Author Archives: Travis Oke

About Travis Oke

Wine writer / consultant

Moonshine

How interesting that  the week after I get back from my first visit to Tennessee – the moonshine mecca of the world – I find a distillery open in my home town!  [maybe I’ll let you be the judge of how interesting that is – read on]

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The people at Dixon’s Distillery have been building and distilling for over a year and just opened up their doors to help with public consumption this August. I didn’t even know Guelph needed a craft distillery until we got one. Thanks to mayor Cam Guthrie for ending prohibition so early in his term.

As one who dabbles in his own dark magic – converting cheap American vodka into premium gin – I am always keen to chat it up with fellow elixir makers and sample their potions – so i had a great time with co-owner Vicki Dixon, chatting up the finer points of distilling. Finer points like how to put some of that into my glass so that i can taste it.

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White lightning, vodka, and gin is what they make from locally sourced grains and water.  Finally a healthy use for water.  They even age some of the moonshine with an oak spiral in the bottle to give it a bourbon character.

I have the unaged moonshine in my freezer right now because I like drinking it cold.  I really like that i can taste the grains through the alcohol – more so than any spirit I’ve had before. Straight up it makes a fine martini.

You can pick up a bottle of your own for under $40 at the distillery. It’s worth a visit and a much shorter drive than to Tennessee.


Elvis and Me

Memphis TN

August 2015

Elvis Week

Yes – Elvis week

When it’s 100 degrees in the south in ‘Merica your typical wine blogger drinks two things.  Beer and Bourbon. Together.  Cheap cold beer [Yuengling Lager] and Tennessee whisky to be accurate on the balcony overlooking WC Handy Park, 10 feet off of Beale. I can hear several of you saying “Ah, that’s what Marc Cohn was singing”.  The sweet harmonica sounds of Mr. Vince Johnson and the Plantation Allstars filled the air.

Also, I might have dressed up as Elvis with my daughter M and literally walked Beale St.

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Thank you very much


El Niño

What did you do during the hailstorm this weekend?

I paired the apocalyptic storm with a vibrant Cava – Juvé Y Camps Cinta Púrpura Reserva 2011.  It’s citrusy, light, and full of bubbles [which a good cava is].  I put some hailstones in it to bring it down a degree in temperature – actually just because it was freakin’ cool to do.

This is my second attempt to get the Weather Network to pay attention to pairing wine and weather. I first tried with Tornado Watch in 2011.  I guess they’re only interested in Storm Chasers, Global Warming, and Force of Nature highlights.  I think they’re missing out on the next ” blue ocean” – and i’m here to help.

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JUVÉ & CAMPS CINTA PURPURA RESERVA BRUT CAVA 2011
VINTAGES 352864 $18.95


Aboriginal Wine

Recently I spent 1 week on Vancouver Island with my daughter.  Beautiful.  Honestly considered not coming back and sending for the rest of the family to pack up and join us there instead.  Did you know they can grow fig trees on the island?  For some reason that excited me.

Also, what excited me was when M found us a bottle of Nk’Mip wines – Canada’s first Aboriginal owned and operated cellar.  We drank the Dreamcatcher – a blend of Riesling and Chenin Blanc. It was dry, crisp, with lemon and melon notes, and just a touch of sweetness at the end from the ripe fruits. I’ve never had an Aboriginal wine before – and if you think of it, who knows how to work the land this country better? The Okanagan people have been growing crops here for centuries.  The wine was beautiful – like the Island. Seriously, look a this photo and for the love of sweet baby bacchus somebody tell me why i didn’t send for the rest of the family and just stay there.

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Nk’Mip Dreamcatcher

Home base on Van Isle

Home base on Van Isle

 

Fig trees! Told yaIMG_1392

 


Decision Time

This summer I plan to make no decisions – and to renew that vow daily.  So I’ll let others make them for me – lessening the weight of responsibility that i might otherwise feel when it’s summertime and the living’s supposed to be easy.

Decisions like which wine to open.

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Fortunately I prepare for such life altering occasions by keeping a light red, and full-bodied rosé [or rosado in this case] and a crisp white in the fridge. So that when the wife gets home [don’t worry “Mad Max fans”  I asked her permission to call her “the wife” this one time so don’t go all Furiosa on me] she has an easy choice. Because really it’s a win-win-win decision [and no M I don’t mean open all three].

She chose.

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And she wins.

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The Red … Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais $11 on sale—LCBO#: 212480   |   Light, berries, cherry, easy drinking … please serve chilled.

The Pink … Muga Rose $14 —VINTAGES#: 603795   |   Seriously, i get zero kickback from the people at Muga … i just love this wine so much and it’s a better choice than those suckers who are drinking water.

The White …Marques de Riscal White, Rueda  $12 —LCBO#: 36822   |   Crisp, acidic, medium body, I say it tastes like rhubard, my wife says Lychee – I admit lychee sounds far cooler.


Logos

This a blog post about logos – specifically the great logos in Guelph. My apologies to all the hermeneutics and theology readers that regularly pad my blog stats – but this is not a  post about “the word” – believe me you don’t want that from a man with half a theology degree – which I’ve.

Recently i read a beer blog post about great beer logos and Wellington Brewery came out as one of the top in Ontario.  It started me thinking … what are my best logos in the city of Guelph.  Here are my top 5 from breweries and restaurants / pubs.

Number 5

Carden

39 Carden Street. I love the Partridge Family retro feel of this simple unidentifiable bird that might be a mallard

 

Number 4

stonehammer

Stone Hammer – my daughter M loves their dark ale. I love that it looks like Thor might be the brewmaster.

Number 3

Royal City Brewing Co. Yes, I wish they had used the purple and gold of the Rogie Vachon LA Kings, but silver and black are also wicked cool

Royal City Brewing Co. Yes, I wish they had used the purple and gold of the Rogie Vachon LA Kings, but silver and black are also wicked cool.

Number 2 

[anyone else over the age of 12 laughing that i just published the words number 2?]

Wellington Brewery. So good that my brother-in-spain wears his Welly t-shirt fishing in the Mediterranean

Wellington Brewery. My brother-in-spain wears his Welly t-shirt fishing in the Mediterranean. For my $$ the Arkell Best Bitter is the best drink in the province.

Number 1

Baker Street Station. Simple and awesome. Well done creative logo people. Also the home of great pub fare.

Baker Street Station. Simple and awesome. Well done creative logo people – i always think i’m getting onto The Tube and end up with a beer!

Agree or disagree?  I don’t really care to hear from you unless you agree – but the comment section is open for business.


Survival Pack

Camping is not really a family activity for my family.  I’m often reminded that my wife’s idea of camping is a nice Bed and Breakfast, but truthfully she prefers a 4-star hotel when camping.

So when my daughter M and I decided to plant our micro-farm this long weekend [really it’s just a tiny garden] i thought that since we were going to be outdoors all day a survival pack might be helpful.  Truthfully i’m a lot more “outdoorsy” than i’m letting on but let me run with this okay.

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The Muskoka Brewery survival pack comes with 8 cans of four different Muskoka summer products – the dry hopped Detour IPA, Summerweiss – a sessionable wheat beer, Cream Ale – their signature ale, and Craft Lager – quaffable with a surprisingly flavourful finish.

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See how they fit in so well with my suburban wilderness [I know, they’re seedlings on a table in my backyard].

So some gardening, sorry microfarming, with my daughter, some drinking of the survival beers, and a couple hours in the sun later we were both hydrated [at least], satisfied because our hands were dirty, and feeling pretty smug [we both do that well] about the entire thing.

IMG_0463The Muskoka Survival pack is available at the LCBO and the Beer Store starting this weekend.


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