When Tracy and Jarret Stuart explored locations for their new life adventure, a hilltop farm in River John spoke to them in more ways than one. Seeking to enter the growing market for uniquely-crafted distilled spirits, the farm offered them ample space for organic crops, a new distillery and production facility, plus a panoramic site perfect for their new family home. Local history inspired their new company’s name: the Caldera was one of the largest ships ever built in River John, back when the village was known worldwide for their shipbuilding and agriculture. Caldera Distillery was born, and after aging in a unique mix of oak barrels from Kentucky, its first batch of liquid gold was hand-bottled last year.

What to name their new creation?
The farm told them.

Exploring the vintage barn on site they discovered a vertical support beam with the word ‘storm’ and a date inscribed in pencil. “We did some research and discovered it was a hurricane, but back before there was the naming system. So the storm was simply called the fifth hurricane of the season,” Tracy said. “Jarret and I looked at each other and said, that’s it.” Hurricane 5 was named and sent into the world this past year, where its rich blend soon had tastebuds tingling. Hurricane 5 in March won two bronze medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a silver medal this past summer in the United Kingdom. Now available in Nova Scotia, Alberta and New York City, with London on the horizon, Caldera’s new whisky is fuelling passions as well as filling glasses.

The ability to eventually grow, ferment and distill 100% estate grains is a dream come true for Tracy and Jarret. During her quest for the Olympic podium – she earned a bronze medal for Canada in women’s double rowing in Beijing – Tracy became savvy and fascinated by nutritional food production, and during a training break became a certified chef from the New York Natural Gourmet Institute. Distilling and marketing is the realm of Jarret, Alberta-born with a long family history in distilling, and a leading expert in solar energy before leaving his job in Toronto to return ‘home’ with Tracy and embark on their new adventure. He has since earned the designation of master distiller and is proud of how Hurricane 5 has drawn from traditional grains and farming practices to connect with whisky lovers locally and beyond. Their belated Christmas present this year will be two new stills from Scotland, due to arrive and be installed in early 2017 – there was a three-year plus wait list when they placed their order in 2013. Another new arrival is also expected next year: Cambrai, Caldera’s own line of rum. “We’re using unrefined sugar cane from Colombia rather than molasses,” Tracy says. “The health benefits are amazing and the taste is phenomenal.”

The rich smooth flavours of Caldera whisky – described as light amber, with aromas of caramel, honey, and the spices found in Christmas cookies – can be enjoyed on their own or dressed up a little for the holiday season. Here are some ways to enjoy your Hurricane 5 to the fullest.

At-Home-On-The-North-Shore-Winter-2016-9

Hot Toddy

Ingredients:

  • Boiling water
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 lemon twist
  • 2 tsp of Demerara sugar or brown sugar
  • ¼ oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. Caldera Hurricane 5 whisky

How to make:
Fill a mug with boiling water and let stand for a minute or two to warm.
Meanwhile, stick the cloves into the lemon twist and set aside.
Empty the mug and fill about halfway with fresh boiling water.
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
Add the prepared lemon twist and stir. Add the lemon juice and whisky, and stir again. Serve and sip.

 

 

At-Home-On-The-North-Shore-Winter-2016-16

Old-Fashioned

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Caldera Hurricane 5 whisky
  • ½ tsp white sugar
  • three dashes Angostura bitters
  • ¼ oz. cold water

How to make:
Add all ingredients to mixing glass. Muddle to break down the sugar and stir briefly. Add ice and stir again, then strain into rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Twist slices of lemon and orange peel over the drink and drop them in. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Winter Peppermint

Ingredients:

  • ½ oz. Caldera Hurricane 5 whisky
  • 4 oz. hot chocolate or coffee, your preference
  • Fresh whipped cream
  • Crushed candy canes
  • 1 fresh mint leaf

How to make:
Pour the whisky and hot chocolate or coffee into a coffee mug and stir. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and crushed candy cane. Garnish with mint leaf.

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Jennifer Hatt
Jennifer Hatt lives and writes in New Glasgow, with occasional dashes to her cottage in Pictou when cravings for quiet mornings and fresh rhubarb can no longer be ignored. She shares daily schedules, joy and well-chosen words with three musical children and a sweet fuzzy geriatric cat. When opportunities arise for engaging conversation – like in this month’s profile of Susan Weeks – she is there with pen and teacup in hand.