My husband and I have a rule when it comes to events like Christmas and Birthdays – rather than spending money on actual physical gifts, we prefer events and experiences. This could mean something as simple as a dinner together at a favourite restaurant, or as elaborate as a full weekend trip to Niagara Falls for the Ice Wine Festival (which is a common Christmas choice for us). This year for my birthday my husband booked us for a tour of the Wolfhead Distillery here in Windsor/Essex!
The Wolfhead Distillery is the first local premium craft distillery, with a product line that includes both premium whisky and premium vodka. Their location includes not only the distillery itself, with tours available for those who want to learn a little more about their business but also a restaurant and a retail location. We started our visit with the tour, followed by a late lunch in the restaurant.
The tour was conducted by the owner of the distillery, Tom Manherz. He shared with us his inspiration for starting the distillery, and the events that led up to its creation. It was fun to hear him talk of his small bottling operation, and how that led to the creation of Wolfhead.
Throughout the time we were there he walked us through the process from start to finish within the distillery, explaining the steps of the creation process, leading up to the final products that we purchase. Throughout this time there were samples available of some of their great products – including their Apple Caramel Whisky and Grapefruit Flavoured Vodka. If I hadn’t already tried some of the products prior to the tour I can promise that those tastes would have hooked my attention right then and there!
As he discussed the process he shared the different equipment with us, explaining how each piece of machinery worked, and what it contributed. We were up close and personal with some of the equipment, learning the various parts and reasons why he chose that specifically. He discussed how the barrels are used, and what goes into the various colours and flavours of the products.
The tour was fascinating, and Tom was open to any questions that were thrown his way throughout the time we were there. It was a great experience!
Following the tour, we went back out to the restaurant and decided to grab a late lunch. It had been a pretty crazy whirlwind of a couple days, and the idea of just relaxing on the patio was far too enticing! The atmosphere with the restaurant was that of an old Speak Easy, giving off the feeling of the days of prohibition and the rum runners.
The staff were great – We were quickly greeted with a warm smile and treated amazingly throughout the time we were there. At one point Tom was making his way around the restaurant and stopped to ask how everything was going. They all added strongly to the great experience that we had that day. The one waitress (who referred to us as her ‘new friends’) shared with us that this summer they will be bringing in live music on the patio during the weekends (do I sense a new go-to spot for date night, or what?).
Ok, I know you’re at the edge of your chair just waiting for me to get to the important part, right? The food and drinks… We started off with just drinks while we browsed the menu. I am a HUGE mojito lover, so I went with their Grapefruit Mojito (made with their grapefruit vodka) while my husband decided to try their beer flight. Spoiler alert: This wasn’t my only Grapefruit Mojito of the day – I loved it!
For lunch, I ordered the Drunken Shrimp and Scallops, which the menu describes as: “Tiger shrimp and sweet bay scallops flambeed in our signature “Wolfhead Vodka” then tossed in fresh garlic, tomatoes and spring onions. Served over seasoned quinoa”. My husband ordered Wolf Paw Burger: “8oz lean ground beef burger spiced and grilled to perfection. Served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle”. The portion sizes were fair when considering the price that they cost, and the food was delicious!
Following lunch, we ordered a few more drinks, of course. My husband by this time had figured out which beers he preferred, while I decided to give their Cosmo a try. Just like everything up to this point, the Cosmo didn’t disappoint (however I did return to the mojito for the rest of the time that we were there).
Overall I would recommend Wolfhead Distillery to anyone who enjoys good food and drinks (who doesn’t), and would highly suggest that you take the tour! It all added to the experience, making for an amazing day and a perfect birthday celebration!
What is your go-to mixed drink? Are you a vodka lover, or do you prefer the whisky?