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‘Gin making is an art’: Nova Scotia GINstitute allowing visitors to make personalized blend – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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Thomas Steinhart holds his pinky beneath the spout of my mini, two-litre still to catch a drop of the gin I’m cooking up.

I’ve gone with a spicy citrus blend of botanicals that are heavy on the grapefruit and orange peel, with the addition of what I hope is a balance of sweet spices like cardamom, cinnamon, anise, and angelica root.

After tasting the smear of gin on his finger, Steinhart declares it suitable for a good gin and tonic, but too busy for a martini.

Participants prepare citrus peel at the GINstitute to make their gin. - Darcy Rhyno
Participants prepare citrus peel at the GINstitute to make their gin. – Darcy Rhyno

I’m in the middle of the weekend-long GINstitute By the Sea at Steinhart Distillery in Arisaig on Nova Scotia’s north shore. Wayne Johnson, who’s running the experience for Steinhart, says, “Thomas makes a classic style of gin with fewer botanicals. When it comes to martinis, purists don’t want all that – as they call it – herb garden.”

I selected my herb garden ingredients from among a couple of dozen items spread out on a nearby table. This is where Johnson led me and three others through the process of selecting, weighing, and preparing the botanicals. I started with a generous 30 grams of juniper berries and seven grams of coriander seeds.

“Juniper is vital,” Steinhart told us. “Coriander is important, so don’t be shy.”

The juniper is imported from Italy where the Tuscan sun infuses the berries with loads of flavour. Although juniper grows wild in Nova Scotia, our season isn’t long enough to produce berries suitable for flavouring gin.

Gin recipe and ingredients by a GINstitute participant. - Darcy Rhyno
Gin recipe and ingredients by a GINstitute participant. – Darcy Rhyno

With a mortar and pestle, we ground the berries and seeds, before tossing them into the still pot. Johnson filled each with a 30 per cent flavourless alcohol made at the distillery from red winter wheat grown in PEI.

“Gin starts as vodka,” Steinhart explained. “Vodka making is a science. Gin making is an art.”

German traditions

The botanicals and other ingredients added will influence the flavour of the gin. While additions make a good gin and tonic, says Wayne Johnson,
The botanicals and other ingredients added will influence the flavour of the gin. While additions make a good gin and tonic, says Wayne Johnson,

Next, we placed the remaining ingredients like citrus peel, cinnamon sticks, ground cardamom, and dried orange flowers into the aroma basket that fits into the top of the still. Vapours from the alcohol, juniper, and coriander mix pass through the other ingredients on their way to the condenser.

Steinhart doesn’t look the part of the artist. He’s a big man with a deep voice and a hearty appetite. In a couple of bites, he scoffed a plate of traditional schnitzel and spaetzel from the outdoor restaurant next to his distillery, a meal that comes with the GINstitute experience. But his handlebar moustache, tapered to a point, does fit his background as a mechanical engineer, millwright, and German immigrant from a long line of distillers.

“I learned distilling from my grandfather in Germany,” Steinhart says. “He had a farm, and if you have a farm, you have a still.”

Mini stills working away at making gin. - Darcy Rhyno
Mini stills working away at making gin. – Darcy Rhyno
A sampling cup with the still. - Darcy Rhyno
A sampling cup with the still. – Darcy Rhyno

As a boy, Steinhart started by washing bottles and stoking the wood fire. When his grandfather was satisfied that he knew the process well enough, he permitted Steinhart to distill on his own.

Each farm, like his grandfather’s, was granted an annual quota of 1,000 litres or so. “Everybody made more than they were allowed to, and everybody got caught,” Steinhart recalls.

Everybody, that is, except his clever grandfather.

“He painted milk jugs white inside. Everybody tried to sneak them into the bars at night, but he delivered milk and booze during the day with a little wagon.”

He and his grandfather made fruit brandies called schnapps, but it was gin that they perfected. Since start-up in 2012, Steinhart’s gin and distillery have won major awards in San Francisco, New York, and Berlin. The exclusive Gin Guild in England granted Steinhart the title Warden Rectifier. He’s the first – and, as far as he knows, the only – gin maker in the Americas so recognized

So, it’s no wonder that from a single drop, Steinhart can detect the ingredients in my unique gin recipe and suggest the best way to drink it. He repeats his assessment at each of the other four stations.

‘The ginny pigs’

Pouring just made gin into a bottle. - Darcy Rhyno
Pouring just made gin into a bottle. – Darcy Rhyno

The five of us spend the morning tending our mini stills, keeping the temperature between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, continuously adding ice to the condensing pot, emptying the meltwater, and carefully pouring off the accumulated gin into a bottle.

In the shadow of the full-sized, 1,200 litre still, we go about our work, mirroring that of Steinhart himself when he crafts single batches of gin and other spirits by hand.

Wayne Johnson tests the alcohol level in participant Alison Stanton's gin. - Darcy Rhyno
Wayne Johnson tests the alcohol level in participant Alison Stanton’s gin. – Darcy Rhyno

Our mini stills compress the time and number of steps involved in making a truly fine gin like Steinhart’s. In three or four hours, our bottles are nearly filled with gin. It’s now at over 70 per cent alcohol, so, using an alcohol meter as his guide, Johnson adds water to drop the alcohol level to about 50 per cent. Any lower and the oils from the botanicals become visible, resulting in cloudy gin.

At last, it’s time for drinks. We grab a classic gin and tonic from the bar and head outside to the picnic tables and Adirondack chairs. The distillery sits atop a hill with a million dollar view of the Arisaig lighthouse and wharf where fishing boats tie-up between trips. Before us stretches the Northumberland Strait all the way to P.E.I.

Gin and tonic at Steinhart Distillery. - Darcy Rhyno
Gin and tonic at Steinhart Distillery. – Darcy Rhyno

We review our GINstitute experience with Johnson and decide it’s a real winner, but it needs a little honing. The introduction, instructions, guidance, and access to the ingredients all need streamlining. But this is just its first summer, and as one of the participants put it, “We’re the ginny pigs.”

I order a burger from the restaurant – this is Steinhart’s, so of course it’s a schnitzel burger – then sit back to sip world-class gin. Not mine, which is good for mixing. It’s Steinhart’s, made with the wisdom and artistry of generations.

https://www.instagram.com/steinhartdistillery/

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10-year-old Anishinaabe photographer makes art show debut at skatepark exhibition – CBC.ca

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Ella Greyeyes came across photography by accident, when she filled in for a photographer who was supposed to take her dad’s headshot, but cancelled at the last minute.

The 10-year-old was instantly hooked. She started snapping more pictures: some of her mom, others of nature scenes. Her parents posted them on Instagram and Ella soon drew the attention of local artist Annie Beach, who suggested Ella get involved with Lavender Menace, a mentorship opportunity that will culminate in an art show at The Plaza skatepark at The Forks.

“I’m feeling really excited and just happy that I’m going to have my photos at The Forks,” Ella told CBC’s Weekend Morning Show host Nadia Kidwai on Sunday. “When people see my photos, I hope they feel joy in them.”

For Ella, photography was a new way to see the world around her.

“When I see something, I just like to frame it,” she said. “And I love to take pictures of nature. It just feels so good and relaxing.”

The photo Ella took of her dad, Alan Greyeyes, that kicked off her budding photography career. (Ella Greyeyes)

The show organized by Graffiti Art Programming gets its name from a term rooted in the American lesbian women’s movement for inclusion within feminism, said Chanelle Lajoie, a Métis artist who mentored Ella ahead of Sunday night’s opening reception. Lajoie said Lavender Menace was a chance to create space for Indigenous people and learn from each other.

“Working with Ella provided for me that intergenerational knowledge-sharing, because it was very much reciprocated on both ends,” Lajoie said. 

“Ella really enjoying taking photography of nature … seemed [to] really fit well with the project of providing natural elements to a predominantly concrete space, and so it was a really perfect fit.”

Ella — who is Anishinaabe from Peguis First Nation and lives in Winnipeg — said she learned so much about photography from Lajoie, from how to use the different settings on her camera to how to make a person comfortable in front of her lens.

“You have to be happy when you take them,” she said. “You have to take them with some joy, because then it will make the person, the model, feel really good and smile and not be grumpy in every photo.”

Ella took this photo of her mom, Destiny Seymour. (Ella Greyeyes)

Lajoie said the show at The Forks is meant to start a conversation about representation of Indigenous, LGBT and two-spirit people in a space so deeply rooted in Indigenous histories.

“That conversation will include us. It’ll bring up some uncomfortable realities. [But] our representation is also going to encourage inclusion and build community further,” she said. 

“So I hope anyone who is at the show, whether it’s tonight or in the future, if they’re having difficulty seeking out their queer selves or their Indigenous selves, that they see this and see themselves in us.”

The Lavender Menace group art exhibition launches Sunday at 5 p.m. The event will run until 7 p.m., though the art will stay until next year.

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POLICE BRIEFS: Fatal crashes, high-end art stolen – The North Bay Nugget

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North Bay rider dies in ATV crash

Ontario Provincial Police say the rider from North Bay was pronounced deceased at the scene of a single vehicle all-terrain vehicle crash on a snowmobile trail in Phelps Township at noon Saturday.

The collision occurred when the ATV veered off the trail.

The investigation is continuing with the assistance of the Office of the Chief Coroner, an OPP Traffic Collision Investigator (TTCI) and a Collision Reconstructionist. A post-mortem examination is scheduled to take place Tuesday.

More information will be released when available.

Motorcycle rider dies in crash

Ontario Provincial Police say the rider was pronounced deceased at the scene of a single vehicle motorcycle crash on Highway 518, near Forestry Road, in Kearney at 11 am Saturday.

OPP say the motorcycle left the roadway.

The investigation is continuing with the assistance of the North East Region OPP Traffic Incident Management and Enforcement (TIME) Team.

More information will be released when available.

Highway 518 has reopened.

One person was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries following a single-vehicle collision on the same highway, near Kallio Road, at 4 am Saturday.

Two other people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The investigation is continuing with the assistance of the North East Region OPP Traffic Incident Management and Enforcement (TIME) Team.

More information will be released when available.

High-end art stolen in North Bay

North Bay police are investigating the theft of high-end art from a residence on Silver Lady Lane, off Trout Lake, early Saturday.

The stolen items include a 2’x3′ Jan Van Kessel painting, Limoges casket, 6″ blue/gold plate and 6″ aventurine brush washer.

Please call with any information.

Anyone with information that may assist police with this breakin can call the North Bay Police Service at 705-497-5555 and select option 9 to speak to an officer.

Car kicker gets a date in court

A Sturgeon Falls man faces charges after OPP responded to two mischief complaints on John Street at 12:45 pm Sept. 16.
OPP allege the accused was seen kicking two vehicles, causing excessive damage.
The 32-year-old faces charges of mischief under $5,000 and mischief over $5,000. He is to appear in North Bay court Nov. 10.

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High end art stolen In Silver Lady Lane break-in – BayToday.ca

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Not many details yet, but City Police are investigating the theft of several high-end pieces of art from a Silver Lady Lane home this morning.

Items include a 2’x3′ Jan Van Kessel painting, Limoges casket, 6″ blue/gold plate, and 6″ aventurine brush washer.

Silver Lady Lane runs off Trout Lake Road and a number of expensive and exclusive houses sit on the shores of Trout Lake.

Police are asking for the public’s help.

Jan van Kessel was a Flemish painter active in Antwerp in the mid 17th century.

Wikipedia says he was a versatile artist and he practiced in many genres including studies of insects, floral still lifes, marines, river landscapes, paradise landscapes, allegorical compositions, and scenes with animals.

Van Kessel’s works were highly prized by his contemporaries and were collected by skilled artisans, wealthy merchants, nobles, and foreign luminaries throughout Europe.

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