Craft distilling is the latest rage in Quebec. This is according to Cirka, one of Canada’s premiere distilleries elevating the game for Vodka, Gin, and Whiskey spirits. With an emphasis on experimentation and local floral integrations, Cirka is making a name for itself as one of the hottest alchemic spirit brands in Montréal.
Having only been on the market since October 2016, Cirka is no doubt disrupting the global Gin renaissance with their illustrious flavor combinations and aromatic appeal. Their classic Gin Sauvage uses heavily concentrated botanicals such as cardamom, bergamot, and bitter-orange to the base, then lifts the pallet with elderberry, pine needle, chamomile, and lavender among other floral ingredients.
Cirka’s Old Tom GIN375
In celebration of Montreal’s 375th anniversary, Cirka created GIN375, an eloquently crafted blend of Québec’s Boreal forest ingredients. Playing off the Old Tom technique of distilling Gin, master distiller and founder Paul Cirka tells MiLLENNiAL that the base of GIN375 includes Québec juniper, cranberry bark, and Angelica root.
But GIN75 wouldn’t classify as an Old Tom if it weren’t for the sweetness that is added to the spirit post distillation. The signature note is carried with the addition of sour cherry, cranberry and rose petals. The result? A beautifully structure crimson colored Gin that tastes more like a spicy rosé than a floral spirit.
Not only is this Cirka’s most innovative and tasteful white label execution, but GIN375 also happens to be the first Old Tom produced in the Québec province.
Old Toms emerged in the era of heavy drinking and primitive distilling during the 18th and 19th centuries. It served as a bridge between the Dutch Genever and the London Dry style of gin, being dryer than the former and sweeter than the latter. But during this time of unpalatable spirit production, Old Tom’s became a way of making spirits drinkable. By adding licorice or sugar to the distilled base, a whole new category of spirits entered the market.
While Old Toms dominated the gin scene for decades, by the 1950s, they were all but dead. Now, with the resurgence of gin around the world, Old Toms like GIN375 are making a comeback. However, we are more than confident to report that GIN375 tops our list of must-try specialty spirits.
Cirka is currently only available in Canada – throughout the regions of Québec, Alberta, and Nova Scotia, with plans to debut in Ontario in Spring 2018. And it’s certainly worth the trip. Cirka’s spirits are being used in a variety of bars throughout Montreal, where their classic cocktails are an inspiration to mixology everywhere.
Below is an example of just one of their many fanciful cocktails:
A classic ode to history and timeless sophistication.
1½ oz Cirka Gin Sauvage
¾ oz Thyme Syrup
1 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Preparation: Shake all ingredients together. Filter using a fine strainer and pour into a pre-chilled glass.
Garnish: Lemon zest wrapped around a thyme sprig.
Serving Glass: Martini or tall wine glass.
Whether tasting their premium flavorful Vodka, robust Gin or aromatic Whiskey, Cirka Distillery is redefining the caliber of craft spirits. We recommend exploring Montreal’s spirit scene by visiting Cirka Distillery along the Lachine Canal.