March 5, 2016 § Leave a comment
Here are the show notes for Part 2 on our series on Craft Distilling in BC and here on the island. There is a lot to cover so let’s dive right in and listen to what our Spirits/Cocktail expert Shawn Soole has to say.
Segment 1 ~ What Makes a Craft Distillery a Craft Distillery
There continues to be a lot of debate as to what can be referred to as Craft. The same level of debate happens within the brewing business.
The key thing is to separate the marketing function of the word craft from the the legal definition.
In B.C. to be considered a craft distillery the distillery must produce less than 50,000 litres of spirit and they can not use what is called Neutral Grain Spirit (NSG). They must distill their own NSG.
Segment 2 ~ Craft Vodka
Vodka is usually the first thing that a distillery will make because it is the easiest. There are no ageing requirements.
For years what was most desirable about Vodka was neutrality, which lead to Vodka becoming more of commodity where the only differentiator was the brand and price. Craft Vodka in BC is changing that and provides a sense of terroir.
Shawn’s Recommended Craft Vodkas (coming soon)
- Sheringham Vodka ~ $45-$50
2. Unruly Vodka ~ $45-$50
3. Liberty Truth Vodka ~ $54-$60
Segment 3 ~ Craft Gin
So what makes a Gin a Gin. The only single element that is required is Juniper berry. After that the list of botanicals can include anything.
Gin is becoming the hot spirit because of the diversity. We are blessed, here on the coast, to have such a phenomenal array for Gins produced right here on the island.
Shawn’s Recommended Craft Gins (coming soon).
- Stump Gin ~ $50
2. Arbutus Empiric Gin ~ $43
3. Juniperus Lupulus ~ $45-$50
4. Ampersand Gin ~ $44-$47
Segment 4 ~ What is the Future and Where Can I Find Local Craft Cocktails
It may be a cliché but the future is indeed bright. There is a great deal of interest in locally produced spirits and that is only set to grow. Look for more and more space on the retail space and back bar given to locally made spirits.
Best Buy of The Week – Three Winds 2009 Grenache
Rare is putting it mildly. Wines at this price point are made for consumption within a few years of release so to find a 2009 that was still fresh, alive and delicious is very special.
the Dork UnCorked
December 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
There are lots of new spirits that have made their way onto the shelves of your local bottle shop in recent weeks. I was chatting with Stacey Brennan of the Hillside Liquor Store (North Dairy and Shelbourne in Victoria) about which items really tickled her fancy and this what she said.
Legend Distilling Blasted Brew Coffee Liqueur ~ $26 + Tax
Legend Handmade Vodka and locally roasted organic coffee from Backyard Beans in Summerland come together to create a spiked coffee exploding with flavour. Hints of dark chocolate and vanilla mingle with the smooth flavour of cold brewed coffee to create this unique craft liqueur. Perfect sipped on it’s own or in your favourite coffee cocktail.
Legend has it, blasting through rock to build the Kettle Valley Railway was dangerous work, especially during winter, when the explosives would get a little frosty. When workers slept in late, they’d have to make up for lost time by defrosting the dynamite in a roasting pan over an open campfire. You can probably guess how the story ends… let’s just say their railroad careers were a ‘flash in the pan’. Don’t fall asleep on the job, keep your eyes wide open with a sip or two of our spiked cold coffee brew.
Ingredients: Legend Handmade Vodka, Organic Coffee, Demerara Sugar, Raw Cocoa Nibs, Pure Vanilla Extract.
375ml – 24% ALC
as you no doubt surmised, Legend Distilling is a craft distiller based on the Naramata Bench just outside of Penticton. Link to Website
Sheringham Distilleries Seaside Gin ~ $25 + tax 375ml, $42 + tax 750ml
Citrus, floral and notes of the sea make our Gin as refreshing as a seaside stroll.
Elegant for sipping and noble in your favourite cocktail…clean as the South Island surf.
Made from B.C. organic white wheat, B.C. malted barley, natural botanicals and sustainable hand-harvested local winged kelp (Alaria marginata).
VOLUME 750mL + 375mL
Sheringham Distillery is located in the metropolis of Shirley on Vancouver Island (about 1 hour up the coast from Victoria). Link to Website
Merridale Cowichan Vodka ~ $46.99 + tax 750ml
Made entirely from B.C. fruit and distilled in our hand-crafted copper still to create a silky, soft finish. To further enhace the smoothness, our true craft vodka is mellowed for over three years in stainless steel and then cold-filtered through charcoal. The result is a round, full-bodied spirits that pours cool and clean across your tongue. Enjoy it neat, over ice, or in your favourite cocktail.
Merridale Cidery and Distillery is an apples throw away from Mill Bay on Vancouver Island. Link to Website
Stacey Brennan is the GM of the Hillside Liquor Store and knows her stuff. You can contact her or any of the staff at the store click the link to their website for contact info and hours.
The Dork UnCorked
December 13, 2015 § Leave a comment
Episode 8 ~ Link to Podcast
Programming note: Chat about Grannies Shortbread has been postponed because of scheduling conflict with guest.
Segment 1 ~ How to become a dork & In The News
First get a degree in Political Science, then sit at a bar and be wowed with the flavour of a wine.
Dork creating wine – Black Tower Riesling ~ $10.49
New Restaurant: Fol Epi & Agrius 732 Yates Street. Second location for the artisan bakery that makes the best baguette and boule this side of Paris. Agrius is open Mon-Fri for lunch, brunch on the weekend and the only night that it is closed is Sunday. They source from local produce and meats and make their own charcuterie.
Segment 2 & 3 ~ Getting Caught Up With Shawn Soole
Iceland – Brennivin Aquavit: Aquavit is a neutral spirit infused with dill and caraway. Very common in Nordic countries, it is usually drank straight and frozen. Pair with fermented dried shark 🙂
On a flavour spectrum Brennivin Aquavit sit between Vodka and Gin.
Available in some specialty private stores.
Manchester, UK – Aperol (Italian bitters) is the sponsor of Manchester United.
Aperol Spritz is a common cocktail found in Italy. The Roman version simply mixes 1 part Aperol with 3 parts Prosecco.
Nicaragua – Flor de Cana Rum
Flor de Cana translates as Flower of the Cane.
Flor de Cana is made from hand harvested sugar cane and is aged in barrels.
Available in the market is Flor de Cana 5 Year (currently $5 off in December at $22.99)
Flor de Cana 7 Year $31.99
Flor de Cana 18 Year $59.99
Recommendation: If you are looking to give the gift of spirits this Christmas look to single batch rum as the best bang for the buck. The intensity of flavour of the 18 Year old is unmatched. Consider how much the rum has been intensified over 18 years. 18 years of Angel Share (The amount of spirit evaporated each year during aging). In Nicaragua the angel share is 6-8%, thus the spirit intensifies at a higher rate than Scotch (2-3% Angel Share). 18 Year Old Scotch is about double the price of 18 Year Old Rum.
Segment 4 ~ Brandy and Best Buy of the Week
Brandy is a favourite if mine. As for a brandy that delivers big value look for the Torres line of Brandies.
5 Year over delivers amongst entry brandies in the $20-$30 range.
Jime, top of the line at $120, is truly amazing brandy and about 1/2 the cost of a similar quality of Cognac.
Best Buy of the Week – Casa Viva Pinot Noir
Coming up next week – Pairing for Christmas fare.