School Spirits

The Teaching Distillery is proud to introduce School Spirits, small batch distilled spirits produced by students of the Artisan Distilling program at Niagara College.

Our spirits are available in limited quantities and sold exclusively at the Wine Visitor + Education Centre.

Small Batch Gin

Small Batch Gin

School Spirits Small Batch Gin made its debut on May 11, 2019. The gin is a culmination of eight months of experiential learning for Niagara College’s class of 16 Artisan Distilling students, who recently completed the program and will be Canada’s first graduates to earn this postsecondary credential when they cross the convocation stage in June.

“The goal was to create a gin that walks the line between a classic gin and the new wave of gins being released in Ontario,” said NC’s head distiller David Dickson. “We have used an interesting assortment of botanicals but kept the proportion of juniper relatively high, which will allow our gin to be used in a wide range of classic cocktails while leaving room for creativity.”

Learning to make gin was an important experience for the students. Dickson noted that it is not only a primary focus of production at some distilleries, but many craft distilleries are creating gin – which can be produced quickly – to bring in revenue while producing other spirits that require barrel aging. The spirit is also experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

Read more here.

Small Batch Vodka

Student picks up jug of small batch vodka

Canada’s first class of Artisan Distilling students have achieved a new milestone with completion of Niagara College Teaching Distillery’s first vodka.

After more than a month in the making, School Spirits Small Batch Vodka made its debut on March 28, 2019. It is the second product from the class of 16 students who began their studies in September 2018, following the release of an Eau-de-vie de Fruits in mid-January.

“Vodka was the next logical step for our Artisan Distilling students because it is a staple at many craft distilleries,” said NC’s head distiller David Dickson. “It’s very labour intensive to produce vodka at our Teaching Distillery, with our equipment designed for small batches, and navigating this manual process takes both knowledge and finesse.”

Read more here.

Eau de Vie de Fruits (Fruit Spirit)

Eau de Vie was the first spirit released by the Niagara College Teaching Distillery and the first distilled product made by students in Canada.

Bottle of Eau de Vie

The Eau de Vie was made from Gamay Noir wine, crafted by Niagara College Teaching Winery, and has a strong connection to the region in which it is produced. The students in the Artisan Distilling Program performed all the distillation, proofing and bottling steps in the production of this spirit.

By using three different methods – single, double and triple distillation – it provided not only a unique learning experience, but also the distinctive character which has been blended into each bottle. The single distillation method provided grape-forward flavours, featuring dried fruit with raspberries. The double distillation method provided the bulk of the spirit. This method, typical of brandy distillation, created a smooth, balanced spirit with a lingering cherry note. Triple distillation of the spirit produced a bright, clean and complex aroma with interesting characteristics, including floral, and even a hint of mint in the background.