Bartending Sober – Day 8

Thanksgiving weekend with good food, fun friends, and Lagavulin 16.

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You don’t have to read this blog in chronological order, but it helps to read my Sober October rules for context.

Canadian Thanksgiving is one of the last notable holiday Mondays of the year. It seems Ontario in particular has a long weekend almost every month. I’m privileged enough to have a lot of Statutory holidays. (One of the many, many things I’m thankful for.) It’s easy in this sense to get lazy, let loose, and throw any rules out the window.

I went through three different social events over the course of the long weekend, and only very slightly broke the rules.

Saturday felt like a long day due to an orientation I had to attend for a new job. Can’t really talk about it yet, since it’s a new place that’s about to open. All I can say is that I’m very excited to be working here. The orientation was an opportunity for us to all meet the management team, get to know them better, and take care of any last minute paperwork.

After the orientation I stopped by the liquor store near Wellesley station. I shouldn’t be doing this at all since it’s Sober October. It’s a weird habit, going to the liquor store, mostly because I don’t go with the intention of buying anything. Different liquor store locations in Toronto will have vastly different stock. I like to stop in just to see what’s currently on the market. I always frequent specific sections: gin, Canadian whisky, scotch and craft beer. Often I find limited editions of Innis and Gunn, seasonal offerings from Beau’s or Collective Arts, other limited runs of single malts and Canadian whisky, and imported gins that barely sit on the shelf before it’s snatched up.

On this particular browsing trip I found Citadelle Gin. It was in the only one on the shelf, and listed at a very reasonable $29.95 CND. I had never tried this gin before, never seen it in the liquor store before, but I had seen it here and there on Instagram. I couldn’t really knock that price, as it’s cheaper than a lot of other gins on the shelf that day (including several Canadian brands). This gin is French, the glass bottle a lovely shade of blue, and a crisp paper label that has the signature and lot/batch numbers scrawled right on. According to the website, the gin features a profile of Juniper, citrus, and ‘exotic’ spice notes. Unlike several conventional gins on the market, Citadelle lists every single one of its botanicals on the side of the bottle. Notable botanicals include savory, cumin, and almond. This is a good find. This will make a great Gin Old Fashioned project – next month.

Citadelle Gin’s botanical list on the label.

This is the reality of doing Sober October. I have all of these interesting gins and single malts in my private collection that I can’t drink until November. I’m talking specifically about the spirits I brought back from Scotland. This is a trip that I will blog about in detail after this challenge is over.

It’s important to mention that I may have very conservatively sipped a libation on Thanksgiving Sunday. I had broken out a bottle of Lagavulin 16, which is Nick Offerman’s  favourite single malt, to be sampled over dessert. It was my way of showing kindness and gratitude to a family who hasn’t invited me to dinner before. Good whisky like this is meant to be shared. I definitely had less than half an ounce, so I guess it’s not really cheating on the rules? Lagavulin 16 is a great introductory whisky for those unfamiliar with the Islay styles. It’s a bit peaty, not heavy on the salty/iodine notes, and a warm sweetness from the barley and wood aging. I personally find Lagavulin to be middle-of-the-road in peatiness. Laphroaig has some whiskies in their range that lean heavy on the peat, as well as Bruichladdich’s Octomore (which claims to be the peatiest whisky in the world).

Now that Thanksgiving is over it’s time to get back to a semi-regular routine. I’ve got training all week, along with some new projects coming up.


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