Check this under our Miami wishlist for 2017. Spirited Miami had the opportunity to explore the city of Montreal for a weekend. We love Montreal for their music, cocktails and of course poutine. Little did we know, that we would end up in the outskirts of the city in a small warehouse district where we found something awesome. What we found was Cirka Distilleries.
“Craft is about care, not your size.” -Paul Cirka
As our taxi drives up to the warehouse in the early morning, we are surrounded by an abandoned warehouse on one side and a brick warehouse on the other. There are no signs, no cars, not even a human on the street. We check on one door, and see some movement on the inside. We are greeted by a tall gentleman by the name of Paul Cirka. As we enter, the concrete floor is polished and there is a long, piece of wood that is the bar. We get that warm, fuzzy feeling like we just found a treasure.
Paul Cirka isn’t your regular distiller, he is actually a landscape architect by trade. As luck would have it, a computer design startup came calling in Montreal and he followed. At this time in his life, his big interests in spirits was being a connoisseur of whisky. Eventually, Paul made spirits his full time job and opened up Cirka Distilleries.
Cirka Distilleries is Québec’s first grain-to-bottle distillery. What started off primarily as as whisky distillery evolved into something more. Now, Paul Cirka works very closely with foragers in and around Québec to search for local ingredients to create something special. Right now, Cirka is creating a vodka and a gin. We had an opportunity to try both and they were both equally stunning, fresh and clean. The spirits are a local expression of Québec’s terroir which is where the grains, water and botanicals are sourced. At the moment, there is one forager they work with who shows up with local ingredients to create these stunning liquids. They are also working with a botanist as well who actually lives in the forest.
The Vodka Terroir is a local expression with water filtered in-house with maple leaves. It is also made with non-GMO corn grown in Québec. Distillation is done in a 24-foot vodka column which helps keep the flavors and texture. A great vodka in a cocktail or on the rocks.
The Gin Sauvage is a classic London Dry Gin with expressions from Québec’s boréal forest with over 30 botanicals, which come to balance in the liquid. Cirka starts with their own spirit base, distilled in a customized pot still using a specialized botanical basket to infuse the liquid.
Pay them a visit a real soon if you’re ever in Montreal. Hopefully we can start seeing Cirka Distilleries in Florida real soon!