Cocktails and Other Fun Things

Cocktail Making with Gillespies Fine Spirits

In the past few years craft breweries have been getting a lot of attention. This is especially true in British Columbia, where another 15 – 20 craft breweries are estimated to open this year alone. But, this past week I had the opportunity to learn about another craft product that’s starting to gain a foothold in BC; craft distilleries. Defined by the BC Government as “one that uses 100% B.C. agricultural inputs, ferments and distills their product on site, and produces less than 50,000 litres annually”, the last few years have seen a boom in craft distilleries, with dozens of new producers entering the scene since 2013.

Gillespies Fine Spirits is an artisan craft distillery in Squamish, producing vodka, gin, Lemoncello and a couple of other tasty offerings. With a mantra of “Local Awesome Booze”, proprieters Kelly Ann Woods and her husband John McLellan, strive to make sustainable products, inspired by locally obtained ingredients.

So why support local craft distilling? Well, much like the recent movement toward other locally made products, it just makes sense. Canada is a country of abundant resources including everything we need to make some pretty amazing spirits, not limited to rye and whiskey, but also gin and vodka. Buying locally made products, our carbon footprint is reduced and the local economy and farmers are supported. But, even if you’re not a huge proponent of the “Buy local” movement, there’s still one remaining fact that can’t be ignored: IT JUST TASTES BETTER. Like, incomparably better. Rather than being distilled in a large facility, designed to remove any inconsistencies and character alike, craft distillers take remarkable care to create a product that maintains it’s unique character. The result is a unique, delicious tasting product.


Gillespies Fine Spirits

Cocktail making demo by Kelly of Gillespies Fine Spirits

Set up in the teaching kitchen at Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store in Langley, Kelly (also a sommalier and mixologist) and John, walked us through a tasting of a few of their products, taught us about the distilling process and finished with a cocktail making demo (with samples, of course).

Here are a few of the recipes that Kelly was shaking up for us (NOTE: All ingredients are meant to be added to suit your own taste, therefore no measurements are included)

Mexican Express:

Gillespies Fine Spirits

Mexican Express Featuring Gillespies Fine Spirits Aphro

Gillespies Aphro

Averna Amaro


Pineapple juice


Lime juice


Cardamom Syrup

Chili Lime Shrub


Gillespies Fine Spirits

Lemonito featuring Gillespies Lemoncello



Raspberries or Strawberries

Basil or Mint


Strawberry Black Pepper Shrub


Raw Sugar



Gillespies Fine Spirits

Grapefruit, Fennel and Radish Caipiroska

Grapefruit, Fennel and Radish Caipiroska:

Grapefruit juice

Fennel, grated

Radish, grated

Orange Kaffir Shrub

Gillespies V-Twin Vodka






4 Responses to “Cocktail Making with Gillespies Fine Spirits”

  1. Those cocktails sound delicious!
    I think the craft beer and craft distillery industries go hand in hand. With the changes in our Alberta liquor laws we are seeing a huge increase in both small micro beer and small batch distilleries. This year our beerfest is featuring a small local distillery section and a local brewery tour company is doing a special tour of local distilleries.

    • They really did make some fine cocktails at the tasting 🙂 We’ve had a huge craft beer boom in the last few years, and it’s still going strong. The growth of the distilleries is still a bit new for us, but as more and more people become aware of the amazing products being made so close to home, I think it’ll only continue. That distillery tour sounds awesome!

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