Junction 56 Distillery is getting in the holiday spirit.
The distillery’s annual Mint Smoothie Day will take place this Saturday (Nov. 19), marking the kick-off to the holiday season with guided tastings, prizes and the relaunch of limited-run festive liqueurs.
Founded in 2015, Junction 56 specializes in small batch spirits made with local ingredients.
For the mint smoothie liqueur, Junction 56 partners with beloved Stratford chocolate maker Rhéo Thompson Candies. The mint smoothie has long been the confectioner’s signature sweet treat and Junction 56’s liqueur of the same name looks to capture the iconic chocolate’s delicate flavour in liquid form.
“We worked with them [Rhéo Thompson] to get that perfect ratio of mint and chocolate,” explained Nicole Pretto, retail manager at Junction 56.
The mint smoothie liqueur starts with Junction 56 vodka, past award winner at the Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition for its subtly sweet flavour and clean finish. The vodka is distilled using 100 per cent Canadian grain sourced from nearby farms.
To make the mint smoothie, the vodka is returned to the still to undergo a second distillation with the signature chocolate to infuse it with the distinctive flavour profile. Although the mint smoothie liqueur is available at the distillery year-round, Mint Smoothie Day represents a special opportunity each year to celebrate this popular product and the arrival of the festive season.
On Saturday, all customers who purchase a bottle of the specialty liqueur, either in-store or online, are entered to win a prize package that includes a $100 gift card, Junction 56-branded merchandise, an additional bottle of the liqueur as well as 5 pounds of mint smoothie chocolate from Rhéo Thompson.
Additionally, $1 from every bottle sold on Saturday will be donated to local initiative - A Child's Smile, which raises funds to purchase toys for children who otherwise wouldn’t receive gifts on Christmas.
The distillery will also host special guided tastings, which Pretto encourages participants to book in advance.
“We take you back into the distillery and walk you through how all of our products are made. You get to sample them all and then, making the Mint Smoothie Day a little bit more special, we're going to do little cocktails that people on the guided tasting will get to try."
Mint Smoothie Day also celebrates the return of two well-loved seasonal products made at Junction 56 – its candy cane and gingerbread liqueurs – available for a limited time over the holiday season.
“It tastes just like candy cane. It’s great for hot chocolates and seasonal drinks,” said Pretto.
“The gingerbread [liqueur] has all the spices you put in gingerbread – cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger and all-spice – and then it’s sweetened with molasses.”
Pretto recommends customers arrive early: Mint Smoothie Day has prompted line-ups out the distillery door in previous years.
“It'll be a great day. We're really excited,” she said. “We're hoping to get a lot of bottles sold so we can donate quite a bit to A Child’s Smile.”
Junction 56 Distillery
45 Cambria Street, Stratford, ON