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The 22 best distilleries of Quebec for craft spirits to stock your bar with

From gin and whisky to apéritifs and liqueurs, these craft spirits from distilleries across Quebec are all top shelf in our books.

JP Karwacki
Written by
JP Karwacki
Contributor
Tommy Dion
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One look at the craft spirits coming from the best distilleries in Quebec, and you'll find a booming and boozy scene that—much like natural wine—has been growing exponentially in the handful of years since the government took a red pen to old laws. Locally in Montreal we've a growing range of gins, vodkas, rums, whiskys and beyond (a local triple sec comes to mind!), but when you look futher afield? One look through the whole province shows you could stock the shelves of the best speakeasies and best cocktail bars in Montreal and still have enough left over to fill your own top shelf—followed by your fridge with some ready-to-drink options. 

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These are the best distilleries in Quebec for all kinds of craft spirits

Located near Montreal's own Lachine Canal, CIRKA is a pioneer in Quebec's craft distillery world. First known for their gin—made entirely from herbs and plants from the province's own boreal forest—they quickly followed with an exceptional vodka, and then their own whisky once it had aged enough. All told, they've got 3 gins, 2 vodkas and 3 whiskies worth trying, and the tour of their facilities comes highly recommended.

La Société Secrète does, in fact, sound like a secret society on paper: "Located in an old Anglican church from 1875 by the sea," with a window looking out onto the Cap d'Espoir, it's a small batch distillery that's drawn attention for its location and products: An artisanal gin named Les Herbes Folles inspired by the herbs and wild flowers that grow on the Gaspé Peninsula, an eau-de-vie named Rythme Sidéral with an annual lot of 200 bottles that are matured in French oak barrels, an apple brandy made with product from Chemin des Sept, and much more.

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Located in the industrial section of Montreal's Rosemont borough, the Distillerie de Montréal stands out for its growing selection of spirits that's come to include pastis and brandy, whisky and agave-based booze, vodka, gins, and rums. It's the only distillery in Canada to work with a double-distilled Charentais still, a fifth-generation distiller that was established in the city back in 1993. Through a lot of dedication and consistency in quality of product, this distillery alone could keep the city sauced singlehandedly if it weren't focused on small batches.

The first distillery of its kind in Trois-Rivières, Maxime Vincent and Guyaume Parenteau's project began in 2017 and never looked back: Now serving a few gins with boreal inspirations, some summery infusions, a gin and maple liqueur, ready-to-drink cocktails, and an innovative infuse-your-own gin kit called the Ginius Kit, Wabasso easily sets itself apart from the pack when it comes to Quebec product.

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A clandestine organization, Club Local comes from a supergroup of individuals in the industry that bring together a bunch of choice product: There's Spritz Les îles, a unqiue flavour profile to set itself apart from the usual Italian taste you've come to expect—fresh orange and grapefruit with subtle vanilla and floral notes—and others like Portage gin and White Keys Vodka, a combination of Canadian grain and De l’Aubier sap water, an organic vegetable water sourced from the distillery's own maples. 

Named after the very first distillery in Quebec in 1769, Distillerie 1769 now has several flagship products under its banner like its Madison Park gins, MVodka, and a 1769 Whisky. Fans of London dry gin and anglophiles in particular should take note that Madison Park is—to date—the only London Dry gin made in Quebec, with an additional product acting as a nod to traditional English Breakfast tea.

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Montreal's own Oshlag has been a roll lately, producing some of the hard seltzer beverages on the market to keep us pleasantly drunk in the summer of 2020. That's the latest however in a long line of products from a microbrewery and distillery producing various spirits for years now, in addition to lending their facilities to create other well-nested products. They're making some exceptional gins (the one with hibiscus is incredible!), vodka, whisky and other gin-based ready-to-drink products called "Ginto" that are hard to pass up once chilled in a cooler. 

This Charlevoix-based distillery and brewery is among the province's finest for its exceptional attention to detail. Flavour profiles are what its all about here, from a unique vodka and gin that are made straight-up to inused versions that include rhubarb and cold-pressed haskap berries grown by regional family farms respectively. Their beers and and ready-to-drink cocktails get plenty intriguing too; it's a business worth visiting if you're in the region.

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Aged gins, fresh vodkas, amber rums; Christophe Légasse and David Lévesque's Quebec City-based distillery has been operating and producing quality products for more than half a decade now, and it's only getting better with age. Using the production of rum and whisky in Nouvelle-France as their inspiration, they're making everything in small batches; something you might not expect, given the ubiquity of the product in every SAQ. 

Located in Bedford, Quebec on the Eastern Townships wine route, Comont is a small batch distillery that does only a few products; what they make, however, is of a high and award-winning quality. There's the agave spirit sourced from the Jalisco region, the first fermented and distilled agave spirit in the province, and a traditional gin made from Quebec aromatics. Big ups to their canned paloma cocktails as well.

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The Louisville-based Mariana Distillery makes a name for itself by producing gins, rums, liqueurs and an aged Quebec grain whiskey. That's putting their portfolio lightly, however: A closer look reveals that they're making some unique concoctions like an absinthe, an amaretto that's absolutely smashing, and an orange zest apéritif that rivals that of Spritz les îles. One of the most interesting mixes of passions and product in the province.

A micro-distillery located at the nexus of three namesake lakes in the Eastern Townships—Lac Saint-François, Lac des Deux Montagnes and Lac Saint-Louis—3 Lacs is making gin that's both classic and artisinally flavoured alongside liquers like the first Quebec-made limoncello with (and this is an educated guess) certainly more on the way, if their ready-to-drink cocktails are any indication. It's all impeccably fresh when it's coming from the stills and skills of this place.

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Known primarily for their namesake gin that carries a distinct yellow tinge to it and flavour from using six Arctic botanicals like cloudberry, crowberry and Labrador tea in its creation, Ungava is also the source of quite a few other spirits worth mentioning. Their facilities in the Eastern Townships also make a stellar vermouth, vodka, whisky, and the Chic-Choc rum that's starting to catch up to the gin in popularity. 

Found in the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Distillerie Mitis is a small batch producer that began back in 2016. Their claim to fame comes from all three of their meticulous creations, beginning with the namesake sugar cane spirit, a Nordic rum, and the Mugo gin that's made with mountain pine that was hand-picked at Les Jardins de Métis and a double gold winner at the 2019 New York World Wine and Spirits Competition. 

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A microdistillery coming from a Hungarian family known for their fruit brandies back home, Sivo's been the source of creating the first Quebec single malt and a true rye alongside a moonshine variation, in addition to liquers like a bitter herbal type based on the kind you'd find in Bavarian monasteries, an aromatic aquavit, flavoured eau-de-vies, and liquers for boosting cocktails. Located in Montérégie, their self-taught skill is worth a taste beyond a shadow of a doubt.

The orchards of Les Vergers Lafrance goes back three generations, and while that history makes for a stellar bunch of ciders to drink up, who'd have thought that Lafrance was also the source of some great spirits too? Gins, whiskys, brandies, schnapps, vermouth—and all of them are of an exceptional quality. Best of all, visiting the distillery means you'll be strolling through picturesque orchards, and that's something we can totally get down with.

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What started with some—ahem—"experiments" in a Rimouski basement is now one of Quebec’s micro-distillation pioneers, Distillerie du St. Laurent now sports a line up up gins, a maple eau-de-vie and a whisky of three years. Their gin, however, is where it's at: "After a steam infusion of exotic spices in a custom designed gin-basket, (the) gin is slowly macerated with laminaria seaweed hand-harvested in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region." Doesn't get more terroir than that.

Made right here in Montreal, the fairy tale continues for entrepreneur and founder of PUR Vodka and Romeo's Gin, Nicolas Duvernois: Conceived and developed while he was a janitor at Sainte-Justine Hospital, he never thought that PUR Vodka would become one of the most awarded vodkas in the world. He also created the first gin dedicated entirely to art with limited editions, a museum, and several murals throughout Montreal and Toronto. Snazzy stuff.

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Found in Gaspé, O'Dwyer distinguishes itself from other small batch gins made with Gaspesian wild mushrooms. Sound odd to you? The flavour works, as does the variety that's aged in 15-year-old American oak barrels. They also make a single malt grain spirit, a maple acreum spirit, a cream liquer and amaro that all made for one of the one unique portfolios you'll find from a distillery in this province.

If you like to browse the gin displays at the SAQ, chances are you've noticed either their famous blue colored gin: All natural, the bluish color is derived from the butterfly pea flower. If Royal Blue's colour throws you off, don't worry, we can confirm that it's delicious and is an easy enhancement for your cocktails. The team's more recent creation Jardin Verde is, however, the superior spirit when it comes to making gin and tonics.

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Gérald Lacroix and Josée Métivier's artisanal distillery near Mont-Shefford in the Montérégie region began operation in 2016, but was soon after acquired by La Cabane à Boubou, maple producers of 20 years that are owned by the Bourassa Brothers. That ended up making for a wide range of maple-based spirits that go from a more ubiquitous acerum to cream liquers and—most curiously and deliciously—a maple vodka.

Oushkabé's micro distillery was born in 2017 with the goal of introducing Quebecers to Scottish-inspired spirits. Their first creation, Spirit of Malt, demonstrates this with the use of peated malt from Scotland. If you like the aromatic profile of peated spirits, you'll love their peated gin, and their third flagship product at the moment is a Triple Sec made with Quebec berries that's worth discovering.

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