Everybody knows that Okanagan Valley is the home of world renowned wineries, but did you know it also hosts North America's only world class rated distillery?
It originally started in Vernon in 2004 by Tony Dyck, "Cus Whysky don't grow on trees".
Today Okanagan Spirits distillery is still family owned and operated, employing about ten people. It has two locations: original Vernon and Kelowna (267 Bernard Ave.).
Both offer tours and tastings. Okanagan Spirits Distillery uses locally grown fruits and grains to produce a wide range of spirits: liqueurs, whisky, gin, vodka, fruit brandy (Canados), absinthe. It is definitely worth a visit, if you are an adult.
In early 2015, flagship Vernon distillery was relocated and redesigned, to fit North America’s tallest copper pot still. The copper still is two story tall, towering over a 1930’s style production facility.
Okanagan Spirits distillery hosts an onsite Barrel Room distillery lounge and patio, allowing clients the ability to taste handcrafted cocktails and learn some new recipes from Canada’s craft distilling pioneer.
My first encounter with Okanagan Spirits Distillery was prompted by a video-blog from France about unique taste of Calvados Brandy. Calvados is a brandy made from apples and pears grown in the orchards of north-western France.
I wanted to try Calvados and researched if there is any spot in Kelowna that sells it. There is only one place in Kelowna that produces and sells it (it is called Canados, as only Normandy, Brittany and Pays de la Loire can name brandy Calvados). At my first tasting I did not fall in love with Canados. I thought it would taste like apple or pear, but instead it tasted like good cognac with notes of spice and wood. However I appreciated the quality of the drink. A few months later (winter season) I decided to give it another chance. This time around Canados brandy warmed and cheered me up!
During our tasting we tried Maraschino Liqueur, Plum Brandy and Absinthe. Each spirit is distilled to perfection, and amplifies notes of the fruit and spice it was made with.
I really enjoyed our tasting guru, who explained each concoction. He was also very knowledgeable about many aspects of distilling business and simply fun to talk to!
So if you are in Okanagan area, I highly recommend to visit Okanagan Spirits Distillery. It is one of a kind experience!