Whistler Traveller Magazine
GILLESPIE’S FINE SPIRITS
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.