous.... –Josh Pape

FR Fresh, sweet, roasted coffee bean. FL Well integrated, sweet yet reserved coffee flavour. FE Mouth-coating and viscous. FI Long-lasting sweet toffee and coffee. BE In an Espresso Martini. BL A well-suited substitute in coffee liqueur-based cocktails. –Robyn Gray 43

Other products include: Gastown Shine Vodka, Raspberry Gin, Aphro Chili Chocolate Elixir, Lemoncello.

Other products include: Valhalla Vodka, Kootenay Country Honey Vodka, seasonal flavoured vodkas.

Other products include: Shadow in the Lake Vodka, Doctor’s Orders Gin, Defender Island Smoked Rosemary Gin, Slowpoke Flavoured Vodka.

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room yes


THE LIBERTY DISTILLERY

LONG TABLE DISTILLERY

MAD LABORATORY DISTILLING

1494 Old Bridge St., Vancouver 604-558-1998 TheLibertyDistillery.com @TLDistillery

1451 Hornby St., Vancouver 604-266-0177 LongTableDistillery.com @LongTableDistillery @LT_Distillery

119-618 East Kent Ave., Vancouver MadLabDistilling

With prime real estate on Granville Island, Liberty is open for tours, tastings and daily cocktails showcasing their vodka, different expressions of gin, and various white whiskies.

Gin is at the heart of Long Table, with London dry-style, cucumber and barrel-aged varieties fuelling its many awards. This downtown Vancouver distillery also produces vodka, as well as seasonal liqueurs.

Truly handmade using a small homebrew mill and a pump, Mad Laboratory’s vodka is triple distilled and carbon filtered from Armstrong barley and Champagne yeast.

ENDEAVOUR PINK GIN

44

FR Slightly sweet and floral. A hint of pepper and citrus. FL Bright rose petals with medium juniper. FE Fresh, mild with a little creaminess to the mouthfeel. FI Long, floral. BE This gin is destined for endless twists on the French 75. BL Fun to see a pink take on a navy-strength gin. Very charming bottle design and colour. –Trevor Kallies

AMARO NO. 1 — LINNAEUS FR Pretty. Candied orange and potpourri. FL Gentian, grapefruit zest, violet. FE Lean, dry, tannic. FI Bitter, perfumed. Expands. BE As a replacement for Suze in a white Negroni, or maybe in an Aviation/French 75 hybrid. BL A great first crack. They’ll have something special here before long. –Josh Pape

MAD LAB VODKA FR Clean, light fragrance of sweet wheat, vanilla, and hints of doughy bread. FL Very smooth, lightly sweet with notes of black pepper, hint of vanilla. FE Silky and dry. FI Super clean, lightly creamy. BE Stirred, straight up with a twist. BL Mad Lab nailed it. –Wendy McGuinness

Other products include: Truth Vodka, Endeavour Gin, Endeavour Origins Gin, Railspur No. 1, & 2.

Other products include: London Dry Gin, Cucumber Gin, Barrel Aged Gin, Texada Vodka, Långbord Akvavit.

Other products include: Mad Lab Gin.

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room opening soon


MAPLE LEAF SPIRITS

MERRIDALE ESTATE CIDERY

ODD SOCIETY SPIRITS

948 Naramata Rd., Penticton 250-493-0180 MapleLeafSpirits.ca MapleLeafSpirits @MapleLeafSpirit

PO Box 358, 1230 Merridale Rd., Cobble Hill 250-743-4293 MerridaleCider.ca @merridalecider

1725 Powell St., Vancouver 604-559-6745 OddSocietySpirits.com @oddsocietyspirits @OddSpirits

Originally from Germany, and now based in the Okanagan, Jorg Engel has created a range of fruit-based liqueurs, brandies and grappas, produced from distilling 100 per cent B.C. fruit.

This Vancouver Island cider business applied their traditional fruit focus to distilling, creating a range that includes gin, fruit brandies, a rested whiskey and even a carbonated vodka.

This East Vancouver distillery’s three founding self-described “odd” owners are busy producing different expressions of gin, vodka and both white (unaged), and single malt whiskies.

MAPLE LIQUEUR

COWICHAN GIN

BITTERSWEET VERMOUTH

FR Stone fruit, custard, vanilla, slightly hot. FL Butterscotch, maple, smoky vanilla. FE Thin, in a good way for a liqueur. FI Balanced, with pleasant maple. BE Over ice cream! BL Great product and a cool little place to visit. –Shaun Layton

FR Mild apple and citrus aroma. FL Slightly sweet with a botanical background. Definitely do not notice the 47 per cent ABV. FE Almost viscous. Very pleasant. FI Long and enjoyable. Orchard fruit shines through. BE Long with soda or very cold over ice. Could be interesting as a sour. BL Fun gin showcasing the prowess and opportunity of foraged ingredients. –Trevor Kallies

FR Gingerbread spice, bitter orange, vanilla. FL Upfront viscous sweetness, making its way to the back of your palate with a lovely bitterness. FE Full and coating mouthfeel. FI Sweet orange and chocolate lift for an enjoyable bitter finish that goes on and on. BE Serve at room temperature as a digestif; could shine in many different cocktails. BL A must have! –Wendy McGuinness

Other products include: Lady of the Cask Brandy, Cherry Liqueur, Canadian Kirsch, Pear Williams, Italian Prune.

Other products include: Cowichan Vodka, Cowichan Copper Gin, Stair’s Pear Brandy, Cowichan Cognac-Style Brandy, Cowichan Cider Brandy.

Other products include: Wallflower Gin, East Van Vodka, Mia Amato Amaro, White Rye Mongrel, Oaken Wallfower Gin.

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room yes

45


OKANAGAN CRUSH PAD

OKANAGAN SPIRITS CRAFT DISTILLERY

OLD ORDER DISTILLING COMPANY

16576 Fosbery Rd., Summerland 250-494-4445 okanagancrushpad.com @OKCrushPad

5204 24th St., Vernon 267 Bernard Ave., Kelowna 250-549-3120 | 778-484-5174 OkanaganSpirits.com @OkanaganSpirits

270 Martin St., Penticton 778-476-2210 | OldOrderDistilling.ca OldOrderDistilling @Old_Order_Distilling @OldOrder_Spirit

The Summerland winery makes two expressions of gin (one of them for Vij’s restaurant), and a grappa-style spirit.

A family-owned award-winning distillery with a wide range of products to its name, including an absinthe, and both rye and single malt whiskies. Tours and tastings are available in both its locations.

At their Penticton distillery, Graham Martens and Naomi Gabriel take barley from Vanderhoof, malt it in Armstrong, then distill it with spring water from Anarchist Mountain.

NARRATIVE SPIRIT OF THE VINEYARD

POIRE WILLIAMS

BLESSED BEAN

FR Sweet, ripe Bartlett pears. FL Fruity, with a great boozy backbone. FE Clean, loads of mid-palate. FI Austere, dry, lean. BE Neat, after a big meal. BL A delicious introductory digestif. –Josh Pape

FR Raw vanilla; imagine opening a bag of vanilla bean pods. FL Milk, vanilla and coffee. Almost a barista drink. FE Not as sticky as expected. Smooth and clean for a liqueur. FI Nice coffee bitterness at the back. BE Great addition to coffee or latte, or on rocks as a decent after-dinner option. BL Very good alternative to commercial coffee liqueurs. –Trevor Kallies

Other products include: Narrative Gin Twelve Botanicals, Vij’s Bolly Water Gin.

Other products include: Taboo Genuine Absinthe, Gin, Vodka, Single Malt Whisky, BRBN (Corn) Whisky.

Other products include: Heritage Vodka, Black Goat Vodka, Legacy Gin, Genesis Whisky, Wicked Brew.

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room yes

FR Fresh, white petals. FL Pears, Gewurtztraminer. FE Lush, creamy, round. FI Dry with long pepper. BE Neat, or subbed in for the vodka in a Vesper. BL Approachable—for a grappa. –Josh Pape

46


PEMBERTON DISTILLERY

ROOTS AND WINGS DISTILLERY

SHELTER POINT DISTILLERY

1954 Venture Pl., Pemberton 604-894-0222 PembertonDistillery.ca pemberton.distillery @pembydistillery

7897 240th St., Langley 778-246-5247 RootsAndWingsDistillery.ca @rawstillhouse

4650 Regent Rd, Campbell River 778-420-2200, ShelterPoint.ca ShelterPointDistillery @ShelterPoint_Distillery @ShelterPoint

Master distiller Tyler Schramm uses local organic Pemberton potatoes as the base for his extensive range of spirits and liqueurs.

Rebekah Crowley and Rob Rindt built a distillery and tasting room on their Fraser Valley farm where they crop 30 acres of potatoes and corn.

Self-described “farmpreneur” Patrick Evans and family established a distillery on their 380acre farm near Campbell River, growing their own barley for their single-malt whisky and vodka.

SCHRAMM ORGANIC POTATO VODKA FR Earthy; soil, wet wood, raw potato. FL Dark chocolate, agave, smoky caramel. FE Bold, fullbodied, silky texture. FI Long, memorable, almost tequila-like. BE Neat, or on the rocks for sipping; makes a great Martini with olives. BL Not for everyone, but a fascinating finished product. Great example of traditional potato vodka using Scottish distillation techniques. –Scott Barber

VITAL VODKA FR Malty, resiny, touch of buttery corn. FL Faint coriander spice, danky, dry pepper, honeysuckle. FE Creamy on the palate. FI Nice subtle black pepper, piney, slightly bitter. BE Would make a great collins style drink, looking forward to this in a Michelada or a Caesar. BL I wouldn’t put it in the vodka category, theres a lot going on. A very intriguing spirit. –Shaun Layton

BARREL OF SUNSHINE LIQUEUR FR Quince, orange marmalade, maple custard, mulled wine. FL Tarte Tatin in an ISO glass! Quince, apple cider, candied orange. FE A little thick, but for what it is very pleasant. FI Christmas spices, citrus explosion. BE In a Sidecar or Brandy Crusta. Or with soft cheese and fruit preserves after dinner. BL A great addition to any back bar. –Shaun Layton

Other products include: Schramm Organic Gin, Organic Single Malt Whisky, Kartoffelschnapps.

Other products include: White Night Whiskey (coming soon).

Other products include: Shelter Point Single Malt Whisky, Canada One Artisan Vodka.

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room spring through fall

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SHERINGHAM DISTILLERY

SONS OF VANCOUVER

2631 Seaside Dr., Shirley 778.528.1313 SheringhamDistillery.com @sheringhamdistillery @SheringhamBC

STEALTH DISTILLERIES CORPORATION

1431 Crown St., North Vancouver 778-340-5388 SonsOfVancouver.ca @SonsOfVancouver

#3-20 Orwell St. North Vancouver 604-916-4103

Jason MacIsaac was a successful chef before he turned distiller, and he brings his local, sustainable attitude toward food to his small batch spirits.

James Lester and Richard Klaus now have a lounge licence at their North Vancouver distillery, meaning cocktail service is in full effect.

Master distiller Randy Poulin and Stealth president John Pocekovic specialize in vodka made from field-dried Okanagan corn.

SEASIDE GIN

CHILI VODKA

FR Fragrant, floral, damp wild flowers, seaside walks. FL A bit savoury, piney juniper notes, candied violets, wild elderflower. FE Very balanced, great viscosity. FI Danky, savoury, pleasant briny finish. BE This gin screams G&T or a citrus forward cocktail. Works great with shrubs. BL A phenomenal gin, not for Martinis, but for mixed drinks. One of the best in BC, buy now! –Shaun Layton

FR Peppers. Red bell and chillies. FL Fire. All chillies all the time. FE Hot. Spicy. FI Lingering heat. BE Sipped neat or in a Caesar. BL A fun one to try if you like it hot. Very hot. –Josh Pape

VODKA (CORN AND WHEAT)

Other products include: Sheringham Vodka, William’s White, Akvavit.

Other products include: Vodka Vodka Vodka, Barrel Aged Amaretto, Chili Vodka.

No other products.

Tasting Room by appointment

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room yes

FR A hint of alcohol on the nose with a small touch of cream. FL Slight bit of grain with white pepper. FE The palate is smooth with a tiny element of alcohol warmth. FI Fairly abrupt. BE In your favourite mixed vodka drink. BL As craft vodkas go it is right up there. Packaging is bartender friendly, with a decent neck to grab onto. –Trevor Kallies


URBAN DISTILLERIES

VICTORIA DISTILLERS

VON ALBRECHT & ASSOCIATES

325 Bay Ave., #6, Kelowna 778-478-0939 UrbanDistilleries.ca @UrbanDistilleries @SpiritBearVodka

9891 Seaport Pl., Sidney 250-544-8217 VictoriaDistillers.com @VicDistillers @DrinkVicGin

2220 Vauxhall Pl., Richmond 604-249-0003 VonAlbrecht.com xfourvodka @xfour_ @XFOUR_Vodka

A trip to France and an unplanned tour of a Cognac distillery put Mike Urban on the path to making his own liquor. He now owns the largest distillery in the province.

Launched in 2008, Victoria Gin graces bars across the country. Their first small-batch, limited release whisky was launched in early 2015.

The XFour vodka range is distilled from rye and corn in Vernon; the lemonade base for their coolers is made from founder Marcus Von Albrecht’s great-grandfather’s recipe.

SPIRIT BEAR GIN

CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR

FR Lavender. FL Chamomile tea, more lavender. FE Very even; similar tone from start to finish. FI Long, really dry. Quite perfumed. BE In an Aviation—hold the Creme de Violette. BL Worth a try if you enjoy floral flavours. –Josh Pape

FR Intense cocoa nib and chocolate. FL Bitter, as expected. Little to no sweetness. FE Light to medium body. FI Long, bitter finish. BE Would make a super-cool Old Fashioned or Brandy Alexander. BL If you like bitter spirits or liqueurs, this is for you. –Scott Barber

XOXOLAT CHOCOLATE COCKTAIL FR Cocoa bean and dark chocolate. FL A boozy version of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. FE Very thick on the palate. FI Creamy, rich. BE Poured over ice cream. BL For those who like their spirits sweet and rich. –Wendy McGuinness 49

Other products include: Urban Single Malt Whisky, Spirit Bear Vodka, Spirit Bear Espresso Infused Vodka.

Other products include: Victoria Gin, Oaken Gin, Left Coast Hemp Vodka, Craigdarroch Whisky, Pinot Noir Eau de Vie.

Other products include: XFour Handcrafted Vodka, Percy’s Old Fashioned Lemonade Infused Vodka.

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room no


WAYWARD DISTILLATION HOUSE

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THE WOODS SPIRIT CO.

YALETOWN DISTILLING COMPANY

2931 Moray Ave, Courtenay 250-871-0424 WaywardDistillationHouse.com WaywardDistillation @WaywardDH

1450 Rupert Street, North Vancouver (opening soon) 778-996-7637 TheWoodsSpiritCo.com @WoodsSpiritCo

1132 Hamilton St., Vancouver 604-669-2266 YTDistilling.com Yaletown-Distilling-Company @YTDistilling

Harking bark to the earliest recorded alcohols, Comox-based Wayward starts all its products by first creating mead to form the base, and add a touch of sweetness on the nose.

Friends Joel Myers and Fabio Martini’s West Coast version of Amaro uses traditional botanicals such as rhubarb and bitter orange, as well as the more unconventional grand fir.

A successful brewery in the heart of the city, Yaletown moved into spirits in 2013, distilling gin and vodka from B.C. barley. Tours and tastings are available onsite.

BOURBON-BARRELED GIN

PACIFIC NORTHWEST AMARO

FR Surprisingly intense vanilla. Yum! FL Citrus, with pleasant vanilla and earthy tones. FE Light, medium body. FI Spicy. BE Neat or on the rocks. Try it in a Martini, Negroni or Corpse Reviver #2. BL If you’re looking for a gin that isn’t juniper forward, this is for you. I love working with and drinking this product. –Scott Barber

FR Woodsy with grand fir. FL Astringent, with an underlying spiciness. FE Clean and crisp, but with the sense of mouth-coating syrup. FI Spicy with a long lasting bitterness. BE I tried it in a Negroni and it works surprisingly well. Or serve chilled, neat. BL A great bitter liqueur made with the tradional amaro in mind. –Robyn Gray

YALETOWN VODKA FR Tropical! Banana, pineapple, bubble gum, vanilla. FL Savoury, slightly briny, white pepper, yeasty. FE Nice mouthfeel, slightly sweet. FI Loads of spice, white pepper, marzipan, coriander. BE Savoury notes would make for a great Dirty Martini. BL Great value local product. –Shaun Layton

Other products include: Unruly Gin, Unruly Vodka, Krupnik Spiced Honey Liqueur, Drunken Hive Rum.

No other products.

Other products include: Yaletown Gin, Yaletown Mandarin Vodka.

Tasting Room yes

Tasting Room no

Tasting Room yes


ON THE TOWN

WITH 34 DISTILLERIES UNDER ONE ROOF, THE FOURTH ANNUAL BC DISTILLED FESTIVAL OFFERED A BOUNT Y OF BOOZE.

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2 5

3 6

1 Odd Society distiller Gordon Glanz brought along his daughter Mia Glanz to the fest. 2 Bohemian Spirits owners Wade Jarvis and Ervyn Turcon made the trek from Kimberley to East Van. 3 Ampersand’s Jeremy Schacht and Jessica McLeod were all smiles after the distillery’s gin and vodka were named audience favourites for the second year running. 4 B.C. distilling pioneers Jorg and Anette Engel poured samples of their Maple Leaf Spirits. 5 Adding a pop of colour to the proceedings were Dubh Glas distiller Grant Stevely and Jovia Barnett. 6 Nothing sneaky about it; Stealth Distilleries Co. president John Pocekovic (left) and master distiller Randy Poulin were proud to show off their super-clean vodka.

Jeff Grayston photos

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This half page of PADS puppies is brought to you by:

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THE LAST WORD “...THAT THE MOUNDS OF ICES, AND THE BOWLS OF MINT-JULEP AND SHERRY COBBLER THEY MAKE IN THESE LATITUDES, ARE REFRESHMENTS NEVER TO BE THOUGHT OF AFTERWARDS, IN SUMMER, BY THOSE WHO WOULD PRESERVE CONTENTED MINDS.” CHARLES DICKENS, WHILE TRAVELLING IN AMERICA (1842)

MINT JULEP Fresh mint springs 2 oz cognac Dash of simple syrup Dash of Jamaican rum Powdered white sugar

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Muddle three or four fresh springs of mint in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add the simple syrup and cognac and stir with ice to chill. Double-strain into a chilled julep cup, fill to heaping with crushed ice and garnish with more fresh mint and fruit. Finish with a dash of Jamaican rum over top and sprinkle with powdered white sugar. Serves 1. Meghan Kirkpatrick photo


COCKTAIL HAPPY HOUR Monday-Friday 4pm-7pm

$

8 Pizzas

957 Granville St | donnellygroup.ca


IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME (Joey Donnelly)

Beefeater gin, green Chartreuse, cucumber juice, lime juice, rose flower water, mint, sugar

212 ABBOTT ST | @CLOUGHCLUB | DONNELLYGROUP.CA

The Alchemist – Summer 2017  

B.C.’s only magazine dedicated to local distilleries and cocktail culture is back with a summer issue filled with lively commentary and usef...

The Alchemist – Summer 2017  

B.C.’s only magazine dedicated to local distilleries and cocktail culture is back with a summer issue filled with lively commentary and usef...

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