Awarded an International Gold Sip Awards in 2017, it’s no surprise the gin from Banff's Park Distillery was voted the best distillery product in this year’s Rocky Mountain Outlook Best of the Bow reader's choice awards.
Among many of the provincial and international accolades awarded to its products, Park Distillery’s gin takes the cake among spirit enthusiasts.
“Definitely gin is king – it’s our most popular spirit," said Park Distillery’s master distiller Matthew Hendriks. "They’re all different. They’re all good and it’s just how the distiller chooses to make that recipe."
“Our oranges are from Florida, our lemon is from Spain and our juniper is even Croatian ... Being able to combine those best growing regions with our local spruce tip region, it just highlights and accents the flavours that we’re looking for,” Hendriks said.
In order to achieve that crisp and citrusy flavour, the Alpine Dry Gin is distilled with a combination of juniper, coriander, orris root, licorice, angelica, cinnamon, lemon peel, orange peel and finally – to give it that Canadian touch – Engelmann spruce tips.
Afterwards the distillers take the Alpine Dry Gin, puts it into a former bourbon casks that is then aged for six months.
“It softens the gin a bit, bringing out more of the floral notes rather than the citrusy lively notes and then it starts to show up with a bit of the barrel characteristics, so you get a little vanilla, you’re starting to get a bit of butterscotch,” Hendriks said.
“We like to say that it’s the whisky drinkers gin while they’re waiting for our whisky.”
What makes Park’s gin stand out even more is that it is distilled with pure glacier water originating from the Rocky Mountains.
While Park Restaurant and Distillery is one of the smallest in-house distilleries in town with about nine people focused on the creation of the spirits, Hendriks said that creating a quality gin was a collaborative team effort.
“We’re talking about the winning product and that’s the key to it all. Knowing that it’s a team effort is huge and without all of us, including our sales team, our brand managers and the person that runs social media – like everything. It all has to happen together in order for it to work,” Hendriks said.