It’s no secret that PEI and potatoes go together like lobster and melted better. The two are inseparable, even when it comes to what’s served during cocktail hour. Canada’s only potato vodka is created at Prince Edward Distillery in Hermanville. Founded in 2007 by partners Arla Johnson and Julie Shore (Americans who fell in love with PEI during a vacation in 1996), it offers tours to the thirsty and the curious. Bubbly Shore explains the process in an interesting, not too techy, way that makes you really appreciate the care poured into the final product. If you’re smitten by what you taste, you can pick up its signature potato vodka (a gold medal winner at the World Spirits Competition) and newer wild blueberry vodka on site.
While the United States suffered under Prohibition, rumrunners in Canada, including PEI, flourished. As a nod to that era, The Myriad View in Rollo Bay taps into the old-time passion for moonshine. Its Strait Lightning is fermented from cane sugar and molasses, then aged in oak barrels. One sip makes your taste buds wake up, as the warm, smooth, subtle caramel notes dance over the tongue. It also sells other potently delicious spirits like rum, gin, whiskey and vodka. Tastings are complimentary; but voluntary donations are given to a local hospital.
Craft beer lovers find their happy place at The Prince Edward Island Brewing Company. Open in May 2013, it made a splash on the brew scene early on, snagging multiple awards at Canadian beer competitions. Come for a tour and try to pick a favourite among the offerings. Be sure to try the Gahan Honey Brown Ale, a local fave, and the Lobster Ale, created to pair perfectly with rich foods, like – yep, you guessed it – lobster. As a nod to the 150 anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, its newest creation is the Fathers commemorative four-pack. Patriotism never tasted so good.
For beer-centric food pairings, Charlottetown’s Gahan House is a rockin’ pub with a stellar menu featuring suggested brews. Order the PEI mussels, steamed in Beach Chair Lager, or the chicken wings dressed in 1972 IPA BBQ sauce for a glimpse into one of the dishes that should be part of culinary hall of fame.