Big Red Visits Last Straw Distillery

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Big Red here. As you know, I am a lover of the finer things that life has to offer. My passion for fine dining is legendary, but when I am not sampling food & drink in York, Durham, and Headwaters, I am admiring the classic architecture. While strolling through Vaughan, I was struck by the rich architectural and cultural heritage. All I could think was: boy oh boy, these buildings have seen a lot. I mean they have lived through the era of bootleggers and speakeasies! Then I started thinking about moonshine. Then I started thinking about Last Straw Distillery, so I decided to head on over.

Last Straw is a micro-distillery, handcrafting unique spirits. Located just off Highway 400 and around the corner from Vaughan Mills, it makes an amazing stop on your day tripping adventures. I was really looking forward to sipping, tasting, and talking spirits with friends and Last Straw is the perfect place to do it. From the moment you step inside, you can really feel that they do what they love and, in turn, create a product that is easy to love.

Fermenter at Last Straw Distillery
Photo by: Last Straw Distillery

Before I started tasting, I wanted a tour to see firsthand how they create such wonderful spirits. Now, when they call themselves a micro-distillery that handcrafts unique spirits, the tour certainly revealed the validity of that statement. Two examples of the handcrafted nature of their work really jumped out at me. First, I saw their distiller Brandon hard at work mashing vodka by hand. Though his beard was not sun fire red like my beauty, I was still very impressed by his soup strainer….his beard. Second, in order to carbon filter the vodka, they MacGyvered a filter together using funnels, tubing, and other filtering elements. It was truly an impressive feat of DIY engineering!  If you want to see for yourself, the tours are always free and happen whenever the distillery is open. If you are a group of 5 or more, they do tours by appointment.

Four Bottles of Alcohal of Last Straw Distillery
Photo by: Last Straw Distillery

The next stop on the journey was the most important: tasting their creations in their distillery store. I tried three spirits from the menu: the gin, moonshine, and rum.  Their Gin Twenty-One is right in between a dry gin and an aromatic one. It was popular amongst my friends, the non-gin drinkers and aficionados alike.  Next up was their Darker Side of the Moonshine. It’s a classic moonshine, made from 100% Ontario corn. It had such a great colour and a great flavour. I mean anything that has flavours of caramel, butter cookie dough, icing sugar, and orchard fruits is right up my alley!

To end the tasting session, I was able to sample a rarity in the spirits world: a black strap molasses rum. It is truly unlike anything I’ve tried before. It’s prepared like a rum, but unaged. The blackstrap molasses gives it a sinfully dark and smooth flavour. It is even more unique considering that it is the first rum produced around Toronto since Gooderham & Worts closed in 1990!

Lables for Rum at Last Straw Distillery
Photo by: Last Straw Distillery

After the tour and the tasting, I wanted a chance to get my hands dirty and learn first-hand about how spirits are made. So I signed up for one of their distilling experiences and workshops. It is perfect for any occasion you can think of – from corporate team-building, conferences, birthdays, anniversaries, bachelor/bachelorette parties – needless to say, I will be booking for all of these aforementioned occasions so I can share the handmade care that goes into this spirits with friends, family, and colleagues. There is a gin and tonic waiting for me on my patio, so until next time, please drink responsibly and don’t worry, brew happy. Cheers!

Last Straw Distillery – Big Red Approved!


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