Just in time for patio cocktails, Beamsville, Ont.-based Dillon’s Distillers has added five new flavours to its line of bitters: wormwood, rhubarb, ginseng, angelica and chocolate.
Made from distilled Niagara wine grapes collected from growers during fall thinning – essentially, a waste product – these are made with redistilled “heads” and “tails,” liquor deemed too harsh for their small-batch gin and vodkas.
“The reception has been ridiculous. Who knew this many people wanted bitters?” says distiller Geoff Dillon, who says the company is scrambling to keep the herbal elixirs in stock.
The line is the pet project of his father and business partner, Trent University chemistry professor Peter Dillon, who uses locally grown herbs, some from his own backyard, whenever possible.
Now carried across North America by Williams-Sonoma, Geoff Dillon says hand-bottling tens of thousands of the tiny glass jars to fill that order was “the hardest two weeks of our lives.”
Meanwhile, his father has been banned from inventing any new flavours while they try to keep up with demand.