The days may be shorter and the nights may be chillier but as Victoria moves into the winter, there are still lots of cozy evenings to look forward to! Whether you’re getting together with a few friends, enjoying a nightcap with your book or just mixing up your favourite cocktail, Victoria has some amazing spirits made right here that are a perfect accompaniment for your hygge. What’s hygge? It’s the Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness, comfort, wellness and contentment that you can fully indulge in during the long winter months. So get the blankets out, pop on your favourite slippers, turn on some music, grab a book or get ready for a comfortable evening with a few friends and try some incredible local spirits!
For over ten years, Victoria Distillers has been producing some of Canada’s highest-quality, hand crafted spirits. Located in the beautiful town of Sidney, this local distillery is making waves when it comes to distilling.
Left Coast Hemp Vodka: Vodka like you’ve never had it before! The rich silky texture is because this vodka is distilled with organic, Canadian-grown hemp hearts and the smooth oils of the hemp hearts creates a wonderful, slight viscosity.
Sidney Spiced: Distilled from molasses and organic cane sugar with a blend of earthy spices makes this liquor a must have for your fall bar.
Empress Gin: Known for its silky flavour, delicate aroma and striking violet colour, Empress Gin has won the hearts of everyone who tries it. Lovingly handcrafted in small-batch copper stills and made with traditional gin herbs as well as a specialty blend of black tea served at the Empress Hotel and butterfly pea blossom – this gin should be on the top of every gin lovers list.
When Graeme Macaloney came to Canada, he brought with him his love of whiskey and his passion for making the ‘water of life’ that he picked up while working at a distillery in Scotland. Today, Twa Dogs Distillery produces some of the top single malt and blended whiskeys using traditional Scottish methods.
Invermallie: With an aroma that has notes of leather, oak, sugar and red berries and a creamy palette full of woody spices, dark fruit cake, cocoa and honey, this connoisseur collection whiskey is the perfect potable to enjoy beside the fire on a cold fall night.
Mac Na Braiche: In 2019, this gorgeous single malt won the gold for Best in Canada at the World Whiskey Awards and the following year, scored 93 points in Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible. With notes of dried fruit, leather, heather, honey and red berries and a full creamy palette, it’s no wonder that this whiskey, using traditional Scottish methods, is so lauded.
Tasting Pack: If you’re indecisive, pick up a Twa Dogs tasting pack and taste-test a selection of their best sellers so you know which one belongs in your collection!
If you want precisely crafted, fun and delicious spirits, Moon Distillery is a great place to start. For almost a decade, Clay Potter and his team have been brewing award-winning beers at Moon Under Water Brewery but with his Masters of Brewing and Distilling from Scotland he decided to shake things up and start making spirits!
Moon Shaft Liqueur: This delightful blend of Moon Espresso Vodka, fresh espresso from locally roasted Oughtred Coffee, almonds, cocoa nibs, Mexican vanilla and sugar won silver at the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition. It’s a perfectly balanced, slightly sweet aperitif.
Candy Cane Schnapps: Made with real candy canes, this grown-up version of the classic Christmas treat is a great way to give a little spice to your hot cocoa and celebrate the holiday season a little early!
Spruce Tips Gin: This small batch gin is made with all the classic gin botanicals and hand foraged spruce tips from Tofino giving it a special woodsy brightness that is as smooth as it is unique.
This “grain-to-glass” distillery on the Saanich Peninsula only uses BC grown grains, fruit, and honey making it one of the few certified 100% craft distilleries on the Island. Everything is fermented and distilled on-site using traditional methods and there are no additives, preservatives, or artificial flavours in any of their products. If you’re looking for holistically made spirits that are absolutely delicious, look no further!
Ancient Grains Quarter Cask: Using alternative techniques and grains that are deeply rooted to the history of the area this ‘new world’ spirit is guaranteed to be one of the most unique whiskies you ever taste. Distilled from BC barley, spelt, emmer, khorosan and einkorn and aged in new American oak quarter-casks, this whiskey offers notes of candied fruit, macadamia nuts, clove, allspice and smoke.
Black Bear: If you’re looking for a smooth, spicy rum for the colder weather, you’ve found it! Made from Devine’s signature Honey Shine Amber that has been double aged with whole spices, this rum is the perfect balance of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, allspice, and star anise.
Moderna Vermouth: Made with Vancouver Island white wine, over thirty botanicals and distilled with the finest Canadian-grown organic hemp seed, this classic Italian vermouth with a twist will give any martini a real West Coast kick.
Since 2015, the MacIsaacs have set their sights on producing top-shelf spirits that reflect the natural beauty of Vancouver Island. Not only does Sheringham produce spirits with locally-sourced, high quality ingredients and impeccable distillation techniques but they also have a passion for implementing sustainability practices at every level. Award winning spirits and sustainability? Yes please!
Seaside Gin: With a beautifully subtle and slightly saline flavour profile that comes from local, sustainably harvested winged kelp, this beautifully crafted gin is as refreshing and crisp as a seaside walk – which is, in fact, it’s inspiration. If you’re a traditionalist through and through, consider: this humble small batch gin won gold for best contemporary-style gin in London, England. Now, if that isn’t reason enough to give it a try…
London Dry Gin: With a classic balance of smooth, luxurious mouthfeel, bright juniper and citrus notes and a crisp, dry sensation this is a London Dry to rival those made in old blighty herself.
Akvavit: Notes of dill, caraway, anise and citrus with a hint of the ocean from locally harvested winged kelp gives this traditional Scandinavian spirit a contemporary, West Coast twist.
Lumette is a unique ‘distillery’ where you can find incredible, botanical ‘spirits’ with 0% alcohol. So if you’re looking for the same experience as a great gin cocktail but want to skip the alcohol, Lumette is the perfect solution.
Bright Light: Infused with both bright, aromatic botanicals like orange, grapefruit, grand fir, mint, and rose as well the classics like cucumber and juniper, this gin substitute is an incredible alternative and will make any cocktail sing!
London Dry: Traditionalists, rejoice! Lumette has created a traditional dry gin with classic botanicals that are a perfect dupe for the real thing!
Lumrum: Deep, rich spices and sweet molasses make Lumrum the ideal non-alcoholic seasonal spirit. From eggnog to hot, spiced rum on a cold wintry night, Lumrum makes virgin festive cocktails fun!
Basically hot chocolate’s older sibling, this cocktail is rich and warm and is the perfect drink to whip up after a brisk walk on the beach or a breezy stroll through town!
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 cups unsweetened pineapple or apple juice
4 long cinnamon sticks
- In a small bowl mix the butter with the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg until thoroughly combined.
- Warm the pineapple or apple juice in a medium saucepan until very hot, but not boiling. Remove from the heat and whisk in spiced butter until combined. Divide the rum among 4 mugs. Pour the pineapple or apple juice into the mugs. Drop a cinnamon stick into each mug to use as a swizzle stick. Serve.
Ripe pears and incredible spirits make this martini a fabulous pre-dinner aperitif that’ll make an impact!
1 cup sugar
1 cup Left Coast Hemp Vodka
1/4 cup your favourite dry vermouth or try it with Devine’s Moderna Vermouth
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 3 large limes)
Two 8-ounce ripe pears, such as Comice, peeled, stemmed, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 unpeeled pear, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, for garnish
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool, about 15 minutes.
- In a blender, puree the syrup, vodka, vermouth, lime juice and pears until smooth. For each drink, pour some of the pear mixture into an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well. Pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with pear slices and serve.
This spicy gin based cocktail is perfect for the season and as the name implies, it really is figging delicious!
3 dried mission figs, chopped into small pieces
2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 ounce maple syrup
1 ounce ginger beer (go for a nice, spicy one), plus more to taste
- In the bottom of a shaker, muddle the dried figs with the lime juice. Add the maple syrup and gin.
- Fill the shaker three-quarters full with good-sized ice cubes (about 1-inch cubes), close, and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is very cold, about 20 to 30 seconds.
- Double strain the drink into a large cocktail or high-ball glass (i.e. strain it through your regular cocktail strainer, then smaller mesh strainer). Top with ginger beer, taste, then add more ginger beer if you want it a bit more spicy.
A modern take on the Italian classic, the Empress Negroni is just the right amount of dry, bitter, citrusy and sweet – plus it looks absolutely stunning!
3/4oz Luxardo Bitter Bianco
3/4oz your favourite dry vermouth or Devine’s Moderna Vermouth
- Stir over ice.
- Strain into a rocks glass onto a large ice cube/sphere.
- Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
This rich, sweet cocktail can be made vegan by substituting the cream for oat cream!
2oz half and half or oat cream
- In a glass, pour Moon shaft liquor and vodka over ice
- Add half and half or oat cream and stir
Candy Cane White Hot Cocoa
Holiday spirit in a mug! This white chocolate version of the classic is spiked with the incredible spirits from Moon Distillery and topped with a festive candy cane.
1 oz of Moon Distillery’s Shaft Liqueur
2 sticks Lindt Swiss Classic White Chocolate Bar
1 cup whole milk
- Microwave 2 sticks of Lindt Swiss Classic White Chocolate Bar in a bowl for 60 seconds
- Grab a sauce pan and heat up 1 cup of 3% milk on medium heat for 5 minutes
- Whisk the melted chocolate into the milk
- Pour the Shaft Liqueur and Candy Cane Schnapps into your favourite mug
- Pour the chocolate and milk mixture over the liqueur, stir with candy cane
- Top with whipped cream and a spear with candy cane stir stick