Okanagan Crush Pad

The Summerland winery makes two expressions of gin (one of them for Vij’s restaurant), and a grappa-style spirit.

16576 Fosbery Rd., Summerland
250-494-4445
okanagancrushpad.com


PRODUCTS:

• Narrative Spirit of the Vineyard
• Narrative Twelve Botanicals Gin
• Vij’s Bolly Water Gin


TASTING NOTES:


Narrative Spirit of the Vineyard

FRAGRANCE: Fresh, white petals.
FLAVOUR: Pears, Gewurtztraminer.
FEEL: Lush, creamy, round.
FINISH: Dry with long pepper.
BEST ENJOYED: Neat, or subbed in for the vodka in a Vesper.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Approachable—for a grappa. —Josh Pape, April 2016


Narrative Twelve Botanicals Gin

FRAGRANCE: Raisin and orange peel.
FLAVOUR: Citrus and floral.
FEEL: Pronounced sweetness.
FINISH: White pepper spice.
BEST ENJOYED: In a gin Martini
THE BOTTOM LINE: Grape spirit gives a fruity backbone, chamomile and lemongrass really shine through. —Robyn Gray, July 2016


Spirited Away

B.C.’s oldest craft distillery has made an international impact.

Contributed photo.

At the grand old age of 11, Okanagan Spirits is the oldest craft distillery in the province. That may make it a relative newbie on the international scene, but it hasn’t stopped the world from paying it serious attention.

Since its inception in 2004, the family-owned and operated Okanagan business has twice been named Distillery of the Year at the annual World Spirits Awards, and two years ago became the first and only one of its kind in North America to be given a “world class” rating.

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Urban Distilleries

A trip to France and an unplanned tour of a Cognac distillery put Mike Urban on the path to making his own liquor. He now owns the largest distillery in the province.

325 Bay Ave., #6, Kelowna
778-478-0939
UrbanDistilleries.ca

Read more about Urban Distilleries:
• Urban Legend: How one Okanagan man’s hobby became a serious business


PRODUCTS:

• Paul’s Tomb Gin
• Spirit Bear Espresso Vodka
• Spirit Bear Gin
• Spirit Bear Naturally Infused Vodkas
• Spirit Bear Vodka
• Urban Single Malt Whisky
• White Bear Spirit
• Apricot Schnapps
• Blackberry Liqueur
• Blackcurrant Liqueur
• Blueberry Liqueur
• Calvados
• Cherry Liqueur
• Kirsch
• Okanagan Muscat Grappa
• Sweet Mead Honey Wine


TASTING NOTES:


Spirit Bear Gin

FRAGRANCE: Lavender.
FLAVOUR: Chamomile tea, more lavender.
FEEL: Very even; similar tone from start to finish.
FINISH: Long, really dry. Quite perfumed.
BEST ENJOYED: In an Aviation—hold the Creme de Violette.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Worth a try if you enjoy floral flavours. —Josh Pape, April 2016


Urban Single Malt Whisky

FRAGRANCE: Mild grain, sweetness with citrus and subtle grassy notes. Definitely some oak.
FLAVOUR: Vanilla, citrus and wood.
FEEL: Oily with a nice smoothness.
FINISH: Medium. The grain sticks around, the sweetness doesn’t.
BEST ENJOYED: Splash of ginger ale.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Released in 2011, decent for the first single malt style whisky produced in B.C. —Trevor Kallies, July 2016


Blackcurrant Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Grape jelly, port, sour cherry.
FLAVOUR: Welch’s Grape Fruit candy (in a good way).
FEEL: Sweet at first, with a burst of acidity.
FINISH: Tart, fruity, acidic.
BEST ENJOYED: In classic English cocktail, the Bramble.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Buy a bottle, it’ll last for a while. A little goes a long way. —Shaun Layton, October 2016


Spirit Bear Espresso Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Fresh brewed coffee.
FLAVOUR: Bitter cacao and coffee.
FEEL: Astringent and dry.
FINISH: Lasting coffee flavor.
BEST ENJOYED: As an Espresso Martini.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Locally roasted beans in Kelowna bring a dry style espresso-flavored vodka great for drinking on the rocks or in an Espresso Martini. —Robyn Gray, February 2017


Sweet Mead Honey Wine

FRAGRANCE: Honeysuckle, baked sweets.
FLAVOUR: Sweet, dry, nutty; orange blossom, orgeat, candied rose complemented by fall spice.
FEEL: Beautiful, silky sweet, yet not too syrupy. Riesling-like finesse.
FINISH: Slightly sweet, nutty, almost like an Amontillado sherry.
BEST ENJOYED: Solo in a small wine glass.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Phenomenal honey wine. Very versatile. Buy now. —Shaun Layton, October 2017


 

Old Order Distilling

At their Penticton distillery, Graham Martens and Naomi Gabriel take barley from Vanderhoof, malt it in Armstrong, then distill it with spring water from Anarchist Mountain.

270 Martin St., Penticton
778-476-2210
OldOrderDistilling.ca


PRODUCTS:

• Heritage Vodka
• Legacy Gin
• Genesis Whisky
• Blessed Bean Coffee Vanilla Liqueur


TASTING NOTES:


Legacy Gin

FRAGRANCE: Dill, licorice.
FLAVOUR: Anise heavy, funky fruit.
FEEL: Thin.
FINISH: Citrus and aniseed.
BEST ENJOYED: In a Corpse Reviver #2.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Mix with citrus and absinthe. —Shaun Layton, April 2016


Blessed Bean Coffee Vanilla Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Raw vanilla; imagine opening a bag of vanilla bean pods.
FLAVOUR: Milk, vanilla and coffee. Almost a barista drink.
FEEL: Not as sticky as expected. Smooth and clean for a liqueur.
FINISH: Nice coffee bitterness at the back.
BEST ENJOYED: Great addition to coffee or latte, or on rocks as a decent after dinner option.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Very good alternative to commercial coffee liqueurs. —Trevor Kallies, July 2016


Black Goat Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Sweet, lightly toasted grains.
FLAVOUR: Vanilla, tropical fruits, white pepper.
FEEL: Silky and soft.
FINISH: Sweet, shorter.
BEST ENJOYED: As your favourite highball. But darker.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Bit gimmicky. If you want black vodka, go for it! —Josh Pape, October 2016


Heritage Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Mild. 
FLAVOUR: Some heat with a decent amount of grain.  
FEEL: Innate creaminess.
FINISH: Touch of grainy smoothness.
BEST ENJOYED: Toss it in the freezer and drink it ice cold. 
THE BOTTOM LINE: Wax dipped with no tab, so required a knife to open. They leave a decent amount of grain flavour in the distillate so it is enjoyable to drink! —Trevor Kallies, February 2017


Legend Distilling

In a former doctor’s office on the Naramata Bench, Dawn and Doug Lennie created Legend together, drawing on the local bounty of the Okanagan for the base and flavours of their gin and vodkas.

3005 Naramata Rd., Naramata
778-514-1010
LegendDistilling.com


PRODUCTS:

• Doctor’s Orders Gin
• Shadow in the Lake Vodka
• Black Moon Gin
• Slowpoke Farmberry
• Blasted Brew Spiked Coffee
• Slowpoke Sour Cherry
• Manitou Orange and Sumac Liqueur
• Naramaro


TASTING NOTES:


Doctor’s Orders Gin

FRAGRANCE: Slightly funky, tropical fruit.
FLAVOUR: Apples in the botanical mix add a bright freshness, floral notes.
FEEL: Nice mouthfeel.
FINISH: Floral, with slight bitterness.
BEST ENJOYED: In mixed cocktails, a Bramble perhaps.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Nice mixing gin, great packaging. —Shaun Layton, April 2016


Shadow in the Lake Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Alcohol, pepper.
FLAVOUR: Hot, spice.
FEEL: Lean up front.
FINISH: Dry, lingering heat.
BEST ENJOYED: In a Moscow Mule.
THE BOTTOM LINE: More of a mixer than a sipper. —Josh Pape, July 2016


Manitou Orange & Sumac Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Fresh mandarin peel.
FLAVOUR: Slight sweetness that is packed with fresh mandarin and a light finish of sumac.  
FEEL: Light.
FINISH: The mandarin lingers on the back palate.
BEST ENJOYED: A good substitute for Cointreau or Triple Sec.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A lovely liqueur that packs a citrus punch with a touch of spice.  —Wendy McGuinness, October 2016


Black Moon Gin

FRAGRANCE: Familiar gin notes with a background of savoury aromatic rosemary.
FLAVOUR: Soft and savoury with both the juniper and herbs shining. 
FEEL: Oily in a good way with slight front-of-mouth tingle. 
FINISH: Long and herbal. Juniper and pine stays around. 
BEST ENJOYED: Would make for a fun cocktail gin with riffs on Gimlets and Collins coming first to mind.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A fun gin to play with. —Trevor Kallies, February 2017


Blasted Brew Spiked Coffee

FRAGRANCE: Fresh, sweet, roasted coffee bean.
FLAVOUR: Well integrated, sweet yet reserved coffee flavour. 
FEEL: Mouth-coating and viscous.
FINISH: Long-lasting sweet toffee and coffee.
BEST ENJOYED: In an Espresso Martini.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A well-suited substitute in coffee liqueur-based cocktails. —Robyn Gray, July 2017


Naramaro

FRAGRANCE: Cream soda. Candied citrus.
FLAVOUR: Citrus, gentian, licorice. In that order. 
FEEL: Sweet and bitter battling it out on your palate.
FINISH: Long. Sweet but dry.
BEST ENJOYED: Neat after a big meal. Maybe over vanilla ice cream or even added to an affogato.
THE BOTTOM LINE: More citrusy than most amari. Worth a shot. —Josh Pape, October 2017


Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

A family-owned award-winning distillery with a wide range of products to its name, including an absinthe, and both rye and single malt whiskies. Tours and tastings are available in both its locations.

5204 24th St., Vernon
267 Bernard Ave., Kelowna
250-549-3120  |  778-484-5174
OkanaganSpirits.com

Read more about Okanagan Spirits:

Spirited Away: B.C.’s oldest craft distillery has made an international impact


PRODUCTS:

• Essential Vodka
• Family Reserve Vodka
• Essential Gin
• Family Reserve Gin
• BRBN Bourbon-Style Corn Whisky
• Rye Whisky
• Okanagan Shine
• Taboo Genuine Absinthe
• Canados
• Kirsch Danube
• Old Italian Prune
• Poire Williams
• Raspberry Framboise
• Aquavitus
• Gewurztraminer Marc
• Pinot Noir Marc
• Blackberry Liqueur
• Blackcurrant Liqueur
• Blueberry Liqueur
• Cherry Liqueur
• Cranberry Liqueur
• Haskap Liqueur
• Raspberry Liqueur
• Rhubarb Liqueur
• Sea Buckthorn Liqueur


TASTING NOTES:


Poire Williams

FRAGRANCE: Sweet, ripe Bartlett pears.
FLAVOUR: Fruity, with a great boozy backbone.
FEEL: Clean, loads of mid-palate.
FINISH: Austere, dry, lean.
BEST ENJOYED: Neat, after a big meal.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A delicious introductory digestif. —Josh Pape, April 2016


Cherry Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Cherry pit, fruit rollups, rose petals.
FLAVOUR: Tart cherry pie.
FEEL: Beautifully thin and bright.
FINISH: Cherry skins, rose water.
BEST ENJOYED: Remember The Main cocktail.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Great product showcasing Okanagan fruit. —Shaun Layton, July 2016


Maraschino Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Sour cherry.
FLAVOUR: Sweet cherry with underlying almond.
FEEL: Mouth-coating.
FINISH: Relatively short.
BEST ENJOYED: In a Last Word cocktail.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Very excited to see this product. A popular ingredient in classic cocktail recipes, it is great to have a local iteration. —Robyn Gray, October 2016


Taboo Genuine Absinthe

FRAGRANCE: Refreshing hints of citrus from the lemon balm, pleasant fennel presence.
FLAVOUR: All the herbaceous notes you’d expect from absinthe.
FEEL: Great body, initial sensation of alcohol heat.
FINISH: Long, hot, delicious. 
BEST ENJOYED: Neat.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Try it neat without the sugar cube or any water dilution. —Scott Barner, February 2017


BRBN

FRAGRANCE: Certainly smells like a corn whisky. Has a sugary note as well.
FLAVOUR: Corn and oak, some mild vanilla on the front.
FEEL: Warm, slightly mouth coating. 
FINISH: Corn sticks around, shadowed by the alcohol heat.  
BEST ENJOYED: Good with some ginger ale and held up in an Old Fashioned.  
THE BOTTOM LINE: Interesting taste for a Canadian take on “BRBN.” —Trevor Kallies, October 2017


Maple Leaf Spirits

Originally from Germany, and now based in the Okanagan, Jorg Engel has created a range of fruit-based liqueurs, brandies and grappas, produced from distilling 100 per cent B.C. fruit.

948 Naramata Rd., Penticton
250-493-0180
MapleLeafSpirits.ca


PRODUCTS:

• Maple Liqueur
• Pear Liqueur
• Cherry Liqueur
• Peach Liqueur
• Canadian Kirsch
• Pear Williams
• Italian Prune
• Aged Italian Prune
• Skinny Gewürztraminer
• Aged Skinny Syrah
• Lady of the Cask Brandy


TASTING NOTES:


Cherry Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Ripe cherries.
FLAVOUR: Maple, cherries—as advertised.
FEEL: Coats the palate, silky.
FINISH: Warm and pleasant.
BEST ENJOYED: Chilled, neat. Or as a substitute for Cherry Heering in a Blood and Sand.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Pretty pricey, but delicious and well made with good ingredients. —Josh Pape, April 2016


Maple Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Stone fruit, custard, vanilla, slightly hot.
FLAVOUR: Butterscotch, maple, smoky vanilla.
FEEL: Thin, in a good way for a liqueur.
FINISH: Balanced, with pleasant maple.
BEST ENJOYED: Over ice cream!
THE BOTTOM LINE: Great product and a cool little place to visit. —Shaun Layton, July 2016


Pear Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Fresh Pear.
FLAVOUR: Sweet pear eau de vie.
FEEL: Quite viscous and round.
FINISH: Long and lingering pear finish.
BEST ENJOYED: On its own straight up as an eau de vie, could also work as a great liqueur for creative cocktails.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Don’t let the cheesy packaging fool you. This is a very well made liqueur. –Wendy McGuinness, October 2016


Lady of the Cask Brandy

FRAGRANCE: Cocoa nibs, vanilla. More Scotch than Cognac.
FLAVOUR: Round and spicy.
FEEL: Hot, edgy, dry.  
FINISH: Sweet first, then savoury.
BEST ENJOYED: As a Sidecar. Or maybe a Sazerac.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Fairly abrasive neat, but it makes a good cocktail. –Josh Pape, February 2017


Peach Liqueur

FRAGRANCE: Fuzzy peach candies.
FLAVOUR: All peach with some tangy notes. 
FEEL: Mouth coating. Syrupy texture. Not overly sweet.  
FINISH: Peach sticks around for some time.
BEST ENJOYED: Neat for dessert. Very positive substitution for commercial brands.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Nice for dessert, great as a modifier when needing a peach liqueur for a cocktail. —Trevor Kallies, October 2017


Dubh Glas Distillery

Though whisky is owner Grant Stevely’s true passion, the first signature release from this Oliver-based operation was the small batch Noteworthy Gin, distilled from B.C. barley.

8486 Gallagher Lake Frontage Rd., Oliver
778-439-3580
TheDubhGlasDistillery.com


PRODUCTS:

• Noteworthy Gin
• Virgin Spirits Barley
• Age-Your-Own Spirits Kits


TASTING NOTES:


Virgin Spirits Barley

FRAGRANCE: Aromatic nose of vanilla, butterscotch and caramel.
FLAVOUR: Light flavors of ripe bananas, honey dew and vanilla.
FEEL: Full and lingers on the tongue.
FINISH: Long, with a bit of heat from the 50 per cent ABV.
BEST ENJOYED: Replace aged whisky to lighten up your favourite classics, or neat.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A true expression of un-aged malted barley whiskey. —Wendy McGuinness, July 2016


Noteworthy Gin

FRAGRANCE: Intense rosemary.
FLAVOUR: Pleasant sweetness with light florality.
FEEL: Clean and light.
FINISH: Medium vanilla finish.
BEST ENJOYED: Gin Martini with a lemon twist.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Lovely gin with an amazing balance. Sweet and herbaceous. —Robyn Gray, October 2017