The spirit whisperer

B.C. craft spirits pioneer Frank Deiter is taking on the world

Master distiller Frank Deiter has gone from founding Okanagan Spirits in Vernon to travelling the world as a consultant and instructor.
Photo courtesy of Frank Deiter

Frank Deiter is a man on a mission.

As the founder of Okanagan Spirits in 2004, Deiter charted the pioneering distillery’s early successes before leaving in 2011 to pursue other ventures. These days he works with Mueller Pot Stills, representing what is widely recognized as one of Germany’s leading still manufacturers across North America. He also maintains a hands-on presence throughout the craft-distilling industry as an independent consultant and instructor.

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Bitter & sweet

Why you should be drinking vermouth made in B.C.

At MARKET at the Shangri-la Hotel in Vancouver, head bartender Gianluigi Bosco makes his own house-aromatized and fortified wines. Leila Kwok photo

More than 200 years ago, wine drinkers in Turin and Marseille started adding bittering and flavouring botanicals to wine fortified with spirit, to make an entirely new drink. The styles they created—a sweeter, reddish-brown style in Italy and a drier white-wine version in France—are iconic today, and collectively known as vermouth, a term that comes from the root word for wormwood, which is synonymous in many languages with “bitter.”

Now enjoying a renaissance thanks to cocktail mixology and the Spanish-driven trend for sipping them solo or as a spritz, vermouths should have a place on your back bar. (Actually, in your fridge, where a red vermouth will stay fresh for several months, and white vermouth for several weeks after opening.) Here are three new and three favourite B.C. bottlings to try.

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Citrus Breeze

Gianluigi Bosco’s Citrus Breeze. Leila Kwok photo

This refreshing spritz recipe by Gianluigi Bosco, head bartender at MARKET at the Shangri-la Hotel, uses a vermouth you can make yourself.

• 3 oz Citrus Wine (recipe below)
• 0.25 oz melissa and peppermint hydrosols (see note)
• 2 dashes citric acid, available at gourmet stores
• Soda water, to taste
• Orange zest and mint, for garnish

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The Drive

The Drive cocktail from Odd Society Spirits. RD Cane photo

Recipe from Odd Society Spirits.

• 1 oz Odd Society Prospector Rye Whisky
• 0.75 oz Odd Society Bittersweet Vermouth
• 0.25 oz Odd Society Crème de Cassis
• Garnish: orange twist, brandied cherry

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Very vegan

No eggs or dairy? No problem for these bartenders

Katie Ingram’s Empress. Leila Kwok photo

The Pink Lady, Pisco Sour and Ramos Gin Fizz have at least one thing in common: their frothy, silky top. The luscious foam traditionally comes from shaken egg whites, the flavourless, foamy ingredient lending the drinks a smooth and creamy texture.

Bartenders’ use of albumen is nothing new. Alongside the rise of contemporary cocktail culture, however, has been the growing trend of veganism.

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Coconut Milk Punch

Adam Domet’s Coconut Milk Punch. Chris Giannakos photo

The tropical vibes of this updated classic come from Adam Domet of Pourhouse.

• 1.5 oz coconut milk
• 1 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
• 1 oz Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum
• 2 tsp simple syrup (see note)
• 1 drop vanilla extract 

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Wonderlust

Wonderlust at YEW Seafood + Bar. Supplied photo

• 1.5 oz white rum (preferably Flor de Caña 4)
• 0.75 oz banana liqueur (preferably Giffard Banane du Brésil)
• 0.5 oz smoky scotch (preferably Ardbeg 10 year)
• 0.75 oz lemon juice
• 0.5 oz coconut syrup (see note)
• 0.5 oz aquafaba 

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Empress

Empress cocktail at Elisa Steakhouse. Leila Kwok photo

• 2 oz Mount Gay XO rum
0.75 oz lemon juice
• 0.75 oz turmeric honey
• 1 oz aquafaba
• 2 dashes Bittered Sling Arabica Coffee bitters

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