similar profile. The Ampersand Per Se Vodka became avail- able a year after the gin and, in fact, showcases the column still’s ability to produce the purest of spirits. The vodka’s base comes from 100% organic British Columbia-grown wheat that Ampersand mills, ferments and distills, then blends with their own spring water. It’s an unfiltered vodka with no carbon treatment, giving it a full-bodied texture, perfect for cocktails. Schacht points out that whiskey drinkers are fond of their vodka, as it stands alone as a great sipping spirit. “We try to embody this notion of bringing things together.” Ampersand’s use of organic ingredients and wild-harvest- ed botanicals runs deep into the distillery’s philosophical commitment to local and top-quality components. The distillery itself is located on Vancouver Island in the Cowichan Valley on a 5- acre organic vegetable farm. So it was important for them to use organic ingredients from local farmers. “As a craft distillery, we make our own alcohol from scratch from 100% raw BC agricultural goods. For example, the organic ingredients and BC wheat we use have a nice taste to it. Very neutral with a bit of sweetness to it.” The distillery keeps the sustainability cycle going by returning some by-products back to the farmers for their

come together Per Se is the name of our vodka, which is just the spirit by itself.”

product. The idea to produce gin and vodka, rather than whiskeys and ‘“brown” spirits came directly from Jessica and Jeremy’s love of classic cocktails, and gin in particular. As consumers and enthusiasts, the couple found that gin worked well in a range of cocktails. Their initial idea was to put their own twist on a classic. That ‘twist’ included using local organic ingredients and only the finest botanicals. “In starting out, it was really important to us that our gin be really well balanced, maintaining that classic profile with a bit of a twist.” She stresses that the process is important, but the ingredients make the difference. “We’ve got juni- per-forward, fresh lemon peels for the citrus element, the coriander, adding to the classic flavour, and then we add spices like cardamom, and we round things out with some earthier botanicals. Then we blend it all with our own spring water. What that does is produces a gin that has a top, a middle and a base note that is well-balanced for cocktails, but can also stand on its own.”

Ampersand’s Per Se Vodka was more-or- less born from the success of their gin.

Customers were so impressed by the crisp, clean nature of their gin that requests staring rolling in for a vodka with a

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