• Gail Johnson

Summer's not over yet: sips to savour over Labour Day and beyond

Updated: Jul 30, 2020


It’s not over till it’s over, right?

We've got the long weekend to enjoy, and even though the calendar flipping past August can be a bit of a downer, Setpember and October are often some of the most beautiful months here on the West Coast, sunny, clear, and crisp.

I received a few different types of wine and spirits to sample over the past few months. (I’ll always tell you when something is a freebie, and I won’t write about products I don’t genuinely like or wouldn't buy/haven't bought myself); here are few to start with, including a couple of ideas for original cocktails.

These can all still be enjoyed on a patio or around a table to toast the summer of 2018 or after the kids are back in school—now there’s a reason to celebrate...


Last summer on a family road trip from Vancouver to the Rockies (highly recommend, with stops in Revelstoke, Nelson, and Osoyoos), we spent some time at Panorama Mountain Resort (a mini, quieter version of Whistler). It's just outside of Invermere, the classically Canadian home base of Taynton Bay Spirits in B.C.’s Columbia Valley overlooking Lake Windermere.

Rarely does a batch of home-made cream liqueur lead to the full-on development of a craft distillery, but that’s exactly how Taynton Bay came to be.

Cofounder Justin Atterbury and his wife had started making home-made Bailey’s Irish Cream a few years ago, giving bottles away as Christmas presents. The drink was a hit, and, only half-jokingly, they began looking into its production on a larger scale.

With craft distilleries exploding in B.C. much in the same way that craft breweries have taken off, the Atterburys got more serious about their spirits. Taynton Bay makes several types of vodka, gin, cocktails, and bitters.

Strawberry Herbal Tea Infused Cocktail

Strawberry Herbal Tea from the Naked Leaf, a Calgary-based tea vendor, is combined with Taynton Bay's vodka for a ready to pour drink, served over ice or topped with soda water. I added it to freshly puréed watermelon and strawberries for an extra-summery splash.

Ginger Matcha Tea Infused Cocktail

Taynton Bay developed this cocktail in partnership with the Naked Leaf. Ginger matcha is infused into its vodka; it can be poured over ice or topped with ginger ale. We topped it off with ginger beer (Fentimans is my favourite) and a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Ginger Lemon Vodka Kombucha

While my family and I were visiting my brother and his partner on Vancouver Island this summer, she introduced me to TOFINO Kombucha. This ginger-and-lemon variety made the perfect pairing for a cocktail with pure vodka, distilled from northern-grown grains.

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