It’s not often that I write about spirits on Winellama. In fact, when I took the WSET Diploma, I balked at having to take a course on spirits. In the end, it was the course I learned the most from – and got the highest mark on. And ever since then, there has been g i n .
However, when the gin you’ve been drinking for quite some time and raving about finally vindicates you and wins the World Gin Awards 2019 prize for ‘best contemporary gin,’ you should probably go and pay a visit to their actual distillery.
Of course we left with a bottle of my favourite – the Seaside Gin made from BC white wheat and malted barley (it has to be in order to be called a craft spirit in the province), botanicals including rose, lavender, coriander and juniper, and winged kelp hand harvested by a local marine biologist in Sooke. You cannot get more local than that.
This gin is so precise and crystal clean with a saline, slightly citrus, and light almond nose and palate that help you imagine you’re walking along a west coast beach. Enjoy it neat, with tonic, or as my favourite in a martini with a local vermouth from Devine Vineyards.
I tried to leave with a bottle of the Akvavit and the Whiskey as well, but one was sold out and one was not ready. This only means I must return.
When you go, make some time to go 20 minutes up the road to the community of Shirley and enjoy a meal or coffee at Shirley Delicious. They boast the friendliest service and best food on that side of Vancouver Island, hands down. Ironically, they’re located on Sheringham Road. It’s a sign.