By: Angela Guardiani
66 Gilead is a craft distillery near Bloomfield, Ontario, in the heart of Prince Edward County. As my intrepid travel companions and I pulled up, we noticed two things immediately. First, the distillery is housed in a lovingly restored 1874 mansion that manages to be both gracious and spookily Gothic. It would be a hell of a setting for a ghost story.Two, it's also a working farm, complete with free-range poultry that aren't shy of visitors. (I especially enjoyed watching the Silkie, a chicken that looks more like a Pomeranian than a bird.)
Inside the high-ceilinged tasting room with its original floors, I found an impressive array of both dark and white spirits.
One of 66 Gilead's most unique products is Canadian Pine Vodka, infused with pine needles. It tastes fresh and a bit citrusy. Their brandy is smooth and rich, made from local wine, and their Wild Oak Whisky is unusual and delicious. Peter Stroz, one of the owners, describes it as starting like a bourbon and finishing like a Scotch. I really fall in love, though, with their signature spirit – Loyalist Gin. It's incredibly aromatic. Peter mixes me a long cool cocktail with lemonade, Loyalist Gin, and house-made lavender bitters. I want to put my feet up and sip it all summer long.
You can find some of 66 Gilead's products in the LCBO, but if you visit – and I hope you do – I think you'll find that everything tastes better on the farm with chickens strutting proudly across your path.
Angela Guardiani is a lady of strong opinions who lives and teaches ESL in Toronto. She is a food lover, grammar nerd, book junkie, and will try anything once. Follow her enthusiastic but sporadic tweets at @minorgoddess.