Looking for something local, cutting edge, and not available in the LCBO? Well I have a treat for you.
Dillon’s Small Batch Distillery is located only 20 minutes from the heart of Niagara on the Lake in Beamsville. Having only opened on December 9th 2012 and already gaining momentum, it is only a matter of time before this is a staple behind every bar. This place is going to be huge so make the trip before you have to book tours weeks in advance, or I will be the one saying I told you so. They have transformed an old warehouse into an amazing distillery with a tasting room as they are currently renting the space from Angles Gate Winery.
Dillon’s is a trend setter and I might even be as adventurous enough to say a game changer. What they are doing is revolutionary and people from all over the world will be coming to figure out just how the heck they are doing it. They are keeping it Canadian, as they are using local ingredients and making it work in unbelievable ways. The philosophy of Dillon’s is to utilize modern techniques to produce traditional tasting spirits and they already have it pretty much perfected. They are still in the growth phase so take note and watch as they continue to impress and expand.
Geoff Dillon is very charismatic and blew me away with how passionate, and knowledgeable he is about spirits. Geoff Dillon has a degree in Chemistry and Business, so he is well suited on both fronts. He got his passion for the finer spirits from his father Peter. Geoff has travelled around the world learning the different distilling techniques in various countries. I would say he has them all perfected and is currently producing three amazing spirits with more in the works. I cant wait to see what they come out with next as I am sure they will be equally awesome.
This white and completely colourless rye surprised me, and far surpassed my wildest expectations. I was skeptical about the white whiskey as some of the other ones I have tried before were not even close to this calibre. This is a game changing rye, as it is “in your face” about it’s flavour and has nothing to hide. This rye is not barrel aged and gets all its flavour from the 100 percent Ontario rye grains. Typically barrel aging will be where most other ryes will get their flavour from, although there currently is some Dillon’s White Rye aging in three different barrels. So let’s face it a little colour, or more flavour, can only make this fantastic rye better. The first release of the barrel aged rye is set for 2015, and I am already counting down the days. Get your hands on some of this first batch White Rye before it’s too late.
Gluten allergy? No worries, the vodka is gluten-free and is made from local Niagara region wine grapes (gamay noir, pinot noir, cabernet franc, and merlot). This lightly filtered vodka is so smooth on the palate, it almost glides to the back of your throat. It has a subtle hint of grape flavour which helps to remind you of its origins as a wine. The Vodka Method 95 gets its name from the pure 95.2 alcohol percentage that it comes out at. Most others will try, but Dillon’s has this method perfected and will come out at the same percentage every single time. It is a great vodka and I would put it up against any of the vodka heavy weights. Watch out for this vodka coming to drinks near you.
Like your Swedish and Polish friends, you can take it anywhere and mix with your superficial acquaintances, but come time to impress those tall artsy bubblies, nothing beats a cool Canadian like this one.
I have to start out by literally saying “I don’t like gin, but I would definitely drink this” (Drunkntrvlr, 2013). Those were the exact words out of my mouth after trying this gin for the first time. It’s so good that I am currently drinking a gin martini as I write this. The Unfiltered Gin 22 was possibly my favourite, as it was like nothing I had ever tasted before. That is saying a lot coming from a scotch lover. It is super smooth and easy to drink with a nice bouquet of florals. The best part about this gin is, it is all local, as it also originates from Ontario wine grapes. The number 22 on the gin is from the amount of florals that give the gin its flavour; which might I add, are grown nearby in the Dillon’s back yard. I got the opportunity to try the gin in a cocktail with soda and some in-house made lemon bitters. This light and refreshing cocktail is what got me hooked, and will be the perfect dock drink this summer.
If you are from the UK or Australia you will know what bitters are, and will no doubt love these. Dillon’s will be offering a wide range of bitters, however they will be only seasonal. They are Peter Dillon’s life work and are outstanding. The best part is that all of the fruit and florals are grown in their backyard; what ever is ripe at the time will be in the bitters. The first batch of pear bitters sold out quickly, but they are also currently offering orange, lime, lemon, cranberry, and their own DSB bitters.