It’s G&T time

The Alchemist’s tasting panel searches for the best B.C. gin to enjoy with your tonic

The G&T is a warm-weather classic. But which B.C. gin is the best choice?

Now that spring has finally sprung, we’re craving lighter sprits and fresher flavours. In other words, we’re craving gin, especially when it’s mixed with tonic water.

Our tasting panel comprising some of Vancouver’s top bartenders—Max Borrowman of Juniper Kitchen & Bar; Amber Bruce of The Keefer Bar; J-S Dupuis of Wentworth Hospitality (Tableau Bar Bistro, Homer St. Café); and Josh Pape of Gooseneck Hospitality (Wildebeest, Bells and Whistles, Bufala, Lucky Taco)—sampled nine B.C. artisanal gins, suggested the best cocktails to make with them, and then mixed them with tonic water to determine which worked best.

Here’s what they had to say.

Continue Reading

Ambrosia

Mia Glanz’s Ambrosia. RD Cane photo.

Created by Mia Glanz

INGREDIENTS:
• 1.5 oz Odd Society Wallflower Gin
• 0.5 oz Sheringham Akvavit
• 0.4 oz Martini Bianco Vermouth infused with vanilla (see note)
• 0.25 oz Rose Wintergreen syrup
• 0.5 oz citric acid
• 4 dashes Dillon’s ginseng bitters
• Garnish: Lemon zest

Continue Reading

B.C.’s most spirited festival

Clear your schedule for the BC Distilled festival.

Jeff Grayston photo

BC Distilled is the biggest artisan and micro-distillery event in Canada and a must for anyone interested in spirits and cocktails. It is April 14 at the Croatian Cultural Centre, with a trade tasting from 2 to 4:30 pm followed by the public event, 6 to 9 pm.

Continue Reading

Canada’s best artisan spirits announced

Sheringham Akvavit named Canadian Artisan Spirit of the Year

B.C., which is home to almost 45 per cent of Canada’s artisan distilleries, took home the greatest number of awards, including the Artisan Spirit of the Year: Sheringham Distillery Akvavit. Lucy-Kate Armstrong photo

One hundred and seventy-five. That’s a lot of spirits to taste, especially when they range from akvavit to amaro to apple brandy.

But throughout December 2017, that just what I and seven other spirits experts from coast to coast did, sniffing, swirling, sipping and occasionally spitting, as we judged the inaugural Canadian Artisan Spirits Awards.

Continue Reading

Star Anise

How a Scandinavian classic is warming hearts in B.C.

iStockphoto.com photo

It takes about three seconds for a shot of ice-cold aquavit to pass your lips and slide down your throat, leaving its distinctive hit of caraway and liquorice tingling on your tongue and introducing a pleasing warmth into your belly. The Swedish Shot, as it is known — raise your glass, lock eyes with your fellow toasters and drink up — is swift and satisfying.

Continue Reading

Don’t Call Me Shirley!

Wildebeest’s Don’t Call Me Shirley. Jonathan Norton photo

This cocktail is an ode to the town of Shirley on Vancouver Island, whose name was shortened from Sheringham in order to fit on a postage stamp.

INGREDIENTS:
1.3 oz Sheringham Akvavit
0.3 oz Amaro Montenegro
0.3 oz Noilly Pratt Extra Dry

METHOD:
Combine ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass rimmed with a rosemary solution (salt, water, rosemary). Garnish with a smoked olive.

Continue Reading

Whisky Galore!

B.C.’s fledgling industry prepares for a bright future

Whisky is set to be the next boom in B.C. spirits. Thinkstock photo.

After just five years in business, British Columbia’s distillers have already confronted some mighty challenges. For one, it takes years of practice to make a quality product. Plus, craft liquor is expensive—not only for consumers at the till but for makers at the still.

Continue Reading

Sheringham Distillery

Jason MacIsaac was a successful chef before he turned distiller, and he brings his local, sustainable attitude toward food to his small batch spirits.

2631 Seaside Dr., Shirley
778.528.1313
SheringhamDistillery.com


PRODUCTS:

• Akvavit
• Seaside Gin
• Barrel Aged Seaside Gin
• Vodka
• William’s White


TASTING NOTES:


Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Floral, with white pepper nose.
FLAVOUR: Light, slightly sweet.
FEEL: Well balanced, thin finish.
FINISH: Tad bit of tropical fruit, very pleasant.
BEST ENJOYED: On the rocks, lemon twist.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Pleasing, great packaging, good Martini vodka. —Shaun Layton, July 2016


Akvavit

FRAGRANCE: Citrus and anise.
FLAVOUR: Spicy caraway.
FEEL: Oily and mouth-coating. 
FINISH: Sweet and warming. Long.
BEST ENJOYED: As an aperitif before a good meal, especially fish.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A beautiful medley of botanicals that sing in perfect harmony. A great twist on the Scandinavian spirit. —Robyn Gray, October 2016


Dark Chocolate Vodka

FRAGRANCE: Cocoa nibs and raw bitter chocolate.
FLAVOUR: Real, proper crushed cocoa.
FEEL: Lean. More booze than sugar.
FINISH: Long and even.
BEST ENJOYED: An a well made chocolate Martini — spirit forward and not overly sweet. 
THE BOTTOM LINE: A refreshing alternative to all of the sickly sweet chocolate products available in our market. —Josh Pape, February 2017


Seaside Gin

FRAGRANCE: Fragrant, floral, damp wild flowers, seaside walks.
FLAVOUR: A bit savoury, piney juniper notes, candied violets, wild elderflower.
FEEL: Very balanced, great viscosity.
FINISH: Danky, savoury, pleasant briny finish.
BEST ENJOYED: This gin screams G&T or a citrus forward cocktail. Works great with shrubs. 
THE BOTTOM LINE: A phenomenal gin, not for Martinis, but for mixed drinks. One of the best in BC, buy now! —Shaun Layton, July 2017


Barrel-Aged Seaside Gin

FRAGRANCE: Salty and briney, mild citrus.
FLAVOUR: Citrusy, mostly lemon. Some juniper and savoury notes.
FEEL: Mouth-coating. Very pleasant.
FINISH: Lengthy, with more of the savoury botanicals sticking around.
BEST ENJOYED: Cold with lemon zest.
THE BOTTOM LINE: I can typically take or leave oak-aged gins; this one is interesting and worth a chance. —Trevor Kallies, October 2017