For an adventurous date night, Jong and I signed up for the Dine out Vancouver Craft Distillery tour with hosts from Off the Eaten Track Culinary Walking Tours. This is the first post of three detailing our visit, beginning at Odd Society
As we drove to the Odd Society in the East Village, our guide lay down the landscape in which the distilleries operate. It's not easy operating in Vancouver, and this was no exception. Despite this challenge, Bonnie pointed out the wealth of brewerys and distilleries popping up in the area. It's pretty exciting to see the pioneers making their mark.
We entered the Powell Street distillery through the Tasting Lounge then are whisked into the back to learn about their state of the art facility. Founder and Distiller, Gordon Glanz detailed his distilling process using 100% Prince George malted barley. Once all our many questions were answered we were treated to cocktails at the bar - a choice of Modern Hound (recipe below). I left with a bottle of Wallflower Gin, and two bottles of creme de cassis. It was a great start to the night and we were definitely glad we chose to take transit.
Things I learned:
- A brewery's process is not that much different than a distillery's.
- The difference between vodka, gin and bourbon is not the origin material, but the type of yeast culture used. It all begins with a mash.
- The different material will influence the mouth feel of the final spirit.
- Just as Champagne refers to a product made in a specific geographical region, spirits such as bourbon and canadian whiskey can only be called such if they meet specific criteria. Bourbon as a "distinctive product of the United States" must be made with atleast 51% of corn, aged in charred oak barrels, and produced in the U S of A.
- Distilled spirits are white, but will take on the flavours and colour of the barrels they are aged in. In Vancouver the industry is so young that most distilleries are new (max 3 years) and space such a premium that we'll mainly see gin and vodka.
- Each distillery will have their own botanical mix for gin. Odd Society has a particularly light, floral flavour and this is due to the way their infuse the spirits with the botanicals.
- The cocktails they serve are crazy delicious. We sampled the Modern Hound and the Gin Sour, and I just loved the Modern Hound. Often sweet drinks can taste like cough syrup but these were just tasty without any medicinal flavour.
- It has been challenging to set up a distillery in Vancouver because the equipment is expensive and it is considered an extremely volatile industry due to the ethanol produced.
- All of their product is made in small batches.
- Odd Society’s Crème de Cassis is based on the secret recipe of dear friend and Odd Society fellow, Master Chef Hervé Martin of the French Table and once the personal chef to the Late King Leopold III of Belgium as is made with 100% BC-grown black currants. It is suggested to be served over ice cream.
While supplies last, you can own your very own private 30 litre cask of Canadian Single Malt. Your cask will age at the Odd Society Distillery for three years and will then be bottled for you to enjoy. During this time, you can follow the aging process with periodic tasting events. Fun!
Click here for Part 2: Liberty Distillery (link to come!)
Click here for Part 3: Yaletown Distillery (link to come!)
Modern Hound Cocktail Recipe
Created by Matt Cooke
2 oz East Van Vodka
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
0.5 oz jasmine syrup*
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
1 dash rhubarb bitters
Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake with ice, fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Jasmine Syrup *
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 jasmine tea bag
Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a low simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let tea steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bag and store syrup in the refrigerator.