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It's 100 proof and 100 percent delicious.
When I wandered into the Delta Hotel’s new restaurant Stock and Supply, which opened its doors last Monday, I was not expecting to find a drink that made me relive my wildest college days.
There are tons of delicious-sounding drinks on their cocktail menu (East Van vodka, watermelon juice and cucumber bitters? Yes please) but one in particular simultaneously fascinated me… and repulsed me. The culprit behind the strong reaction and the core of the drink in question, aptly named the Mongrel, is moonshine. Aka white lighting. Aka white dog. Aka hooch.
Traditionally, moonshine is any kind of liquor made illegally. Nowadays, it’s generally defined as a type of alcohol with similar ingredients to whiskey but without the aging process—i.e. it’s bottled straight of the still without time to let any of the bite die down.
I have a love-hate relationship with the stuff. At home in North Carolina, we always had a mason jar of the stuff in our cabinet, made by our eccentric grey-haired neighbour. It would take over a year to get through because it’s very, very strong. Like eye-watering, gag-inducing, is-rumoured-to make-you-go-blind-if-you-drink-too-much strong. It isn’t experienced through taste so much as feel — a feeling that could most accurately be described as searing pain all the way down your throat and into your stomach. It may be disgusting, but it’s also very alcoholic and cheap and therefore a broke college student’s best friend (enemy?). We used to mix it with green Gatorade, resulting in a liquid closer to windshield wiper fluid than palatable mixed drink.
But I’ve grown up, my standards have raised, my tastes have refined and I really thought I’d never see white lightning in Vancouver, not to mention drink it.
Bar Manager Will Wong mixes a drink
So you can understand why I was surprised to find moonshine on the same menu as chili infused tequila and rosemary syrup at Stock and Supply. To be fair, it doesn’t say “moonshine” but bar manager Will Wong is all too happy to let me know that’s exactly what Odd Society Spirits’ Mongrel is.
“It’s 50 percent,” he warns me. And indeed the drink’s tagline is “For when your drink needs a drink.” I proceeded cautiously with a tentative first sip.
My first thought: “This can’t possibly have moonshine in it.”
The chai syrup, made from cinnamon and vanilla, marries beautifully with the bite of the ginger beer. Both flavours are delicate enough to let the nuances of the moonshine show, yet strong enough to calm some of the usual sting of the 100 proof drink.
Odd Society’s Mongrel, which is leaps above the barely drinkable beverage brewed in backyards all over the American South, brings a smooth creaminess with a more subdued bite and its own spiciness.
The resulting beverage is a refreshing and layered cocktail that envelops me in just the right amount of nostalgia.
Stock and Supply’s Happy Hour curry Crab Fritters and vibrant, Instagram-worthy build-your-own boards from Chef Mike Reid are also worth a mention. This Southern girl is thoroughly impressed.
Visit Stock and Supply at the Delta Hotel at 550 West Hastings Street.
Stock & Supply’s Build-Your-Own-Board