Local Gin Steps Up Your Holiday Cocktail

Gin Neige. Casino Montreal. Photo Angela Potvin. Gin Neige. Casino Montreal. Photo Angela Potvin.

There’s a new gin in town, folks and it is good. Gin is not my booze of choice normally, but if you stock up on this stuff, you can guarantee that I am going to hit your bar over and over. Gin des Neiges is a lovely booze make in Hemmingford, Quebec, with all local ingredients. If you know the company, La Face Cachée de la Pomme, you know them for their delicious high-end ice ciders, but after a few years of trial and error, they have come up with something truly spectacular.

Gin Neige. Casino Montreal. Photo Angela Potvin.

Gin Neige. Casino Montreal. Photo Angela Potvin.

This liquor smells like a Quebec winter, all cool breeze and pine. The secret to this rather special product is that they use the water from the apple left over from the cider making process to create the gin. As was explained to me, to make the cider, they take the apples from the orchard and press them, and what you get is the sugar is separated from the water. They use the sugary mixture to make the cider and used to just let the water melt over back over into the orchard. Now they are taking that “apple water” and using it to make this gin.

Gin Neige. Casino Montreal. Photo Angela Potvin.

Gin Neige. Casino Montreal. Photo Angela Potvin.

Because of these processes, you have a water that’s somehow textured, a bit viscous in a good way, like Zubrovka vodka is. Then, they add the aromatics, the juniper berry, lichen white pine and melilot (sweet clover),  that are all local to the area and it forms a harmonious bouquet that reminds you of going up to the country and getting a roaring fire going. They then finish it off with a touch of their signature cider, for color, to remind you of the apples from whence it all came from. You can serve this gin chilled, but without mixer; it is that good.

Gin Neige. Casino Montreal. Photo Angela Potvin.

Gin Neige. Casino Montreal. Photo Angela Potvin.

I was invited to the unveiling of the product at the Montreal casino, which is currently using the gin to make signature cocktails this holiday season, and it was a rather swanky affair. We were greeted with a flute of sparkling cider and a snifter of gin and invited to the talky part of the evening where they explained the research process, the trial and error.  We were treated to a lot of great pairings, and cocktails (recipes below!), as the gin goes well with anything seafood, which my friend enjoyed to the hilt, and with these cute little apple pies with melted Oka cheese. Of course we took a corporate photo. It was an open bar and we are shameless.

Angela Potvin and Friend at Gin Neige. Casino Montreal.

Angela Potvin and Friend at Gin Neige. Casino Montreal.

But seriously, I am going to the SAQ, I am not passing Go, and I am getting at least three bottles to prep for the holiday visitor onslaught. Retailing at $30.50 a bottle, this small batch gin is a great addition to your holiday bar and if you like your friends, and want to impress them, offer them a glass at the beginning of a dinner party, and you will win at your evening. The fact that this liquor is so local that it hurts also makes it a great gift for anyone who’s from out of town. I recommend it to no end, now if you will excuse me, I am getting a little thirsty.

For cocktail ideas and recipes, go here more information.

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