Monashee Spirits

Raising spirits—organically and locally—in Revelstoke, BC

monashee spirits distills the essence of big mountains and good times.

“We wanted to bottle Revelstoke,” says Josh McLafferty. The former underwater welder and his wife Jenn McLafferty, a career nurse, opened Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery in an historic building in the very heart of downtown Revelstoke, BC in April 2017. It’s a fun addition to an already great ski town.

The couple and their two toddlers live upstairs (with honeybees on the roof). Downstairs, they make small-batch spirits from scratch, using certified organic ingredients sourced when possible from within a 100-mile radius. “We know the farmers growing our organic grains,” Josh says.

If  Revelstoke Mountain Resort ’s big vertical, non-stop fall-line and steady snowfalls look like a helicopter skier’s dream, it’s no accident. The City of Revelstoke has been an  epicenter for helicopter skiing  since 1978.  Dave Heath | Courtesy Destination BC

If Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s big vertical, non-stop fall-line and steady snowfalls look like a helicopter skier’s dream, it’s no accident. The City of Revelstoke has been an epicenter for helicopter skiing since 1978. Dave Heath | Courtesy Destination BC

Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery opened in the heart of historic downtown Revelstoke in April 2017. Its custom-made still is fully computerized.  © Ski Travel Go

Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery opened in the heart of historic downtown Revelstoke in April 2017. Its custom-made still is fully computerized. © Ski Travel Go

Monashee’s vodka starts with a wheat and barley blend, then gets its ferment from champagne yeast. “It’s like with craft beer,” Josh says. “You don’t want it to just be a pilsner. You want it to have its own little twist and flavor, like ‘Oh yeah! I can taste that! It’s nice.’”

Monashee’s signature blends are inspired by classic après-ski hijinks: The Big Mountain Creamer is an Irish cream—made with fresh, organic cream but without all the usual emulsifiers and shelf-life extenders. Vulcan’s Fire is a Fireball-style spirit, infused with cinnamon and Thai red chiles, and sweetened with some of that rooftop honey.

The distillery (located directly across the street from Revelstoke’s popular Village Idiot pub) operates as a tasting room in the afternoons, and a cocktail lounge in the evenings.  © Ski Travel Go

The distillery (located directly across the street from Revelstoke’s popular Village Idiot pub) operates as a tasting room in the afternoons, and a cocktail lounge in the evenings. © Ski Travel Go

This guy loves dog-friendly distilleries. Can you blame him?  © Ski Travel Go

This guy loves dog-friendly distilleries. Can you blame him? © Ski Travel Go

But the deal is sealed with Monashee’s Ethos gin, which adds local huckleberries, wildflowers, spruce tips and a touch of ponderosa pine to a traditional gin infusion. “We wanted to capture the smell of Revelstoke,” Josh says. “When you’re skiing the trees, when you’re mountain biking after a fresh rain, that whole concept. We wanted to put it into a bottle, so that no matter where you go, you can pour it and smell it and you’ll be like ‘Oh man! Yeah. Remember?! That was awesome. That was so cool.’”

Also cool: Monashee’s tasting room offers free tasting flights by day, but by night turns into a full-on cocktail bar, with pre-prohibition mixology and a solid roster of whiskey drinks. Find Monashee Spirits about ten minutes from the slopes of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, in the heart of downtown Revelstoke at 307 Mackenzie Avenue, Revelstoke, BC. Open Wednesdays thru Saturdays. Tasting room hours: 1 pm – 5 pm. Cocktail lounge hours: 5 pm – 11 pm. www.monasheespirits.com

Organic, small-batch spirits are central to the Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery vision. Bottling? Yes, it’s done by hand.  © Ski Travel Go

Organic, small-batch spirits are central to the Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery vision. Bottling? Yes, it’s done by hand. © Ski Travel Go

Josh McClafferty’s big, welcoming personality and passion for distilling make him a happy natural behind the bar.  © Ski Travel Go

Josh McClafferty’s big, welcoming personality and passion for distilling make him a happy natural behind the bar. © Ski Travel Go

The City of Revelstoke lies along the banks of the mighty Columbia River, surrounded by truly big mountains. Also handy: Revelstoke holds the reported record for the Canadian location with single greatest amount of snowfall in any single winter (about 80 feet or 24 meters, in the winter of 1971-1972).  Andrew Strain | Courtesy Destination BC

The City of Revelstoke lies along the banks of the mighty Columbia River, surrounded by truly big mountains. Also handy: Revelstoke holds the reported record for the Canadian location with single greatest amount of snowfall in any single winter (about 80 feet or 24 meters, in the winter of 1971-1972). Andrew Strain | Courtesy Destination BC