Shaken or stirred? Fraser Valley Distilling finds success with creative, localized spirits
A strawberry whiskey sour at Fraser Valley Distilling starts with fresh citrus juices and a barely-heavy bourbon made in-house.
The drink gets shaken with strawberry compote before being strained over a rocks glass with fresh ice. The drink is tart, sweet and slightly smoky with each ingredient having its own chance to shine.
With a menu full of thoughtful drinks and a large indoor and outdoor space, Grand County named Fraser Valley Distilling the best cocktail, the best bar and the best distillery, brewery or winery in this year’s Best of Grand awards.
Manager Jenna Young said it would be incredibly rewarding to sweep three categories this year. Well, in addition to securing the Triple Crown, the establishment has now been honored for having the best cocktail and the best bar two years in a row.
“To make a product and have people enjoy it in front of you is a very special thing,” Young said. “It’s all a team endeavor, including our amazing staff, who make it all happen.”
Since opening in 2018, the family-owned Fraser Valley Distilling has been a locals’ favorite, winning or placing in several Best of Grand categories each year.
All of the distillery’s spirits are made in a pot-still, which owner Barry Young said helps better control the liquors’ flavor profiles.
When thinking about creating cocktails at the distillery, Jenna Young focuses on balance. Additionally, each drink is made with the distillery’s spirits and handmade mixers and additives, such as the bar’s turmeric soda or espresso syrup made from local coffee.
“We have this goal in mind to have approachable spirits, so our gins aren’t super juniper forward,” she said. “We come at everything from good ingredients, like fresh, organic citrus and we juice daily.”
One of the best parts of the job, Young said, is getting to try new things and taste test various creations.
Last year, the distillery began offering prebottled cocktails to-go, which Young said was a huge hit and allowed her to get more creative with the offerings, such as the passion fruit cosmopolitan. This year, the distillery joined in on Oktoberfest by making a beer yeast whiskey to pair with brats and cheese.
“We experiment a lot here because we have too many ideas,” Young laughed.
Overall, whether it comes to the bar, the food or the atmosphere, Fraser Valley Distilling strives to create a space that is welcoming, accessible and thoughtful. Much of that is attributed to where and how the family-owned distillery began.
“There’s five of us in the family, and we all wanted to build somewhere that we’d want to hang out,” she said. “It matters to us that people come in and feel comfortable.”
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