“The whiskies coming from Ontario are truly world-class.”
— Davin de Kergommeaux
Anyway, promoting Canadian whisky is exciting business these days, as Ontario has four, count ‘em, four craft distillers chugging away and making incredible spirits. Like appreciation for craft beer and locally-sourced food, craft distilling draws on people’s desire for something handcrafted and artisanal, made locally. In other words: we’re looking for something authentic. According to de Kergommeaux, “When I sip Toronto Distillery Organic Wheat, I taste intense, bold grain flavours. It’s the taste of Ontario farmland, right in your glass.”
So, ready to hit the whisky aisle for something made in our own neck of the woods? You have some pretty great choices.
From Prince Edward County, try Wild Oak Whisky. It’s made like a bourbon, which means corn plus aging in American oak barrels. Look for notes of apricot, grape, butterscotch, oak, peat, and smoke. Peat and smoke? In a bourbon-like whisky? Hey, Canadian whisky makers are an innovative bunch.
If you’re hankering for the days when Gooderham & Worts was the country’s largest taxpayer, consider the Toronto Distillery Ontario Organic Wheat Spirit. It’s not quite whisky yet (in this country, it needs more aging), but don’t let that stop you. White whisky, or new-make spirit, has been quite the trend south of the border for years. This one’s softer than most.
Speaking of white whisky, from Beamsville comes Dillon’s The White Rye. Rye is the boldest of the grains, and there’s no oak to soften this one. Expect a big hit of spice right off the bat.
Finally, we enter single malt territory. There hasn’t been a single malt whisky in Ontario for more than a century, but Concord’s own Stalk & Barrel Single Malt Whisky changes all that. It’s made from 100% Canadian malted barley and aged in used bourbon casks. Expect notes of toffee, cloves, and honey.
So, now that you’re armed with your local whiskies, how do you take ‘em? We say sip it neat, pour it over rocks, or mix it with ginger. Or do like de Kergommeaux: “One of my favourite drinks is to take a tall glass and fill it with ice, and then top it with two ounces of Dillon’s. As the ice slowly melts, it becomes this superb drink.”
From CONCORD, try STALK & BARREL SINGLE MALT WHISKY | 382770 |750 mL | Retail: $69.85
From BEAMSVILLE, try DILLON’S THE WHITE RYE| 337600 |750 mL | Retail: $37.95
From TORONTO, try TORONTO DISTILLERY ONTARIO ORGANIC WHEAT SPIRIT | 365528 |750 mL | Retail: $39.50
From BLOOMFIELD, try new WILD OAK WHISKY | 398511 |750 mL | Retail: $68.95
Available early November, 2014
More fall flavours in stores now! For more great recipes, visit lcbo.com/cocktailrecipes.