A few years ago we had had the wonderful opportunity to attend a Farm to Table dinner by Season and Supply hosted at the Willow Lane Barn near Olds Alberta. In addition to being one of the most lovely evenings, we have spent with good friends in a long time we were introduced to so many local food and beverage producers. Everything served to us that evening came from a 100km radius and it was exquisite.
One brand in particular stuck with me and has been a guilty pleasure ever since. Eau Claire Distillery was there mixing drinks in mason jars, garnished with fresh herbs and flowers and the experience reignited my love for Gin.
I left that night feeling this humble sense of pride in our small Alberta rural community. We are nestled in the Foothills and to know that we have little gems like Eau Claire in our own backyard is something really special.
So, it is only fitting that Eau Claire is one of our Summer Series features. They are located in Turner Valley and have a beautiful storefront that is worth making the trip for. Make sure to check out their website to see when they will be reopening for tours, tastings, food, and cocktail services again as this is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon supporting local.
A few unique aspects to Eau Claire:
Farm to Glass – Eau Claire produces its spirits from local Alberta grain.
Certified Farm Distillery – They hold a unique designation that refers to their own farming operation, much like an estate winery.
Horse Farming – Their farming operation includes traditional horse farming for special edition rye and single malt whiskey’s – unique in the world.
Certified Craft – Their spirits are certified as craft by the American Craft Distilling Institute, which means they are handcrafted in small batches in a single distillery.
Farm-fresh ingredients and historic hand-crafted methods define Eau Claire’s rightfully artisanal spirits that redefine taste, one ‘farm-to-glass’ experience at a time.
Thankfully, our Alberta location gives them the ability to source the best ingredients in the world, right here at home. Wherever they can, they purchase directly from the farmer or contract farmers to grow specific grain varietals and quality levels.
Their gin is one of very few in the world which is actually a ‘distilled’ gin, which means that they distill with the botanicals in an extra step, to ensure that the flavours marry and balance together.
When Eau Claire offered to partner with us for our Cocktails at the Farm Summer Series and suggested featuring their newest product Flourish Gin we couldn't have been more thrilled.
Flourish Gin embraces the resurgence of the cocktail hour. This new spirit was made to make bartending in your own home fun – you will be surprised as to how much fun you can have creating cocktails! Whether you are hosting a virtual happy hour or sipping cocktails while practicing social distancing with close friends and family this is a spirit that will tantalize your senses and get your creative juices flowing. If you visit their recipes page there are lots to choose from to start your own at-home cocktail hour.
We decided to make their Garden Bramble as I am a lover of berries and we have a herb garden growing wild with fresh mint. It's a simple recipe that uses much of what you have on hand and is a great excuse to whip up a batch of simple syrup.
To make the Garden Bramble
1.75oz Flourish Gin
0.75oz Fresh Lemon Juice
0.5oz Simple Syrup (you can play around with flavoured syrup, such as mint or rosemary)
1 Handful of Fresh Berries
* To make your own simple syrup is a quick and simple process that you will use time and time again. I love to make this and keep it on hand for sweet tea on warm summer days. All you need is equal parts white sugar and water (I usually do 1 cup of each). In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool. That's it. It can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container (a glass jar is perfect) for up to a month. Experiment with this recipe as it is fun to infuse different flavours into your syrups to make your own flavoured sparkling beverages that your kids and guests will love.
Combine the ingredients in a shaker and muddle the berries. Add ice, shake and strain into a rocks glass over crushed ice or cubes. Garnish with more fresh berries and a sprig of mint or other fresh herbs.
The great thing about mixing your own cocktails at home is that you can control how sweet they are and choose fresh local ingredients to add to your recipe.
A special thank you to the Cherry Pit at the Calgary Farmer's Market for always having the best selection of fresh fruit and vegetables year-round. Today's cocktail was that much more special because of your delicious blueberries. Hot tip, you can also purchase your Eau Clair products at the Calgary Farmer's Market!
After a long weekend of duck coop building planned at the farm, the Garden Bramble is the perfect way to reward ourselves.