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Eau Clair Gin Rummy

Review: Eau Claire Gin Rummy  (84.5/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (AKA the Rum Howler)
Posted October 03, 2016

Eau Claire Distillery opened as Alberta’s first craft distillery in the summer of 2014. The facility is located 35 minutes southwest of downtown Calgary in the picturesque Hamlet of Turner Valley. The name ‘Eau Claire’ has historical significance in Alberta, meaning ‘clear water’, and is representative of the clear water from the nearby Rocky Mountains that is used as the water source of the distillery.

The folks at Eau Claire pride themselves in sourcing locally farmed ingredients, including grains and potatoes from neighbouring farms. Each ingredient is secured from suppliers who are known and respected in Alberta’s agriculture profession. In addition to the direct from the farm suppliers, Eau Claire has a special connection to the land through its own, unique stable of plough horses. Horse farmed grain is a part of the Eau Claire story and culture. It was founder David Farran’s weekend pursuit of traditional horse farming that led him to establish Eau Claire in the first place. A number of the distillery’s products will be made with ‘horse farmed grain’ using agricultural methods dating back to the settlement of Alberta.

Eau Claire’s Gin Rummy is an Albertan take on a classic drink which mixes the satisfying taste of both gin and rum, with winter spices added for a unique taste sensation. The spirit is hand crafted, barrel finished, and made only by Eau Claire.

gin-rummyIn the Bottle 5/5

The Eau Claire Distillery believes that spirits should be enjoyed in a social atmosphere, and their bottle display brings this theme to life showcases a variety of ‘social animals’ gathered together to play a game of gin rummy.

The stubby clear bottle is corked to give us that nice satisfying ‘pop’ when we open it, and I could not be more pleased with what I see.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The Gin Rummy has a nice rich amber colour in the glass and the aroma which rises is all at once sweet,and spicy. An interesting winding of licorice weaves in and out of the breezes and the combined effect of these initial impressions is quite pleasing.

When I took my time to nose the glass further, I decided to see if I could tease out the different components. The gin influence within the spirit seems to bring forward an impression of dark licorice which is almost Sambuca-like in its intensity. There are wisps of piny juniper and hints of both cardamom and coriander spice (and perhaps ginger) as well. Underlying these gin-like impressions is a lovely rum-like sweetness of butterscotch and caramel. There is also perhaps some wood spices mixed in with hints of clove and cinnamon rounding out the aroma.

In the Mouth 50/60

The gin, the rum, and the spice all hit you at once as the spirit brings all three components across the palate at once. The medley of flavours matches the nose with perhaps the spiciness of coriander and ginger coming through more clearly offering a foil to the rich dark licorice flavour. Piny juniper is in the background, and there is just enough sweetness to bring balance without any sort of cloying aspect to spirit.

There is a bit of astringency (a result of a young spirit) and this is keeping the score down somewhat. However, it would also be true to say that the added ‘Christmas’ spices and the light rum-like sweetness help serve to keep that astringency in check. My suggestion would be to sip the spirit over ice, although I also believe that the Gin Rummy could serve quite well as a base for a spicy Christmas Eggnog as well. Perhaps even a nice hot toddy.

In the Throat  12.5/15

Licorice, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom all mingle together in the finish which is spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. Again just enough sweetness lingers within the spice to keep everything on track.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

This is the third spirit from the Eau Claire Distillery which I have sampled, and it is my favourite so far. The Gin and Rum flavours work well with the Christmas spices giving us a flavour experience which is quite delightful. Spicy Eggnog and Hot Toddies are obvious mixing choices, although I would not want to dissuade anyone from trying this spirit neat or on the rocks either.

You may check out this link for more reviews of similar spirits if you would like a few comparative reviews (Moonshine and Other Spirits).


Suggested Recipe:

gin-rummy-toddy-sam_2756Here as a great Toddy recipe to help when you have a sore throat.

Hot Toddy with Gin Rummy

2 1/2 oz Eau Claire Gin Rummy
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 tsp Honey
Lemon Peel
4 Oz Hot Water

Pour the Gin Rummy into a heavy mug
Add the Lemon Juice and Honey (adjust to taste)
Fill with Hot Water and stir
Add a thin strip of Lemon Peel
(add a cinnamon stick for an extra pop of spice!)


If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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