Nestled amongst the hills of Cowichan Valley, the oldest cidery in British Columbia produces cider, spirits and fortified ciders using fresh picked BC fruit, most of it from their own estate orchards.
Merridale Cidery is far more than a mere production facility with an in-house tasting bar, lounge, bistro and gift shop, plus a wedding venue, yurt rentals, and, for the children, a fairy garden.
In 2013 Merridale made a major expansion, becoming the province’s premier certified craft distillery.
Crafted gin, vodka, brandy and fortified ciders are all fermented, distilled and aged at Merridale.
As the spirits season is soon to descend, some “must try” choices would be the gin from this award winning distillery. Drink local, eat local and support island economy!
Cowichan Gin is a natural combination of over 20 wild and native botanicals foraged close by to produce a gin with local “terroir”. Mostly used to describe wines, terroir refers to flavours resulting from a specific areas’ climate and soil.
Native berries, deciduous and coniferous trees, herbs and roots combine to create the flavour profile of this craft spirit. After three years of careful aging the gin is sold to an always ready local market.
Merridale’s Copper Gin contains more than 30 locally harvested and foraged botanicals. After four years of aging, the botanicals are infused into the vapours of the distillation process.
In the final maturing of Copper Gin, the gin is aged in oak barrels previously holding Pinot Noir wine. The oak makes this gem of all gins elegant and smooth. The unusual hint of wood with the botanicals elevates this spirit well above the pack.
Both the Copper and the Cowichan gins are made from 100% BC tree fruit. For those sensitive to gluten, no problem: these spirits are gluten free. Go ahead and enjoy a gin and tonic or a delightful cocktail flight in Merridale’s lounge.
Both the Cowichan and Copper gins are on the shelves of Lucky’s Liquor Store in Nanaimo’s Country Club Centre.
On the food side of the equation, Merridale Bistro has started its Dinner on the Farm harvest series.
From now until Christmas, starting with a French theme, Merridale Bistro will be offering a fresh menu every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening from 5p.m. to 8p.m.
It’s best to book a table at this little bistro. On the other hand, you might enjoy a tasting flight of cocktails while you wait.