Spruce tips like the ones collected for Fernie Distillers’ forager spruce tip gin. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Spruce tips like the ones collected for Fernie Distillers’ forager spruce tip gin. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Spring spruce tips harvested for seasonal gin

Fernie Distillers collect flavours from the land around Fernie for their seasonal offerings

It’s spring, so that means there’s a lot of fresh growth out in the forest, and time for the Fernie Distillers to get out there for some spruce tips for a new batch of their award-winning spruce tip gin.

Wandering through Montane lands, head distiller at Fernie Distillers, Jillian Rutherford was collecting spruce tips for the coming batch last week.

The spruce tips just sprouted retain oils that Rutherford distills for the gin, which like the spruce tips themselves, is a seasonal offering.

“First the macerate overnight in the still, and then are distiller with the juniper and other botanicals,” said Rutherford.

“What results is a drier, more spicy gin with more forward forest flavours.”

Rutherford collected three small bags worth of spruce tips from the Coal Creek area with the permission of the landowners.

The seasonal spruce tip gin won gold last year in the Canadian Artisan Spirit competition, and was sold as a limited run.

This year, Rutherford expects to make a larger batch of the gin, to go on sale in a few weeks.

READ MORE: Thanks for the (spruce) tip: Fernie Distillers donate to CCHS



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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