Canada 150
Food & WineI’ll raise my glass to that!

I’ll raise my glass to that!

I’ll raise my glass to that!

Smooth.

Round. 

Smells like a field of wildflowers.

With descriptors like this, I bet you don’t think that I am talking about gin. 

Certainly not the mass-produced Hendricks or Gordons Gin that is. Rather, it is exactly how I would describe my first sip of Juniper’s Wit Gin made by Prince Edward County’s first (and only) craft distillery Kinsip House of Fine Spirits. 

For fans of the county, you might jump in to correct me: “Hold on - there IS another distillery there.” 

Well the big news is that the 66 Gilead Distillery was the original business, run by a husband and wife team, and was recently sold to a sister and brother team with their spouses ready to lend a hand.

Jeremiah Soucie is the proud new owner and self taught master distiller with three supportive partners – his wife Sarah Waterston, her brother Michael and his wife Maria.

These siblings see each other more than I see my own brother . . . and they live further away! Sarah and Jeremiah live in Ottawa while Sarah’s brother Michael and wife Maria reside in Toronto. 

For years, the two families have been meeting in the county for weekend getaways and family holidays.

“The county is a perfect place to meet in the middle,” said Sarah.

Their jaunts to Prince Edward County were certainly not with the intent of starting a business there – let alone a distillery.

In Ottawa, Sarah is a pediatrician and Jeremiah is an Orange Critical Care Paramedic.

Maria is an executive in a high-tech company based in Toronto. Michael is also involved in the medical field.

It’s a busy family.

Despite their city addresses, both couples longed for their children to grow up in a rural environment. 

And Jeremiah was exploring various avenues in the county to see where he could make a dramatic career move. 

He considered being a chef. 

He took a cheese-making course.

“It’s funny, I initially thought in terms of food not the drinks side,” Jeremiah explained in an interview for the Build a New Life site that profiles dynamic people leaving cities for the county. 

“Prince Edward County is a community of people who are committed to excellence of food and drink,” proudly shared Sarah. “Now with Kinsip, we bring people together in a wonderfully welcoming and beautiful setting.”

Handing over the keys….

Encouraged by the craft beer explosion in Ottawa, Jeremiah put his wheels in motion to add to the craft scene with a small-batch distillery. 

Still in the back of his mind though, he wanted his kids to experience living in the country like he enjoyed during his childhood. 

Then fate stepped in. 

The owners of 66 Gilead - Sophia Pantazi and Peter Stroz - were selling their business.

“They laid the ground work”, explained Sarah. “66 Gilead is the second craft distillery in Ontario.  They have been dealing with all of the uphill battles with alcohol regulators. They have paved the roads for other craft distilleries to flourish.”

Recently, North of 7 Distillery opened its doors in Ottawa and Top Shelf Distillers is established in Perth.

“When the opportunity to purchase 66 Gilead presented itself, we were very fortunate for this opportunity,” Sarah added.

Respecting the hard work of Sophia and Peter, the foursome has slightly tweaked the recipes of the portfolio and rebranded to Kinsip House of Fine Spirits to put their mark on the product. Dillon Reynolds, distiller from 66 Gilead, continues to work his magic with the still and lives onsite to manage day-to-day operations.

Small-batch vodka, gin, rye and rum remain the core of their portfolio. 

Everything is distilled onsite. 

They purposely use local ingredients in their concoctions including honey, maple syrup, berries, cherries and black currants.

Plans are afoot to grow their own grains on the 40-acre farm.

“We have found a secret spot to forage wild juniper berries for our gin,” Sarah said with an I-am-not-going-to-tell-you-anything-more smirk. 

Bitters make cocktails even better!

With artisanal cocktails rising in popularity, handcrafted bitters are skyrocketing. 

Sarah smiled as she pulled out the dozen-plus bottles of bitters that Jeremiah makes to give cocktails made with his spirits added pizzazz.

The combinations reminded me of Baskin & Robbins ice cream flavours – Coffee Pecan, Lavender Lemon, Hibiscus Rosehip, Vanilla Rye and my personal favorite – Chilli Espresso.  Visit the distillery on the weekends and Sarah will teach you her tricks in the mixology classes she offers onsite.

“We came to this adventure from the love of food.  Now we taste together and celebrate life together around the table,” said Sarah.

Now you have YET another reason to hit the road this summer bound Prince Edward County.   

Travel Info:

Kinsip House of Fine Spirits
66 Gilead Road, (located outside of village of Bloomfield)
(613) 393-1890
Tasting Room is open Thursday to Monday, 10am–5pm

www.kinsip.ca


Cocktail recipes

Lit Wit

Serves two

Ingredients

2 ounces of Kinsip Juniper's Wit Gin
1 long cucumber
1 ounce of simple syrup
4 oz. sparkling wine
Kinsip Lemon Lavender Bitters

Method

Using a vegetable peeler, shave thin ribbons from cucumber.

Cut 6" of cucumber into small pieces. Muddle in a cocktail shaker, then add gin and simple syrup and fill shaker with ice.

Shake and strain into two ice-filled rocks glasses or large wine glasses.

Top each with 4 oz. of sparkling wine, garnish with three cucumber ribbons and gently stir together.

Apply two-to-three drops of bitters to the top and serve.


Kinsip’s Duck Island Rum

Impression from a rum fan: A heavy caramel-nose laced with citrus overtones when served warmed (no ice). Very light initially on the tongue with gentle vanilla and molasses, it matures to a more robust navy rum feel in the mouth. All the citrus colours and dripping sugars running out to join the party with some hot buttered toast! Delightfully sweet and salty finish that lingers pleasantly. When ice is added, the melted water allows more molasses type flavours out in a rounder finish while giving the sip a pleasant maple syrup length. Stunning

Crimson Rye Whisky

Impression from a scotch drinker: Unusually dark. When poured neat and rolled in the hand, it liberates an intense smokiness reminiscent of Highland peaty malts. When rolled in the mouth, it opens to a wonderful wide palette of flavours, interestingly dried grapes come to mind with characteristics of ice wine (without the sweetness) or Amarone wine. A drier finish than expected but standout good and different. When ice is added, the character shifts delightfully in to something altogether more playful. Some brandy-esque notes are released also allowing an almost port-like first taste on the tip of the tongue. This mellows beautifully to sweeter sugars and a light smokiness. Very pleasant.

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