For the third year in a row a B.C. distillery has won the Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year—and for the second time, it’s Sheringham Distillery on Vancouver Island.
The best artisan spirit in Canada for 2020 is a Japanese-inspired gin, delicately flavoured with cherry blossom and yuzu, which was also awarded Best in Class spirit in the Contemporary Gin category. Though its name and inspiration may sound exotic, Kazuki Gin, made in Sooke on Vancouver Island, won Excellence in Terroir for its use of local ingredients that evoke a stylistic sense of place, like the only grown-in-Canada green tea (and green tea blossoms), from at the Island’s Westholme Tea Company. The hat trick of CASC awards this year joins a growing list of accolades for the Sooke distillery founded by Jason and Alayne MacIsaac, which also won Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year in 2018, for its Akvavit.
Need something to tuck under the tree? From vodka to bitters, we’ve got you covered with these holiday bottles
Need something special for your dinner party host, your boss or your impossible-to-buy-for brother-in-law. Here are the spirits we’d like to find under our own Christmas trees. (For whiskies, see Last minute gift guide part 1: Warming whiskeys.)
The Alchemist tasting panel gathers for a round of international gins
Summer is the season for refreshing gin cocktails, so it was only natural to think juniper for this issue’s tasting panel. Juniper, of course, is the signature flavour that defines gin, which is typically a grain spirit (though there are some fruit-based ones) that has been infused with botanicals that can include citrus peel, flowers, herbs, spices, stems, roots, seeds and fruits.
Think gin and you tend to think London Dry, the crisp, juniper-forward style developed in London in the 1830s. But there are a wide range of styles from all over the world. To sample a selection of them, we gathered at Tableau Bar Bistro with some of the city’s top barkeeps: Alex Black, bar manager of Wildebeest; Sabrine Dhaliwal, cocktail consultant and Pourhouse bartender; Adam Domet, bar manager of Pourhouse; J-S Dupuis, beverage director of Wentworth Hospitality; Robyn Gray of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia; and Ryan Johnson, bar manager of Tuc Craft Kitchen.
The panel blind-tasted 12 international gins. Here’s what they had to say.
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.
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.
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