At BC Distilled Festival, craft distilleries have poured their hearts into some trademark spirits that deserve your undivided attention.
From farm to flask, BC is making its mark in the spirit world and BCers got the opportunity to experience the fifth annual BC Distilled Festival (the largest localized spirits event in Canada) to prove it. With up to fifty vendors across the province pouring the fruits of their labour into shot glasses, tasters did their best to keep up with the generous flow of liquors and liqueurs.
Event enthusiasts sipped on botanical blends of gin, vodkas disguised as apple pie, lemonade moonshine and smooth AF whiskies. Check out the features below for a sample of some top distilled spirits and syrups trending this side of Canada.
Sons of Vancouver, North Vancouver
This young batch distillery brings a truly unique twist to the classic cocktail recipe. On your next Legacy Liquor Store run, skip the tabasco and opt for the all-in-one Spicy Chili Vodka and revolutionize your Caesar experience. As for Sons’ No.82 Amaretto, this BC blackberry honey-sweetened liqueur is the new simple syrup with a little more class. Yes, your mixing experience just got that much better.
Rootside Provisions, Esquimalt
Rootside provides the real deal when it comes to their Ginger Beer and Tonic syrups and it’s because they’ve tasted ginger from all over the world to find the best match for their product. In fact, they only recruit experts and perfectionists to produce the most delicious family-farmed ingredients. And, according to Rootside, you don’t waste great spirits on second-rate mixers because, let’s face it, your drink deserves better.
Phillips Fermentorium Distilling, Victoria
Best known for its Blue Buck Beer, Phillips actually has a lot more going on than you think. They are taking the BC craft scene by storm from their non-alcoholic craft-brewed sodas and tonics to their exclusive Stump Gin. Using local hand-foraged herbs, Stump Gin reflects the bold flavours of the rugged BC coastline. And, with its delicate balance of freshness, you can even taste the forest. Advice of the day: forget forest bathing, go forest tasting.
Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery, Kelowna/Vernon
Western Canada’s oldest craft distillery offers award-winning spirits made from Okanagan orchard fruits and Coldstream Valley grains. Five stars to the BRBN Bourbon-style Corn Whisky; it’s aged in heavily toasted honeycomb barrels that release a flavour of burnt caramel to finesse the sweet flavour. This distilled beauty is an absolute taste of heaven. Warning: you may fall deeply in love with this one.
Wayward Distillation House, Courtenay
Wayward breaks moulds and blazes trails as the first distillery in Canada to use local honey as the base for all of its spirits. Its signature spiced honey liqueur, Krupnik, is positively striking with its steeped honey of aromatic warming spices, citrus zest and organic vanilla beans. This is the next best thing since cinnamon whisky or spiced rum. Pair it with a chairlift, beach fire or your favourite flask (or bedside as a hot toddy).
Kudos to local cheesemongers, Benton Brothers and artesanal bakery, A Bread Affair, who gave spirit sippers the sustenance to keep the alcohol absorbed. And, special thanks to the floral and fruity vinegar, tonic and syrup makers who kept palates cleansed attendees poised — or at least tried to.