December 10, 2019

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Winnipeggers have a thirst for whisky fest

VIP tickets to annual event almost sold out

Tim Smith / The Brandon Sun</p><p>Capital K’s newly renamed Tall Grass Vodka, is the result of Manitoba wheat and ‘prairie people producing prairie premium spirits.’</p></p>

Tim Smith / The Brandon Sun

Capital K’s newly renamed Tall Grass Vodka, is the result of Manitoba wheat and ‘prairie people producing prairie premium spirits.’

You’ve got one week left to grab a VIP ticket to the Winnipeg Whisky Festival at early bird prices.

Organizers report the VIP portion of the festival, which includes a sit-down seminar with one of the master distillers or brand ambassadors attending this year’s fest, are nearly sold out, and that regular tickets are also moving quickly.

The fifth edition of the fest takes place Friday, March 3 at the Fairmont, and features the chance to sample over 160 whiskies (and a handful of other spirits) from around the world. Tickets are $199 for regular admission or $275 for VIP tickets, which go up in price after Dec. 24, and are available at Proceeds from the event support the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

Staying on the local spirits front, the first product released by local craft distillery Capital K has undergone a name change.

What was once known as Crystal Vodka has been rebranded as Tall Grass Vodka. According to Capital K’s Facebook page, the distillery was contacted by a lawyer in Toronto, who informed them their vodka’s name was too close to the name of one made by a client of theirs. (I’m going to guess that it was Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka.)

"We love the new name and think that represents the local pride that we feel so deeply," Capital K’s Nov. 30 post reads. "Our vodka is the result of hard-working Manitoba farmers who tame the prairie and grow gorgeous wheat for us to transform. We’re darn proud to be prairie people producing prairie, premium spirits."

There’s some stock still out there of Capital K’s Crystal Vodka, but once it’s gone it will be replaced by the Tall Grass bottling, which is already starting to hit local Liquor Mart shelves.

Wine and cheese: it’s one of life’s truly great pairings. But when it comes to matching the two, not all pairings are created equal.

Thankfully, a group of computer scientists and molecular biologists from the University of Toronto have done much of the heavy lifting when it comes to finding the perfect bottle of wine to go with your favourite cheese.

The team designed the website using an open-source graph theory library called Cytoscape, populating the site with information from Max McCalman and David Gibbons’ book Cheese: A Connoisseur’s Guide to the World’s Best. Users can search by type of wine, type of cheese or by country; the website then shows all the pertinent pairings in an interactive network of connections.

It’s a handy resource if you’re picking up cheese (or wine) at your favourite local shop or heading to/hosting a party this holiday season.

uncorked@mts.netTwitter: @bensigurdson


Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson
Literary editor, drinks writer

Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson edits the Free Press books section, and also writes about wine, beer and spirits.

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Updated on Monday, December 19, 2016 at 10:58 AM CST: Star ratings fixed.

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