- Story by Lauren Kramer Photography by Darren Hull
Western Canada’s oldest craft distillery is leading the renaissance of craft whisky, which — according to Tyler Dyck at Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery — “is so popular, we can’t keep up with production.”
And what better way to warm up winter than with a whisky-inspired cocktail?
The Okanagan distillery, a family-owned enterprise with locations in Kelowna and Vernon, was founded in 2004. It celebrates the flavours of this unique landscape in its fruit liqueur, vodka, gin, brandy, whisky, aquavit and absinthe.
Located a tractor-ride from the orchards and fields where its ingredients are grown, it specializes in farm-to-flask spirits and features a portfolio of 30 unique products.
“All our alcohols express something about the Okanagan and its flavours,” says Tyler, who is the distillery’s chief executive officer.
Whisky connoisseurs can sign up for a tasting by the dram in the distillery’s lounge or head to the tasting room bars, where they can sample Canada’s first bourbon-style whiskey, single malt whisky, BC rye whisky and beer-inspired hopped whisky lines.
Chef Chris Shaften, of Krafty Kitchen + Bar in Kelowna, has been incorporating Okanagan Spirits into his cocktail recipes since the restaurant opened in 2014.
“Because we focus on local ingredients in our food, we do the same in our wine and beverage program,” he says. “For a cocktail bar like ours, having unique local spirits to use is a big bonus.”
Krafty Kitchen’s Wildflower Old Fashioned cocktail features Canadian rye whisky, for example, and the locality of the ingredients is a compelling draw, particularly for visitors to the Okanagan.
|Photography by Darren Hull
Here are some Krafty cocktail recipes to add a little warmth to the season:
Wildflower Old Fashioned
2 oz BC Rye Whisky – Okanagan Spirits
0.5 oz Rich Honey Syrup
4 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash saline
Chill glass by adding ice and soda. Add all ingredients except for orange zest into mixing beaker. (This cocktail can also be built in the glass.) Add one scoop of ice. Stir for 50 revolutions. Dump ice and soda out of glass. Strain cocktail into glass. Express orange oils over cocktail. Using a match, scorch the skin side of the orange zest until it is lightly charred. Trim zest and curl it into a spiral using the back of a spoon. Place zest in the cocktail, resting on top of the ice.
|Krafty bartender Chris Daigle creates a Wildflower Old Fashioned cocktail. Photography by Darren Hull
1 oz Master Distilled Hopped Whisky – Okanagan Spirits
1 oz sake
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.75 oz Kombucha
0.75 oz Green Tea Simple Syrup
1 sprig mint
Chill Collins glass with ice and soda. Combine all ingredients except for ginger beer in shaker. Shake hard and fast for 15 seconds. Dump ice and soda out of Collins glass, and refill halfway with fresh ice. Double strain cocktail into Collins glass and then top up with ginger beer. Slap the mint sprig in the palm of your hand, then garnish the drink with it. Serve this drink with a straw.
|Photography by Darren Hull