The South Okanagan is a fruitful playground for distillers to innovate and collaborate
“Smile, there’s gin,” says the chalked sign. Perched on the Naramata Bench, with a sleek tasting room and sunny patio overlooking Okanagan Lake, Legend Distilling could be mistaken for a hip winery. But a taste of its Doctors Orders gin puts me firmly in the spirit world as I begin my quest to discover what unites the South Okanagan Distillery Trail, a handful of stops mapped on a passport-style stamp card.
If you thought the debate over whisky and age was resolved, a B.C. newcomer and Scotch mainstay start the discussion over again
You might forgive Andrew Campbell Wall if he seems just a wee bit bullish.
Wall is the Macaloney Ambassador for the neophyte Victoria Caledonian Distillery, which is based in B.C.’s capital city, but is Scottish through and through. Just to make the point, Wall is wearing his Campbell kilt and full regalia as he samples his wares at this year’s BC Distilled festival.
While he pours me a dram of Mac na Braiche Single Malt Spirit, he can barely contain his excitement.
The patio scene isn’t for everyone, including our man about town
In many ways, I’ve always been hilariously unsuited to Vancouver, despite having lived here for the best part of 20 years. While I enjoy observing nature from the distant vantage point of a high-rise apartment, actually venturing into it makes me anxious and irritated. I look upon the lifestyle cults surrounding yoga, spinning and clamshell salads—ostensibly expressions of joyful living, yet deadly serious—as if they were the Republic of Gilead.
But what situates me permanently at the fringe of the party that is this city (this beautiful, very expensive party) is my habitual response to the arrival of summer. When everyone else rushes hysterically into the streets, as if drawn by the promise of eternal youth and free poké bowls, I draw the blinds and cower until nightfall.
I don’t want to be this person, but I have no choice: I’m a ginger.
When you’re surrounded by wild bounty the way Tofino is, it only makes sense to use it however you can. And so Wolf in the Fog’s bar manager Hailey Pasemko transforms huckleberries into bitters, infuses gin with salal or spruce tips, and fat-washes vodka with salmon.
Now she’s looking beyond Tofino, to the great spirits being produced across B.C., for her new “Local Legends” cocktail program.
With Christopher Enns’ recent win in Montreal, that’s four times Vancouver bartenders have taken home the prestigious title of Diageo Reserve World Class Canada champion since the competition started in 2013.
Enns, who mans the shakers at the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge, also recently won the Woodford Reserve Manhattan challenge in New York. “It’s been very busy, that’s for sure,” he says.
Chris Enns prepared this cocktail for the World Class Canada 2018 national finals. “This drink came from the Wanderlust challenge where we came up with a cocktail inspired by both home and an away location,” he recalls. A twist on the Sazerac cocktail, the Home Team is inspired by the feeling of “home” he found at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, as well the home-team support among the World Class bartenders. Here it is served in a Scottish quaich cup; however, a chilled Old Fashioned or Sazerac-style glass would be fine.