Using Quinoa in Whisky


Finding out what pairs with your favorite whisky is just a Google search away, however, discovering what pairs well with 100% Canadian-grown quinoa whisky will be a whole new experience for whisky-lovers. That’s because it’s never been done before, and we won’t be able to find out for several months because it’s currently sitting in a barrel in Saskatoon, waiting for the perfect moment to be uncorked and taste-tested.

We recently had the honour of meeting with Caylin Holland, Head Distiller and creator of Stumbletown’s impressive line-up of spirits to talk about his upcoming new product, quinoa whisky. Caylin has been Stumbletown’s head distiller for just a couple of years. His enthusiasm for the craft and for local ingredients is contagious.

When asked how Caylin came to choose quinoa an ingredient for their quinoa whisky, Caylin tells us that it’s the nutty flavor that drew him in. He thought it would go very well in a chocolate malted heavy whisky. Caylin said he tried to use oats at first but it just didn’t have the same depth and flavor profile that quinoa brings. “We used to use whole seed but now we use quinoa flakes because it’s more convenient to use a milled product.”

For Caylin, using mainly ingredients local to Saskatchewan is a high priority. This includes snap peas, lentils, and NorQuin Quinoa, all grown right here. One of Stumbletown’s most prized ingredients comes from Makers Malt. “We have always used Makers Malt. They make amazing malt and its super awesome to see local farmers making value added products and to see the craft industry starting to lean into “terroir” concepts and making products that you know not only what region they came from, but which field!”

Caylin says he enjoys playing with flavours and loves how much creative freedom there is in the craft brewing industry. “People are excited about someone else’s creative take on a product that you won’t find in mass-produced distilleries and breweries.” Caylin further explains, “The craft brewing industry is a great community to be a part of. Everyone is helpful and it feels very non-competitive. If you’re trying something new, everyone is happy to give advice.”

During tours, Caylin tells us that his customers are always intrigued. “We are showing them distilled products they never heard of before. That’s always exciting!”

At NorQuin, we are proud to have our quinoa flakes featured in this unique product and are counting down the months with you to finally taste the results!

Article by Chris Wood, Customer Service