The Alberta Distillery Uncovering Prairie Terroir

Field Notes Spirits is the best of Alberta and the world.

Faaiza Ramji, co-founder of Field Notes Spirits, didn’t know that she was going to make liquor when she started exploring the potential of peas, a widely grown but underused crop in her home province of Alberta. At the time, Ramji, whose background is in economic development, just wanted to see raw Canadian agricultural products in finished products made and available locally. But luckily for barflies, Ramji, who runs the business alongside co-founder Lindsey Good, the owner and farmer of a 100-year-old property in southern Alberta, found her way to distilling, launching the brand’s first product, a pea-based amaro called Don’t Call Me Sweet Pea, in 2021.

A rarity in more ways than one, Sweet Pea is the first commercial spirit made from peas in North America and one of very few Canadian-made amari. Made in the style of the traditional (and highly regional) bitter liqueurs of Italy, Sweet Pea takes Canadian field-pea spirit and infuses it with elderflower, chamomile, sage, dandelion, and Alberta beet sugar. Notably rounder and less fiercely bitter than many amari, Sweet Pea can be drunk neat or on the rocks after a meal to aid with digestion. Alternatively, Sweet Pea is an ideal Albertan substitute in riffs on traditional amari-forward cocktails such as spritzes and negronis.

Field Notes recently launched its second spirit, Jaya, a liqueur infused with the spices traditionally used in chai, the tea-based drink consumed throughout South Asia. Drawing on her family’s own recipe, passed down through the generations, Jaya is a liquid representation of Ramji’s South Asian heritage mixed with her Albertan roots. The base spirit is distilled from Canadian oats, sweetened with Alberta beet sugar, and infused with assam tea and spices including cardamom and clove. Both Jaya and Sweet Pea represent the best of Alberta, which, like all Canadian provinces, is also the best of the world.

Field Notes Spirits products are available at select retailers and restaurants across Alberta and Canadawide via Sip Liquor Market.