A Visit to Dillon’s Distillery and a Classic Cocktail

As I mentioned during the Icewine Festival, I have developed a new appreciation for cocktails.

Now, I have always enjoyed spirits. Even in childhood, I used to raid my Mom’s stash of brandy filled chocolates. Not because of the chocolate, but because I actually liked the taste of brandy.  She may have thought this was a bit strange. What three year old likes brandy? Well, this one did. Mom wasn’t too impressed with me when I gorged on said chocolates one day when she had friends from church over. A very happy, brandy-filled three year old wasn’t what the church committee expected. Yeah, I got in a bit of trouble for that one.

So, I have a long history of liking brandy. I also love single malt scotch. I like vodka. I like gin – even with tonic. But overall I tend to prefer my spirits straight – no pink cosmopolitans or syrupy fruit flavoured martinis for me, thanks. There is something to be said for simple, classic cocktails. Things that you could imagine Don Draper and his Mad Men cronies swilling, all while looking suave and ultra cool, of course.

I’m still working on the cool factor.

But Dillon’s is already cool in my book.

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The tasting room has a fabulous feel, don’t you think? Light and airy, filled with neat, orderly rows of gin, vodka and white rye. A funky chandelier made out of liquor bottles too.

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Dillon’s states that their goal is to return to traditional levels of quality, while creating authentic products that people will love. They are doing a wonderful job. Their initial products include vodka, gin, white rye, a number of bitters, and absinthe. Yes, absinthe. Additionally, their first batch of Canadian rye whisky is currently aging in Canadian Oak. The first release will be happening in 2016.

I can’t wait.

I tasted white rye, the unfiltered gin and the rose gin


The rose gin is very unique – it would be perfect in a cocktail. Think warm summer weekends on the patio. Or a lovely spring cocktail for your Mom on Mother’s Day. The unfiltered gin is also quite spectacular. Read the description on their website, it’s perfect – especially the “people who grabbed large animals by their horns part.”  Just reading the description makes me feel cooler already.

But coolness aside, we also wanted to have a tour. One of the distillers, Dave, was there to take us through and answer all of our questions.

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This amazing piece of equipment is where the magic happens. There is such a science and an art to making good spirits, and the process is different for each. I don’t think I could keep all the different steps straight, myself. Good thing I’m not a distiller.

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I will just enjoy the fruits of their labour.

I came home with some White Rye, and decided to see what simple cocktail I could make with it. Given that St. Patrick’s Day was coming,  something to toast my Irish heritage with was required. For the record, I hate green beer and Irish Cream cocktails. I needed something to make Don Draper proud.

So this is what I found. It is called an Irish Buck, and is typically made with Bushmills Irish Whiskey. It is so, so, simple. But so good.

Here are the ingredients:


Yep, that’s it. Dillon’s White Rye, ginger ale, lime. I added the mint of my own accord, it’s not part of the traditional recipe.

This is SO easy, my friends.

1.5 oz Dillon’s White Rye

.25 oz lime juice

2 oz ginger ale.

I mixed this all in a regular kitchen mixing cup. I do not have proper cocktail accoutrements, I’m afraid.


Stirred it up, then poured it over ice.


Added in my lime wedges


And of course, got it all ready to take pictures for my blog


Oh and added the mint

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A nice, tart, citrus-y cocktail. If you don’t like it that tart, you could add some sweetener. But that’s sacrilege to me, personally. The slightly green colour is my nod to St. Patrick.

I think I’ll be drinking this year-round, actually.

Let me know if you try it!