GILLE­SPIE’S FINE SPIR­ITS

Whistler Traveller Magazine - - TASTE I CHEF Q&A -

Like many young Van­cou­ver cou­ples with a strong DIY spirit, John McLel­lan and Kelly Woods found their way to Squamish. The former log­ging town lo­cated half­way be­tween Van­cou­ver and Whistler has be­come a grow­ing com­mu­nity for ur­ban pro­fes­sion­als that is of­ten re­ferred to as the new Port­land. McLel­lan is a DJ and handy­man who grew up in Scot­land, sail­ing around the dis­til­leries on the west coast. Woods is a som­me­lier, bar­tender and oys­ter ex­pert. Af­ter sev­eral frus­trat­ing false starts in Van­cou­ver, they launched their dis­tillery in Squamish, where they were wel­comed with open arms. “Van­cou­ver is the epit­ome of bu­reau­cracy,” says McLel­lan. “The city de­part­ments don’t even talk to each other.” “But here, if you want to meet the guy in charge of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, you just end up sit­ting be­side him at the brew pub,” Woods in­ter­jects, cutely fin­ish­ing her part­ner’s train of thought. Their dis­tillery is lo­cated in the In­dus­trial Park, an emerg­ing craft bev­er­age clus­ter that is also home to a lo­cal cof­fee roaster and a small Bel­gian brewer. The tast­ing room is an eclec­tic chic, mod­ern hip­pie sanc­tum where the res­i­dent cats (Cheech and Chong) sprawl on vin­tage so­fas and vinyl records are spun. Even more in­ter­est­ing is the back room, where the cou­ple built an im­pres­sively ca­pa­ble pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity on a shoe­string bud­get, with milk pas­teur­iz­ers re­pur­posed for fer­ment­ing and an an­cient steam ket­tle that looks like a Sput­nik satel­lite. It is also back here where their de­li­ciously smooth Sin Gin is steeped with lo­cal white pine, spruce, lemon ver­bena and raisins (yes, raisins); or­ganic lemons are zested by hand for a re­fresh­ingly bal­anced Le­mon­cello; and Mex­i­can chilies are mac­er­ated for Aphro, a cu­ri­ously rounded yet spicy slope-side sip­per. “We wanted to do it as grass­roots and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly as pos­si­ble,” Woods says. “And we are.”

604-390-1122 | gille­spies­fine­spir­its.com Try it at … Basalt Wine + Salume­ria This sleek new West Coast cui­sine-in­spired restau­rant serves Gille­spie’s Le­mon­cello as an aper­i­tif and in its re­fresh­ing lemon-drop mar­tini. Aphro, a pre­mium vodka spirit in­fused with ca­cao, chili and vanilla is mixed with hot choco­late for the per­fect après toe-warmer.

604-962-9011| basaltwhistler.com

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