Ever been to Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers? Yes? Wonderful. No? You should.
In addition to their vodka, gin, rye, and whiskey (see more on this below) this Beamsville operation distills bitters, which were a newer-to-me product (having never tasted them in the past)… though have often been recommended to try out when my stomach isn’t in order.
But then I got my hands on some and after experimentation in the kitchen I’m sold on using them as a key culinary ingredient. They’re generally used as top-notch flavour agent designed to give cocktails that extra oomph.
But Dillon’s, anyway, is pretty great, especially for those with celiac disease who are wary about using alcohol that is derived from wheat or barley. See, Dillon’s is unique in that it uses distilled Niagara grapes to make their vodka and gin–the former being the base of their fruit/herb/floral-infused bitters. Just step away from the rye and whiskey.
But drinks aside, I’m all for the culinary creations, so first up? A simple roasted carrot recipe featuring their Bitter Orange flavor and local maple syrup.
Maple Roasted Carrots with Bitter Orange
A simple side dish featuring a hint of maple and orange on sweet roasted carrots. Be inventive with the vegetables — parsnips and Brussels sprouts are great options, too.
2 pounds (908g) carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
2 tablespoons (30mL) mild extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea or Himalayan salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (30mL) pure maple syrup
20 dashes Dillon’s Bitter Orange
Flat leaf parsley, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the carrots with the olive oil, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.
Whisk together the maple syrup and Bitter Orange. Drizzle the mixture over the par-baked carrots, mixing to combine. Return to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender and starting to caramelize. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve warm.
Serves 4 as a side