Devonshire Whisky Mixer
Northern Border Collection Release
Drake Devonshire, Prince Edward County
The love for whisky has remained constant and consistent over the decades and it is one of the fastest growing spirits in the world, next to vodka of course. Most countries brew some form of alcohol but whisky specifically from only a few countries and have now gained an appeal and appreciation in the international market, the Canadian collection being one of them.
Whisky was never my go-to liquor of choice at the liquor store until I met Alexa (@ajfernando) who instantly changed my opinion two years ago. We opened our first bottle of whisky together when she was in transition of moving into her now old apartment and since then, the rest is history. Our go-to drink of choice has always been a whisky neat or a classic old-fashioned. If we were to count the number of old-fashioned’s we’ve tried in the city, you’d probably think we’re alcoholics but for the industry we both work in, I guess it’s counted as “research”? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Early last week, I was invited to experience the exclusive launch of the limited edition Northern Border Collection rare release at the Drake Devonshire in Prince Edward County. The team at Canadian Craft Whisky and International assembled the finest, and rarest collection of Canadian whiskies to ever be bottled for us to try! We got the opportunity to take part in a formal whisky tasting led by Ross Hendry, the director of Canadian Craft Whisky and International along with other fun activities that took place throughout the day.
Making a trip out to Prince Edward County, specifically the Drake Devonshire has been on my bucket list for the past year. Having grown up in the west coast, I love being by the water at all times. The Drake Devonshire is situated right next to the lake. The property has a waterfront deck adjacent with a cozy lakeside fire pit along with a James Beard nominated restaurant. It’s no surprise that food excites me so I definitely walked in with excitement after having viewed their menus prior to arriving.
Upon arrival, we were greeted with welcome cocktails featuring whiskies from the Northern Border Collection along with passed hors d’oeuvres. My eyes however went straight to the fresh seafood station featuring lobster tails, crab legs and a selection of oysters to try! After cocktail hour ended, we were escorted to the Drake Devonshire Pavilion where we got to sit down with fellow friends in the industry from various restaurants in the city for a whisky tasting of a lifetime. It’s safe to say I stumbled a little walking out of that tasting but found the whisky that I loved most from the collection. J.P. Wiser’s 35 year old Canadian Whisky instantly won me over after the first sip. With tasting notes that include a basket full of fall fruits and a peppery spicy finish, this particular whisky was buttery and almost creamy on the palate making it easy to sip. Since the bottle costs an arm and a leg at the LCBO, this is definitely the bottle of whisky I’ll be bringing out on a special occasion or a Tuesday night.
We stumbled out of the tasting right into a whisky garden party where we got to create our own old fashioned cocktail (Alexa, Ash and I had lots of fun with this station!), get a mini spa treatment, roll a cigar (from scratch) and take a tour of the artwork around the property! In addition to the activities set up, we got to watch the chefs’ slow roast an entire lamb outdoors that we later devoured for dinner. Our dinner took place at the James Beard nominated restaurant at the hotel where we got to indulge in a five-course seated dinner featuring Asado slow-roasted lamb and rare wine parings by Norman Hardie, a local winery in the Prince Edward County.
Our evening ended with one too many whisky cocktails, one too many laughs and whole lot of unforgettable memories.
Highlights from Whisky Mixer
Five-Course Dinner Menu
Slow Roasted Heirloom Carrots
Asado Roasted Lamb
Peach Eton Mess