What does 300 years of traditional distilling do to you? It makes you still distill… For three centuries Thomas Steinhart’s ancestors in rural Germany produced spirits from grains and botanicals grown on their farm. Steinhart learned his craft from the ground up, stoking the fires beneath the stills while his grandfather prepared the mash carefully by hand. The education paid off: Steinhart Distillery won the prestigious award “Best Classic Gin in the World” at the 2019 World Gin Awards in London, England.

In fact, Steinhart Distillery, located in Arisaig, just outside Antigonish, Nova Scotia, is one of the very few North American distillers of gin that have been accepted into the London Gin Guild, enabling them to call their gin “London Dry”.

Located near the north shore of Nova Scotia, the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast of the province, Steinhart Distillers, and Antignosh itself, are nestled into rolling hills, near excellent beaches, and not too far from Caribou Point, where a ferry service takes visitors to bucolic Prince Edward Island. Antigonish, a pretty town with unique shops and excellent dining, is home to St. Francis Xavier University and Peace by Chocolate; this is a superb chocolates factory started a few years ago by a Syrian refugee family (with the help of townsfolk sponsors) that has grown to employ many locals. It’s a success story and very much worth a visit.

Steinhart Distillery, unlike many of its friendly competitors (they’re a family of distilleries in Nova Scotia) charges premium prices (often $50 for a 750ml bottle), but they produce premium spirits, so the value is inherent. Steinhart has stayed away from rum (Halifax Distilling Company and Ironworks Distillery (Lunenburg), plus others, have that category covered), nor do they venture into whisky, the domain of Glenora Distillers on Cape Breton Island. Try these exceptional Steinhart gins and vodkas:

  • Organic Vodka
  • Maple Vodka, an original, infused with real maple syrup, a Canadian classic
  • Habanero Vodka, organic and spicy, somewhat cloudy thank to the oils emitted by the hot peppers used to flavour it
  • Coffee Maple Vodka (need we say more?)
  • Haskap Vodka, made from those awesome antioxidant berries
  • Strawberry Vodka
  • Classic Gin with citrus, floral and anise overtones in a juniper berry essence
  • Rhubarb Gin
  • Wild Blueberry Gin (Nova Scotia is blueberry central, so this is big time local!)

The distillery is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the off-season, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from late May to October. It offers tours and tastings, plus you can shop retail (also available on line and shipped within Canada). All of Steinhart Distillery’s spirits are made one batch at a time and contain no artificial flavours or chemicals. They feature locally grown fruits and botanicals, and area-grown winter wheat grain. This is premium premium! Salut!

Photo Credit: https://www.steinhartdistillery.com