Cowichan’s unique microclimate allows our terrain to produce everything from apples, berries, grapes, hops and wheat. From a vibrant bottle of Pinot Noir to complex spirits full of local botanicals, there’s something grown, distilled or fermented in Cowichan to pair perfectly with that special someone on your shopping list.
Mixologist Starter Kit
For the budding mixologist on your list you’ll want to pick up a copy of ‘The Five Bottle Bar’ by Jessica Schacht at Volume One Bookstore in Duncan. Schacht is one of the owners of Ampersand Distilling Company, so she knows her spirits!
Then scoot over to Pots + Paraphernalia and choose a set of tumblers or glasses from their beautiful selection of dish wear. Find more local ingredients from the Great Greens Farm Market, like specialty soda syrups from Organic Fair that will take cocktails at home to the next level. Finally, while you’re shopping in Duncan with spirits in mind, pop into the Old Firehouse Wine and Cocktail Bar for lunch and a little extra gift-giving inspiration.
Spirit of the Season
Local spirits will elevate the flavours of cocktails this holiday season. Stillhead Distilling’s Wild Blackberry Gin and Vodka is the perfect gift for the creative mixologist. Or for a pure-tasting spirit, Ampersand Distilling’s Per Se Vodka is made from their own on-site spring water. Hint: look for Ampersand at the Duncan Farmers Makes and pick up even more local flavours.
For the spirit lover who loves new flavours, pick up Merridale’s brand new Aura Gin. With a balance of juniper and floral notes, the awe-inspiring violet colour is produced from a combination of lavender, hibiscus and Thai butterfly flowers and transforms from deep violet to beautiful pink as the PH changes.
With five breweries in Cowichan, there’s an almost endless selection of unique and tasty craft beer. This spring Bayview Brewing in Ladysmith made its debut on the Cowichan beer scene. Their newest beer, the Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Sour, is available in flights, pints and growlers!
Or get creative and build your beer-lover a Cowichan-style craft beer advent calendar. Mix and match a selection from Red Arrow Brewing, Small Block Brewery and Riot Brewing and add a fresh growler or gift certificate from Craig Street Brew Pub!
Off the Vine
Explore the unique flavours of Cowichan wines, starting at Damali Winery in Cobble Hill. Known for their wine and lavender farm, try a bottle of their lavender-infused white wines like the Rhubé Lavande. For the red wine drinker, pick up a bottle of the Marechal- Cabernet Foch from Emendare Vineyard; this blend is full of rich, fruity flavours and notes of cracked pepper.
And, of course, you’ll need a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the holiday season. Charme de l’île is Vancouver Island’s unique take on sparkling wine, and three of our Cowichan wineries produce their own Charme de l’île. Find it at Averill Creek Vineyard, Unsworth Vineyard and Enrico Winery.
On the sweeter side, experience BC’s oldest craft cidery, Merridale Cider, in Cobble Hill. Along with their roster of traditionally crafted ciders, you’ll want to gift a bottle of their seasonal Yule Fuel. Or better yet, treat your loved ones to Christmas at the Farm, with festive dinners, lunches and gatherings from November 18 – January 1.
Valley Cider produces a many exciting, complex, and sometimes cheeky ciders. Infused with everything from hops to rose petals — these concoctions are perfect for the creative cider drinker. For those who love trying new tastes, Affinity Ciderhouse is Cowichan’s newest cidery, making their cider from wild apples. Their tasting room is closed for the season, however you can still order online!
We’re excited to include this article as part of our Holiday Gift Guide! For more gifting inspiration, check out our full Holiday Gift Guide here.
Shop & Stay
Coming to Cowichan to do your shopping? Make a weekend out of it!
There are so many amazing things to see and do locally this holiday season making it easy to shop, stay, and play over the course of a few days.
Visit the Where To Stay page for ideas and information.