Cheers to summer

From field to fork, or in this case cask, John and Barb Cote transform ingredients they grow on their Saskatoon area farm into gins and liqueurs. This year, their Black Fox spirits became the first Canadian distillery to win the world’s best cask gin award from the World Gin Awards in the United Kingdom.

Cask or oaked gin is aged in barrels and although traditional, it may not be familiar to most people. John’s favourite way to enjoy it is on ice, but he suggests that if you like the bitter sweet flavor of a Negroni (equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth) or a Martini, using oaked gin works well.

The Cotes sold their grain farm in 2010 and purchased land and planted an orchard and flowers and constructed a distillery.

They grow as many ingredients as possible on their farm and seek alternatives for things they can’t grow that are essential for gin making.

Ingredients such as triticale, wheat and rye find their way into their bottles as well as raspberries and haskaps from their orchard.

They also harvest calendula for gin and use their honey, rhubarb, pumpkin flowers and cucumbers in other recipes.

This year, they planted cucumbers for a cucumber gin and are also working on whisky, which needs to be aged a minimum of three years.

Honey Gimlet

  • 1 oz. Black Fox Gin No. 3 30 mL
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice 15 mL
  • 1/2 oz. honey syrup 15 mL

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain neat into a chilled glass.
Garnish with a lime wheel and serve immediately.

Note: To make honey syrup, combine equal parts honey and water and bring to a boil. John suggests combining the lime and the honey syrup and freezing it. Source: Black Fox Farm and Distillery

A Stone’s Throw

  • 1.5 oz. Black Fox Gin No. 3 45 mL
  • 0.5 oz. Cocchi Americano 15 mL
  • 0.5 oz. dry vermouth (Noilly Pratt) 15 mL
  • 0.25 oz. apricot brandy 7.5 mL
  • Barspoon honey syrup 5 mL
  • 2 dashes Bittered Sling Clingstone Peach Bitters
  • garnish lemon zest on top

Add the first six ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain neat into a chilled glass.
Top with lemon zest, then serve. Source: Ian Miller of Ayden Kitchen and Bar, Saskatoon.

Gin Cherry Sour

  • 1.5 oz. Black Fox No. 3 Gin 45 mL
  • 0.5 oz. Black Fox Sour Cherry Liqueur 15 mL
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon Juice 30 mL
  • 1 oz. simple syrup 30 mL
  • 1 oz. egg whites 30 mL

Make simple syrup by boiling equal parts sugar and water. Cool to room temperature. Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker and dry shake (no ice). Add ice to cocktail shaker and shake again. Strain neat into a chilled coupette cocktail glass. Garnish with a sour cherry. Source: Brennan Elliott, Flint Saloon, Saskatoon

Prairie Gin Fizz

  • 1.5 oz. Black Fox Gin No. 3 45 mL
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 c. sea buckthorn berries
  • 2 medium stalks of rhubarb
  • 1 c. local honey mL
  • 1 c. water mL
  • Ms. Better Bitters Orange
  • Tree to taste
  • carbonated water (optional)

Cut rhubarb into coins. Combine one cup of water and one cup of honey in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer and stir often until a consistent, clear liquid forms. Set aside to cool.
Add rhubarb and sea buckthorn berries to honey syrup, simmer until rhubarb becomes translucent. Strain fruit from syrup and reserve for later. Add fruit to blender and pulse on high until smooth.
Use cheesecloth or a fine strainer to remove any seeds or pulp.
In your cocktail mixer, add gin, egg white, two ounces of fruit puree and one ounce of honey syrup. Shake vigorously until egg whites are frothy.
Add ice to shaker and shake again to chill. Strain your cocktail into a glass filled with ice. Add Orange Tree bitters to taste. If desired, slowly add carbonated water to taste. Source: The Backyard Project, Regina

Red Fox Lemonade

  • 1.5 oz. Black Fox Gin No. 3 45 mL
  • 0.5 oz. Black Fox Raspberry Liqueur 15 mL
  • 0.5 oz. lemon juice 15 mL
  • 0.75 oz. honey syrup 20 mL

Make honey syrup by mixing equal parts honey and water over heat. Cool to room temperature.
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a glass over rocks. Top with a splash of ginger ale. Source: Chad Coombs

Dorothy Long is a home economist in the agrifood trade and former greenhouse grower from Lloydminster, Sask. She writes a blog at Contact:

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