by Catherine Dunwoody
Canada’s premier craft and micro-distillery festival, BC Distilled, showcased 27 BC-based artisan distilleries to nearly 500 fans of locally made gins, whiskies, liqueurs, vodkas and more this April.
Clearly the show-stealer was The Woods Spirit Co.’s homegrown Amaro. If you’re the cocktail-culture type, or familiar with this Italian herbal liqueur because it’s been around for centuries (respect!) – you’ll likely be aware that Amaro in Italian means ‘bitter’ and brands like Aperol, Campari and Fernet-Branca are a few well-known names.
Amari (that’s plural Amaro, folks) tend to be sipped straight up after dinner, soothing digestion with their balance of herbal, botanical, elixir-like properties. And in the land of classic cocktails? A Negroni would not be a Negroni, nor a Sprtiz a Spritz – without Amaro.
Joel Myers and Fabio Martini, co-owners of The Woods Spirit Co. tell us the secret to their Amaro recipe is found on Vancouver’s North Shore sourced Grand Fir needles they harvest themselves – it’s something you can find on a hike up the North Shore mountains. “We use the needles and stems… the tips don’t have the grapefruit, citrus essence that we are after,” they explain. Rest assured their Amaro won’t taste or smell like Pine-Sol, “we use a vacuum distillation process to extract only the desired essence leaving the pine-like notes behind,” says Myers. Need proof? Try this yourself sometime –
“run your hand down pine needles while still attached to a tree, then smell your hands. You should get a grapefruit-like fragrance,” he adds.
The guys forage for Grand Fir needles right in Fabio’s “backyard” (as they say) on Vancouver’s North Shore. “It’s so fulfilling to be able to walk out ones door and within seconds find or discover all that nature has to offer. We literally walk outside, harvest what we are looking for, and then within minutes back inside putting our vision to reality by getting them in our spirit to macerate.”
The Woods Spirit Co. Amaro is available locally at Legacy Liquor Store.