Some like it hot

Canada’s artisan distillers are bringing their own spiced heat to the party

Istockphoto.com photo

Don’t look now, but Canada’s distillers have been gently plotting to spice things up for all you unsuspecting folks out there.

For instance, did you know that Fireball Cinnamon Whisky—which has taken off in a big way in the U.S.—has replaced Jägermeister as the masochistic shot of choice? It just doesn’t seem to be what you’d expect from a laid-back kind of land like Canada. But it turns out we Canucks were dabbling in pyrotechnic tippling well before its propulsion into pop-shot culture.

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Monashee’s Ethos Gin named CASC Spirit of the Year

Monashee Spirits Ethos Gin was named Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year. Eliisa Meaghan photo

For the second year in a row, a small-batch spirit from British Columbia is the Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year. Last year, it was Sheringham Distillery’s Akvavit. This year Monashee Spirits Ethos Gin from Revelstoke was not only the best-in-class Canadian gin, but scored highest of any entry in the entire competition.

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A-Star

Michael Hallman’s A-Star uses Monashee Spirits’ peaflower-infused Ethos Gin

• 2 oz Monashee Spirits Ethos Gin infused with Butterfly Pea flowers (color changing gin)
• 0.5 oz Maraschino Cherry Liqueur
• 0.25 oz Lavender Simple Syrup
• 0.25 oz Fresh Lemon juice 

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Monashee Ethos Gin for the Win

Triticale could be the craft-spirit buzzword of 2019, thanks to the B.C. winner that tops the 2019 Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition, with six other B.C. distilleries winning best-in-class honours.

Revelstoke’s Monashee Spirits won the Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year award for their Ethos Gin. Marissa Tiel/Revelstoke Review photo

For the second year in a row, a B.C. small-batch spirit is the Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year. Monashee Spirits Ethos Gin from Revelstoke was not only the best-in-class Canadian gin, but scored highest of any entry in the entire competition. (Last year, Sheringham Distillery’s Akvavit from Vancouver Island claimed that honour.) And B.C. distilleries swept bragging rights in the whisky categories, showing promising maturity in our young industry.

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Distant distilleries

The challenges and benefits of making spirits in rural regions

Because shipping to Hornby is so expensive, Island Spirits distiller Pete Kimmerly transported his shiny new still himself. Tim Pawsey photo

What’s the flip side of the urban winery? That’ll be the rural distillery. Artisan distilling in British Columbia is on a roll, with some 60 distilleries in full operation, and at least a dozen more to open within the year (according to BC Distilled). While the Lower Mainland is home to many distilleries, there’s no shortage of them popping up in far-flung spots, from Shirley and Ucluelet to Wynndel and Wycliffe.

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