At RauDZ, gin is in

Raudz Gin. Supplied photo

At RauDZ Creative Concepts, it’s not just about farm to table, but farm to glass. That’s why the Kelowna-based restaurant company has just launched its own craft gin, The Whole Truth, made by Okanagan Spirits and flavoured with locally grown botanicals.

It was inspired by The Truth, a variation on the G&T featured at RauDZ Regional Table on opening day a decade ago, back in spring 2009. The gin has plenty of refreshing cucumber and floral aromas, as well as the citrusy notes of mock orange, a native B.C. shrub that was foraged by Tyler Dyck, the CEO of Okanagan Spirits, at nearby Poplar Point.

The gin is available exclusively at RauDZ Regional Table, micro bar & bites, Sunny’s Modern Diner, and Terrafina at Hester Creek by RauDZ.

Ginned up

The evolution of terroir-driven made-in-B.C. gin

Some of the botanicals used to make gin; juniper, in the centre, is the only one that is absolutely essential. photo

When news arrived that Sooke’s Sheringham Distillery had scooped Best Contemporary Gin in the World at the prestigious World Gin Awards, I, like so many others, was truly thrilled. After all, what an achievement for the relatively neophyte distillery perched on Canada’s wild and westernmost edge.

But there was also a personal connection, as the awards were judged at London’s Honourable Artillery Company, right across from where I used to stay at my Uncle Ricky’s apartment.

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Sheringham Cherub

Photo courtesy of Sheringham Distillery

With elderflowers as early harbingers of summer, Sooke meets St-Germain in this house recipe from Sheringham Distillery.

• 1.5 oz Sheringham Seaside Gin
• 0.5 oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
• 0.25 oz maple syrup
• 0.25 oz lemon juice
• 0.5 oz loganberry or strawberry purée
• 0.75 oz sparkling elderflower juice such as Bottle Green
Garnish: Lemon peel

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A cooler cooler

Supplied photo

Love it or hate it, the cooler is the quintessential drink of summer. Typically a fruity, fizzy, vodka-based cocktail in a can, it’s the ultimate in convenience for all summer’s camping trips and backyard BBQs.

But sophisticated it ain’t. Until now.

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Three parties, one marriage

It’s wedding season. Here’s some advice for keeping the party going from a bartender who’s seen it all.

David Wolowidnyk. Ben Duffy photo

The notion of having three different parties to celebrate a marriage sounds like a great idea to many brides-to-be, but for some, the stress can be overwhelming. And as the bartender tasked with making the party happen, I’ve seen it all, the good, the bad and the really messy.

If you’re the one planning the party, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of: “OMG, what am I going to serve? Maybe I can get that hot bartender to create custom recipes, buy the ingredients, prepare everything, and bartend each of the parties.” Anything is possible—for a price, of course.

But before you get started, here’s what I’ve learned from the parties I’ve either tended or attended.

The shower

The bridal shower, an afternoon sprinkled with feigned innocence knowing that your grandma, mom and nieces will be there, runs a risk that one friend may drink a little too much and confess some indiscretions or possibly gift you a Kama Sutra book, detailing all the fun you will have, noting some of the pages not to miss. This is not that type of party. It is meant to be a sea of pastel-clad women, eating cute little cucumber sandwiches and tiny flaky pastries, sipping on bubbly rosé and perhaps a Pimm’s Cup or an Aperol Spritz. Floral cocktails also tend to be a hit with this crowd. They’re fresh and lively, delicate yet complex and low in alcohol. Shots are not OK here, unless it is grandma who instigates.

The bachelorette party

The bachelorette party, now this is when a bride can let loose with the girls. Debauchery is common. Do not invite anyone you can’t be your true self around because skeletons will likely come out to play even if you don’t want them to. This is not a drinking marathon; walk instead of run your way through the vodka sodas. It’s going to be a long night. Drink water before, between and after the shots or, better yet, show some restraint and limit the shots. The last thing you want is to be the one spilled into the taxi while the night is still young.

The wedding

My favourite wedding receptions have a modest yet thoughtful drink selection, catering to a wide range of preferences. A couple of craft beers, one crisp and clean, the other with a hoppy bite. A few decent wines—one white, one red and possibly a rosé—that aren’t begging to be paired with food. (Pro tip: Sticking to white wine eliminates the inevitable stains on clothing and teeth.) The cocktail selection should be simple, with a maximum of five choices, including the reception cocktail served upon arrival. At least one cocktail should be light and low in alcohol. Also offer one that is a little fruity, another that is spirit forward and one that is tart and dry. There are a lot of positives to batching cocktails for large parties, notably keeping things consistent and expediting service. But having cocktails prepared to order adds a level of personalized service that may be more important to you.

Whatever the occasion, leave the stress behind, leave the bartending to us, and have some fun!

Try this floral bubbly drink for any of your summer gatherings.

—by David Wolowidnyk


David Wolowidnyk’s Schwing pairs perfectly with any summer party.

This floral bubbly drink created by David Wolowidnyk is ideal as a reception cocktail for any of your spring flings.

• 1 oz gin or vodka
• 1 oz Aperol
• 0.5 oz lemon juice
• Dash orange flower water
• 2 oz sparkling wine

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