Sips' Favourite Picks for the Year's Spirits, Wine and Beers!

Sips Cocktail Emporium

Since we care so much about our drinks, we also care about what goes into them. These are our favourite spirits, wine and beer from 2014. Unfortunately, some of these are no longer available, but we encourage you to try the ones that are!


Vodka: Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

  • The Taste: This vodka is nothing like the other vodka's you've tried. The bison grass gives this spirit a dry-herb flavour that lends itself well as a sipping vodka. We wouldn't recommend this as a mix in any well-known fruity vodka highballs, but the unique earthy flavour allows opportunities for other cocktails to be created.
  • Our recommendation: A Grapefruit-Thyme Cocktail. Combine 1 oz Zubrowka and 1 oz grapefruit juice in a parfait glass with one ice cube. Garnish with thyme and enjoy!
  • The Cost: $26
  • Where to buy it: BCL and Legacy Liquor Store

Gin: Old Tom Barrel Aged Gin from Liberty Distillery

  • The Taste: This gin is one in a million! Liberty has triple distilled this gin and then aged it for several months in an oak barrel. The result is a rich and creamy gin that can be sipped on for hours! Liberty is not the only one making an oak-aged gin so we encourage you to try any other brand and taste the oak-y goodness.
  • Our recommendation: The Chilled Apple Cider: Combine 1 oz gin, 1/2 oz lime juice over ice in a highball glass. Top with unpasteurized apple juice and garnish with fresh cranberries and a cinnamon stick.
  • No longer available

Rum: Diplomatico Anejo

  • The taste: This amber rum is the most delicate of all the Diplomatico rums as it is aged the shortest. The Anejo is creamy, oaky, silky and rich all in one.
  • Our recommendation: Try it in a Dark & Stormy! Combine 2 oz Anejo Rum and 1/2 oz lime juice over ice in a Tom Collins glass. Top with ginger beer and enjoy!
  • The Cost: $35
  • Where to buy it: Legacy Liquor Store

 Whiskey: Forty Creek Copper Pot Rye

  • The taste: This rye is great bang for your buck! Only a few dollars more than the regular Forty Creek, the Copper Pot is a richer, creamier rye with a smooth finish. 
  • Our recommendation: While it is delicious on it's own, we recommend using this in a classic Manhattan. In a mixing pitcher, stir together 2 oz Copper Pot rye, 1 oz Cinzano sweet vermouth and a dash of angostura bitters. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a drunken cherry!
  • The Cost: $28
  • Where to buy it: Any BCL

     Liqueur: Lillet Blanc, Lillet Rosé, Lillet Rouge

    • The taste: This is our favourite discovery of 2014. Lillet is a wine liqueur that provides a full body wine flavour with a hint of sweet and citrus on the finish. The liqueur comes in three flavours: Blanc, Rosé and Rouge, but we couldn't pick one favourite over the other. We recommend you try them all!
    • Our recommendation: Lillet is so perfect it should be drank on its own in a red wine glass. If the taste is too sweet for you, add a splash of soda water and a wedge of orange.
    • The Cost: $30
    • Where to buy it: Most BCLs, Legacy  Liquor Store

     White Wine: Cono Sur Viognier

    • The taste: A great wine for your dollar. This Viognier is not too dry and not too sweet, allowing it to be drunk in many occasions.
    • Our recommendation:This wine is great on its own, but also goes well in your favourite white wine sangria recipe.
    • The Cost: $11
    • Where to buy it: Most BCLs,

    Red Wine: Deep Roots Gamay

    • The taste: With fruity undertones, the Deep Roots Gamay is a nice choice for a lighter red.
    • Our recommendation: We think this is a quintessential summer red. Pair this wine with pizza on a summer evening!
    • The Cost: $24
    • Where to buy it: Available only at the winery in Naramata.

    Rosé: L'Orangeraie Rosé

    • The taste: This rosé is the perfect mix of tart and sweet, with just a hint of citrus. As many rosé's tend to be too sweet, L'Orangeraie tones down the sweetness allowing you to drink more than just one glass, which we tend to do!
    • Our recommendation: Drink this rosé chilled and paired with white fish tacos.
    • The Cost: $18
    • Where to buy it: Firefly Fine Wine and Ales

    Sparkling Wine: Prosecco Frizzante - Villa Teresa Organic

    • The taste: The best sparkling wine we've ever had and it`s affordable to buy over and over again! Much like the rosé listed above, this prosecco isn't  too sweet; it's dry and tastes delicious on its own or in a cocktail.
    • Our recommendation: Elderflower Champagne Cocktail: Pour 1/2 oz St. Germain Elderflower liqueur in a champagne flute. Top with Prosecco Frizzante and garnish with 3 slices of star fruit.
    • The Cost: $18
    • Where to buy it: Any BCL

    Ale: Dageraad Amber Ale

    • The taste: Tied with Steel and Oak and Brassneck for one of our favourite new breweries this year, the Dageraad Amber Ale is a delicious Belgian ale that is malty and aromatic with a crisp finish.
    • Our recommendation: Pairs perfectly with a pulled pork sandwich!
    • The Cost: $7.80
    • Where to buy it: Firefly Fine Wine and Ales, Legacy Liquor Store

    Lager: Steel and Oak Smoked Lager

    • The taste: Steel and Oak opened with the smoked lager on tap and this was the most interesting and unique beers we had all year. The smoky flavour was strong, but not overpowering and blended well with the light and crisp lager. The best part? Once your beer was finished, your mouth tasted like a BBQ.
    • Our recommendation: Eating this with BBQ would almost be too much. We'd recommend pairing it with a grilled burger and fries!
    • Where to buy it: Currently not available in the tasting room. Hopefully will return next spring!

    Stout: Brassneck Killjoy

    • The taste: Despite only being 6.5%, this stout will knock you off your seat with it's rich depth of flavour! This stout had everything: coffee aromas, chocolatey flavours, and malty goodness! We weren't adventurous enough to buy a 2 litre growler full, but it tasted wonderfully in small quantities.
    • Our recommendation: We consider this more of a dessert beer. Try it paired with a mixed-berry crumble.
    • Where to buy it: No longer available in the tasting room, but keep an eye out as they bring brews back into rotation.

    IPA: Persephone Brewing Double IPA

    • The taste: Although it sounds intense, this double IPA is perfectly balanced with a blend of citrus and hops. We don't normally like IPAs, but this one was so well-balanced and drinkable.
    • Our recommendation: Try this with a rack of ribs slathered in BBQ sauce!
    • The Cost: $12.50
    • Where to buy it: Firefly Fine Wine and Ales


    Cheers and happy new year!!