Updated: May 2
I recently traveled to Banff, Alberta, Canada. Not only is it one of the most beautiful places on Earth, but it is filled with the nicest people from around the globe. Many of the city's dwellers come from all places: New Zealand, Australia, and Great Britain, to name a few.
I fell in love with the city. Being surrounded by some of the most incredible mountains and a quaint downtown that will remind you of a Prague village. I couldn't help but plan my escape to move there.
Now there are a ton of restaurants to eat at. And while they are all fantastic, my favorite by far was The Park Distillery. (Upstairs area, is a deck. Your view is of the most gorgeous mountain range.)
While we waited our turn to tour the distillery, I sampled one of their signature drinks... twice. Because I am all about the alcohol while traveling with teenagers.
The Backcountry Tea. It is made with their own Park Glacier Rye (YUM YUM YUM), lemon juice, mint, iced tea, simple syrup, bitters.
You're going to want more than one.
The Park Distillery is not a huge distillery operation like Jack Daniels, and yet, this little distillery puts out such a superior product, you would think it was a mega huge operation.
They make their wonderful concoctions right there on the property. Check out their website, and you can see the process by which they create their spirits. (They do get their barrels from Jack Daniels.)
Side note: In Canada for a Whiskey to be called a Whiskey, it must be aged for a minimum of three years
I need to stress something. This is a two-year-old distillery. Say whaaat? Yes, only two years old. They have learned their craft by a lot of trial and error. Our tour guide was Breanne Johnston, Lead Distiller, and she knows her shit.
This gem of the north has already racked up awards for their Vanilla Vodka, Glacier Rye, Barrel Aged Gin, Classic Vodka, Alpine Dry Gin, and Espresso Vodka.
Can you imagine where they will be in ten years time? Can you say world domination?
Here is a rundown of the spirits that I sampled. (All these pictures are of different drinks I promise.)
Gin: Smells like a Spruce tree. They use Canadian Spruce tips to give it that aroma. This is double distilled. No burn or bite like that of other gins. Very smooth. Put this over ice and relax.
Glacier Rye: My favorite. This unaged
rye has a sweet smell and taste that comes from their rye mash. I could drink the entire bottle over ice. No bite, no burn, very smooth and delicious.
Vodka's are double distilled.
Classic Vodka: Slightly sweet, smooth buttery finish no bite. I am a Grey Goose drinker, and this Vodka is now one of my very favorites.
Espresso Vodka: Measured out by weight, espresso beans are soaked for 21 days in the Vodka. This smells and tastes like a cup of STRONG coffee with a kick.
Bird's Eye Chili Vodka: 3 Birds Eye Chili from Thailand go into every bottle. This is a mixing Vodka. Instead of using Tabasco, you would use this. This has a very spicy kick. I could barely get through the sample. Not because of a bad flavor, on the contrary, it's fantastic. But the spice from the chili will grow hair on your chest.
Vanilla Vodka: Half a bean per bottle and it is infused for three weeks. This can be sipped. It is sweet, but not too sweet. Reminded me of a vanilla cream soda flavor. (Notice this has a little color in it)
Now, there is one more drink I need to suggest. I fell in love with the Glacier Rye and wanted to have a specialty drink made with it. Our server recommended the Observation Peak.
Made with Park Glacier Rye, dark rum, Amaro Montenegro, cherry liqueur, Park orange bitters, and a smoked cedar square.
You see that block on the top of the glass?
They char the underside of it, then capture the smoke inside the glass by placing it on the top. (You can see the smoke in the picture.) When you remove this block, the aroma is unbelievable. I just kept smelling the drink.
The smoke flavor infuses the drink, and the taste is heaven.
They have a robust menu with a shit ton to choose from. You can't go wrong with anything you order. I had the Rotisserie Chicken sandwich. This is like a pulled pork sandwich but made with shredded/pulled chicken. So good.
The employees of the Park Distillery are top-notch.
They are gracious, kind, and go above and beyond just being your server, host, or bartender.
I hope, in your lifetime, you have the opportunity to go to Banff, Canada. You will not be disappointed.
Check out the Park Distillery's website.
Check out the City of Banff's website.
(Wolf Street corner emblem)
Thank you to the management of the Park Distillery, who let me take pictures while on the premises. And a very special thank you to Breanne Johnston, Lead Distiller. She allowed me to take pictures while on the tour and entertained all of my questions.