Ontario Craft Distilleries to Visit

A bartender serves up three bottles of Dillon's White Rye on the bar

Foraged botanicals and locally sourced fruit and herb never tasted so good. Discover progressive, cocktail-friendly and 100% Ontario inspired flavours at local craft distilleries that are raising the bar in the art of mixology.

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Ontario Distilleries: the Rise of Field-to-Glass

Black’s Distillery, Peterborough

Locally owned, small batch, handcrafted spirits made from organic Red Fife Wheat, a strain invented by Peterborough County resident, David Fife in 1842. That’s local.

Dairy Distillery, Almonte

Employing artisanal distilling techniques with cutting-edge science to transform unused milk sugar (excess lactose, minerals and vitamins left over in the processing of milk & butter) into a smooth and clean spirit. The outcome is a good news story, a great opportunity for Ontario dairy farmers, one more way to reduce waste, and the crafting of a new spirit: Vodkow!

Crosscut Distillery, Sudbury

Sudbury’s first distillery produces small batch whisky, gin and vodka, including their signature bacon-flavoured vodka. Bacon + vodka! Proving once again that everything’s better with bacon.

Copperhead Distillery and Spirits Ltd, Sundridge

There’s a moonshine-era-esque vibe to this new establishment that feels like it’s been around for ages. Whisky, rum, vodka and gin are all crafted from local, organic fruits and grains, as well as Irish Cream, Chocolate Almond Cream and Apple Pie Moonshine – all sold in mason jars. You’re welcome to sample them warmed at the bar.

Wolfhead Distillery, Amherstburg

During the prohibition years in the US, rum-running was a lucrative activity in southwest Ontario, and Windsor became the birthplace of quality Canadian whisky. You needn’t be so cloak and dagger today to get your hands on premium craft whisky and vodka. Wolfhead’s award-winning flavours include apple caramel whisky, coffee liqueur whisky, banana caramel vodka and grapefruit vodka.

Note: Wolfhead is also a stop on the Windsor Essex Barrels, Bottles & Brews tour.

Muskoka Brewery, Bracebridge

This landmark, cottage-country brewery now produces small batch traditional, dry gin distilled with wild junipers, orris root, orange peel, fresh heather and an infusion of Sorachi Ace hops for the citrus aroma. Say hello to the Gin & Tonic Docker, made with the brewer’s own Legendary Oddity Gin and a twist of citrus and cucumber. Lakeside sundowners just got more exciting.

Junction 56 Distillery, Stratford

Gin, vodka, moonshine and introducing fireshine – moonshine steeped with hot, cinnamon spiced tea from local tea sommelier at Stratford Tea Leaves. Private, guided tours and tastings available, just call to arrange in advance.

Spirit of York Distillery, Toronto

Ardent spirit aficionados will love this place. With a tasting lounge, a rustic bitters library, a botanicals wall and a ‘spirits hub’ for mixology brainstorming, what’s not to love? Oh, also, premium quality rye and gin.

Last Straw Distillery, Vaughan

Take touring to the next level. Sign up for a distilling workshop and learn first-hand how spirits are crafted. You’ll leave with a bottle of your favourite flavour (Blackstrap rum, Dark Side Of The Moonshine or Gin Twenty-One perhaps) and insane bragging rights.

Kinsip House of Fine Spirits, Bloomfield

It doesn’t get more ‘Ontario’ than maple whisky, finished in barrels used for ageing maple syrup. This farm-based, grain-to-glass distillery is located in the heart of Prince Edward County and is a must-visit for all cocktail connoisseurs.

Dillon’s, Beamsville

A small batch distiller, Dillon’s is producing grape-based white rye, vodka, gin and bitters that are making quite a large splash. In true locavore fashion, ingredients include fresh fruit, herbs and grain from surrounding wine country, as well as home-grown botanicals.

Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery, Niagara-on-the-Lake

When you’re nicknamed ‘the Great One’, there’s no question your whisky will be a game changer. Standing out from the wine crowd is Gretzky No 99 ‘Red Cask’ Canadian Whisky, crafted from local grain and finished in red wine casks.

North of 7 Distillery, Ottawa

Ottawa’s first micro distillery produces five types of Canadian whisky, plus vodka, gin and rum. Fun fact: drinking their Leatherback Rum will save endangered animals. For each bottle sold, a portion is donated to sea turtle conservation via the Sea Turtle Network charitable organization.

Yongehurst Distillery, Toronto

Discover Toronto’s first small-batch micro distillery, including its yummy rum made from Ontario apples and gin infused with local elderflowers and juniper.

Friendly reminder to please enjoy your booze responsibly and don’t forget to thank your designated driver!

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