What happens when you set up shop on a tidal river? You get to use a name that reflects both the area (highest and lowest tides in the world) and the storage containers (barrels). Barrelling Tide Distillery rests in the village of Port Williams, on the north bank of the Cornwallis River, a tidal river that is an offshoot of the Minas Basin and its larger body of water, the Bay of Fundy.
Although Barrelling Tide produces a variety of spirits, like rum, vodka and gin, it offers a long list of mostly fruit-based liqueurs, some only available at certain times of the year (the rhubarb gin and liqueur are for sale only during the summer, while quantities last).
A dedicated craft distillery, there is no on-premises restaurant, such as other brewers, distillers and wineries may have, but here you can watch the tides rise as much as 30 feet. about 9 metres, approximately every 12 hours. Gift packs and boxes, as well as swag like T-shirts, hoodies, ball caps and branded glassware are on hand for purchase.
Barrelling Tide Distillery’s product list is long, so here is a grouped selection of what is on offer:
- Fruit liqueurs: Arctic kiwi, black currant, blueberry, cranberry, haskap, raspberry
- Coffee liqueur
- 5 Fathom Dark Rum, a genuine Nova Scotia pirate-style rum made with Crosby’s molasses
- Tidal Rum, a strong-tasting rum made from fermented molasses
- Tide Vodka (also be sure to try the unique flavour of Barrelling Tide’s Chili Pepper Vodka), a smooth-drinking vodka that doesn’t have the metallic aftertaste that some mass-distilled vodkas leave in your mouth
- Tide Gin, fashioned with 16 botanicals and with a heady effect that is tamed with a siphon of tonic water and makes for the perfect “G&T with lemon” (also for the best classic martini!)
Port Williams is easily accessible from the main Highway 101 (take exit 11 and go north), and is about an hour northwest of Halifax. It’s become a hub of breweries (Sea Level Brewing and Wayfarer’s Ale Society) and distilleries, like Barrelling Tide, as well as wineries, namely Planters Ridge, and is in the heartland of Nova Scotia wine country. To complement your distillery tour, and only an hour in either direction along Highway 101, you’ll find Compass Distillers in Halifax and Still Fired Distillery in Annapolis Royal.
There are two fantastic restaurants in Port Williams, The Port Pub (delicious lobster poutine!), and The Noodle Guy, pasta at its absolute best. Nearby, the Old Orchard Inn is a short taxi ride if you want to try all of spirited offerings and get back to your hotel safely. Stop in at Eau Spa for a massage, or relax in the dining room with a wide view of Cape Blomidon.
Image Credit: https://barrellingtidedistillery.com/