No more crinkly paper gowns but the, “take a deep breath in” still happens when you open the door of my former doctor’s office now gloriously morphed into a craft distillery.
Passionate about their art, Dawn and Doug Lennie happily share an hour of spirit making show and tell. The husband and wife team bought the doctor’s office a couple of years ago to distill artisanal vodka and gin in small batches infusing them with fresh BC-grown fruit, nuts and herbs. Their latest addition, Legend Lounge, is helping locals pass time in winter with its cozy fireplace, tapas (onion soup, wild mushroom pate with crackers and house pickles, hot artichoke and kale dip with taco chips…), cocktails (of course) and a selection of Naramata wines and local craft beers.
Captain Nemo-looking gleaming copper and steel stills differentiate a tasting experience at Legend Distilling from a visit to the many Naramata wineries along the Bench. “After our first full season I’m really happy with the traffic and the response from our visitors,” Dawn says. “I think people are finding us a refreshing change.”
On trend, Legend Distilling is one of only a handful of distilleries in the Okanagan and a perfect addition to the Valley’s burgeoning foodie culture and its longer winery history. Fun branding playing on the distillery’s doctor’s office past and its legend’s theme is hitting the right note as are its contemporary and unique flavour profiles.
The couple opened with a few offerings and have gradually added new spirits such as Defender Island Smoked Rosemary Gin and Slowpoke Farmberry and liqueurs like Blasted Brew Spiked Coffee and Manitou Orange Sumac Liqueur to its flights. Next on the horizon…whisky. Doug shows me his coddled whisky aging in different types of barrels a mere two years away from savourability.
A crew is bottling Shadow in the Lake Vodka, one of its original offerings, on the day of my visit. The bottles are so unique that they are worth keeping when the smooth, full-bodied vodka with subtle notes of vanilla and carmel is all gone. Too bad I can’t capture the wonderful aroma of the vodka as its bottled.
Legend Distilling’s setting on Naramata Road is as spectacular as its libations. “During demo of the building Doug took a break and sat outside to watch the sun set. He came home after that saying we had to change all the plans and add on some more space. We needed to move the tasting room to the back of the building to take advantage of the view and access to the patio. We stretched the budget but it was worth it.”
Good call. I took this photo this past Thanksgiving from the patio.
And my sister-in-law Mel, took this one of the tasting room window on her Thanksgiving visit from Toronto.While our turkey was cooking in our wood-fired oven a five-minute walk away, we spent a perfect hour on the patio with family. My Legendary Caesar lived up to its name.
To keep our spirits up before the sun returns in full force and we can move to the patio again, Dawn shared her recipe for a favourite hot winter drink:
- 1 oz Blasted Brew Spiked Coffee
- 1/2 oz Orange Sumac Liqueur
- In a pour over, placed over glass add…
- 5 tablespoons ground coffee
- 6 oz hot water (3/4 cup)
- Top with whip cream, a coffee bean and fresh nutmeg