by Jennie Orton
VANCOUVER – In a celebration of all things grain and grappa, BC Distilled returns to Vancouver for a fifth time with a roster of local fare that is as prolific as it is damn tasty. While neighboring governments seek to topple our local wine market with flimsy boycotts (more for us, Notley!) they miss the very obvious fact that spirits have begun to emerge as the OTHER fermented treat that BC can boast with pride. 40 BC Distilleries will bring their wares to the Croatian Cultural Centre on April 14 and for those with livers of steel, there are more than enough morsels to delight your pickled palate. For those who can only put the pedal halfway to the metal, here are 5 offerings in particular that you should seek out.
Sons of Vancouver Chili Vodka – this puppy has teeth. Distilled with aquaponic chilis to a nuclear glow, this vodka for the brave boasts a deep burn and, though you may be tempted to have it in a Walter’s Caesar, may I suggest a spicy mule instead. Never has being kicked in the face by a mule felt more like a blood sport.
The Woods Spirit Company Amaro – a remarkable addition to the slim local Amaro market, this spirit is bittersweet and expertly layered. The rollercoaster of citrus rind to caramelized sweetness to a bitter flick of the tongue, this should be consumed by itself (though it makes a mean Negroni).
Goodridge and Williams Tempo Renovo Gin – BC craft distilleries are ALL about gin these days. There are all kinds of exciting botanicals being thrown into the mix as spirit makers find fun ways to put BC agriculture to work; The Renovo Gin, however, stands above with its clean copper stilled freshness and its balanced and delicious botanical presence. It is an astonishingly tasty dry gin that should be enjoyed on the rocks at least once before becoming a part of a pitch perfect martini.
Sheringham Seaside Gin – Speaking of distillers getting bold with BC agriculture, do not miss the chance to taste Sheringham’s Seaside Gin. Distilled with winged sea kelp, this gin has a lovely dryness with a pert brine that is subtle yet mild-melting on its own but would absolutely rock a slightly dirty martini.
de Vine Vineyards Honey Shine – BC’s only native rum which cleverly gets around the BC agriculture rules by using Vancouver Island honey in place of sugar cane to distill this smooth and nicely spiced spirit. By itself over a rock or two it is a smooth treat and a tribute to our dear friends the bees.
For a full listing of the featured distillers at this year’s fest and to get your hands on the few remaining Saturday tasting tickets, visit bcdistilled.ca