Sip Your Way Through Niagara’s Most Spirited Wine Region
World-class wines and creative craft brews aren’t the only tasty tipples that call Niagara home. Niagara Benchlands is home to a very spirited cocktail culture thanks to distinguished distilleries, a diverse selection of farm-to-table mix-ins, passionate mixologists, and restaurants with a keen eye for today’s trends. Get a taste of what’s being shaken and stirred in Niagara Benchlands this fall.
Niagara Benchlands Distilleries
Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers has been allowing the ingredients they use and the spirits they make to speak for themselves since 2012. In addition to the distillery’s extensive line of spirits, which includes gin, rye, vodka and small-batch offerings like flavoured schnapps and brandy, Dillon’s produces delicious ready-to-drink canned and bottled cocktails, including Negronis, Manhattans and a Honeycomb Old Fashioned. Tastings and tours are available onsite, as well as a roster of special events and experiences, including Craft Your Gin workshops, vendor markets, and more.
Tucked beneath the lower slopes of the Niagara Escarpment, Tawse Wine and Spirits produces spirit standards, including vodka, gin, and Canadian whisky, as well as interesting cocktail add-ins like vermouth and a wide range of bitters. Grappa fans will love their Riesling and Gewürztraminer La Pressaturas served as an after-dinner digestive or stirred into an espresso.
Niagara Benchlands Mixers
While any good cocktail starts with great spirits, the additional ingredients that get mixed in is where things start to really get interesting! With acres of orchards, vineyards and a wide assortment of food and beverage producers, Niagara Benchlands is a treasure trove of inspiration for cocktail lovers looking for their next creative add-in. Interesting options include:
Cherry Lane’s Tart Cherry Concentrate
Cherry’s Lane’s Tart Cherry Juice has developed a cult-like following thanks to its many health benefits, but it makes a delicious cocktail ingredient as well. Just two tablespoons is equivalent to approximately 140 cherries! If that’s a little too potent, try the Cherrylane Sparkling Water.
Creative Craft Brews and Seltzers
While excellent enjoyed on their own, the creative craft brews and seltzers made by Bench Brewing Company and Newark Brewing Company offer great options for marvellous Micheladas, refreshing shandies, or a Benchlands Black Velvet, made with stout and sparkling wine.
Fresh Apple Cider
Fall calls for cozy cocktails made with fresh apple cider! With plenty of markets and farmstands to shop from find the season’s best apples in the Niagara Benchlands making fresh homemade cider or picking up a ready-made carton to start mixing into your favourite festive cocktails. Hop on the CultivATE Taste Trail for an express route to the region’s very best farms, markets, and pick-your-own orchards.
Interesting Fruit Juices
Browse the coolers at RPM Bakehouse in Jordan Village, and you’re sure to find some delightful cocktail ingredient surprises. The bakery carries a variety of products that reflect Niagara’s growing season.
Speaking of sparkling wine as a cocktail ingredient, Niagara Benchlands bubbles over with options for sensational sparklers to add to your next French 75, Mimosa, Bellini, or spritz! Wineries with strong sparking portfolios include Kew Vineyards, Vineland Estates Winery, Malivoire Wine Company, Cave Spring Vineyard and Vieni.
Can’t-Miss Cocktail Stops
If you’d rather have someone else do the cocktail crafting on your behalf, Niagara Benchlands has you covered in that department too. Restaurants and wineries with can’t-miss cocktails include Honsberger Estate Winery’s Farmer’s Caesar, Megalomaniac’s Signature Bellini, and Jordan House Tavern’s Sangria.
Another fun way to source a cocktail during your Niagara Benchlands stay is to follow The Mobile Mixer. This vintage Airstream trailer regularly pops up at the region’s best events to pour delicious cocktails on the spot.
Sip Niagara returns to Charles Daley Park for its third year on September 30th and October 1st with the world’s largest Caesar bar as well as offerings from over 60 local wineries, distilleries and craft beer and cider producers.