Summer Cocktails and Ontario’s Gin Craze!

Local craft distillers are making their mark with distinct spirits to be enjoyed year-round

By Jeffery L. Peterson.

Let’s talk about gin. Though many think of drinking gin in the summer months, there are many classic gin cocktails that can be enjoyed any time of year.

Gin, a clear, distinctly flavoured spirit, has been loved by many since the 16th century, though there is evidence it has been around as far back as the Middle Ages. Gin, as we know it today, is distilled in many different styles and flavours, but there’s one thing they all have in common: juniper berries.

Though Canadians have been producing  this clear, fragrant spirit for years, small craft distillers in Ontario (mainly Niagara, Toronto and Prince Edward County) have really made their mark in the past few years and there are more popping up all the time.

Here are a few of my favourites:

Spirit of York Distillery Co., Gin

Hailing from Toronto’s Distillery District, this crisp and refreshing gin is distilled with 15 hand-chosen botanicals. Try it on its own or in your favourite cocktail.

Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers, Unfiltered Gin 22

Distilled in the Niagara region, predominantly known for wine, this grape-based gin would be perfect in your favourite martini. This gin, with clean floral and citrus notes, is full of flavour. 

Kinsip House of Fine Sprits, Juniper’s Wit Gin

Made in Bloomfield (Prince Edward County), this unique gin is distilled using a process they call “grain to glass” using local juniper and lavender. Try it on its own or with one of their amazing house made bitters. I love the Lavender Lemon.

Cocktails to Try at Home:

One of my favourite gin-based cocktails is the classic French 75, which is made with gin, lemon juice and topped with a brut sparkling wine or Champagne.

Another favourite is the classic G&T with freshly squeezed grapefruit and a sprig of rosemary. The mix of rosemary and grapefruit is delicious.

Try a simple G&T with flavoured bitters to enhance your Friday night cocktail.

Gin is a very versatile spirit so you can try different mixers and as always… HAVE FUN!

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