September has arrived but there is still time to enjoy the many iconic drinks of summer – a fruity sangria, a minty mojito, an elegant glass of rosé wine, or a frosted G&T. You might be surprised to read that this Sommelier enjoys something other drinks as well as wine, yet with gin making a comeback, it is interesting to re-discover classic favorites and try some of the artisanal gins that are being made in our own backyard.
The history of gin stems back to 16th-century Holland and since then various styles that have emerged from crystal clear and bone-dry to honey colored and fruity. While you may go local when buying wine, craft beers, artisan cheese and farmers fresh produce, there is a local distiller in Ottawa and several more throughout Ontario making their one-of-a-kind gin to enjoy this summer.
66 Gilead Distillery in Prince Edward County is constantly creating adding a new twist on their portfolio of spirits. Their Loyalist Gin has is loaded with junipers and botanicals including locally grown lavenderas well as heritage hops flowers.Available at the LCBO or the distillery. $43.95 43% alc/vol 66gileaddistillery.com
A traditional London Dry gin made with botanicals such as juniper, berries, coriander, angelica root, lemon zest, cardamom AND parsnips. This secret ingredient gives the drink a very distinctive taste that is hard to pin point on the first or second sip. Parsnip makes it uberrefreshing. “Piger Henricus is not your grandfather’s gin,” remarks founder Stephan Ruffo. Available at the LCBO $39.00 43% alc/vol pigerhenricus.com
Made in Ottawa at North of 7 Distillery – the only one in the city – using juniper berries sourced from Ferme et Forêt in Wakefield, Québec along with a concoction of botanicals (many that are local). Available only from the distillery at 1733 St Laurent Blvd. $39.95 40% alc/vol northof7distillery.ca
Dillon’s Small Batch Distiller in Niagara creates a base using grapes from neigbouring wineries. Herbs, flowers, fruitand other secret ingredients are all sourced from local farmers in the Niagara region. Available at the LCBO or at the distillery Unfiltered Gin 22 $39.95 40% alc/vol, Rose Gin $49.95 38% alc/vol, Cherry Gin And they make Cherry Gin and Strawberry Gin too (available in August at the distillery)! dillons.ca
Gin 101 – the 5 different styles of gin…
London Dry Gin – typically dry & heavily juniper flavoured without any sugar added, classic to use for cocktails & martinis, names you will recognize include Gordon’s, Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater
Plymouth Gin – less dry than its cousin London Dry, infused with more roots to create an earthier softer flavoured gin. Only one brand available, coincidentally called Plymouth Gin
Genever or Dutch Gin – a darker coloured drink made from a base of malt grains. Good for sipping straight up or chilled.
Old Tom Gin – the sweetest of the bunch. Used for making the classic Tom Collins drink. It can be difficult to find, yet be on the lookout for Hayman’s brand.
International Gin – the umbrella style for all gins that are made with ingredients other than juniper berries. Hendrick’sis a brand that is growing in popularity.
Recipes 2 try
Once you have your gin of choice in hand, keep the bottle in the freezer for that opportune moment to shake up a martini or pour a G&T. Since this article is all about discovering different gins, here two recipes to try this summer to mix things up a bit!
from the creators of PigerHenricus
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar or maple sirup
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 ounces gin (why not try Piger Henricus?)
1 small stick of parsnip
Muddle celery with sugar and lemon juice in a blender for 1 minute. Add gin.Pour in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until the outside of shaker becomes frosty (about 30 seconds). Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with parsnip and lemon twist.
If you have ever traveled to England during the summer, you would have noticed that G&Ts have been replaced with a dark-coloured drink called Pimms. This is a cocktail made with a gin based liquor and is the cocktail of choice at Wimbeldon tennis matches….and everywhere else in the UK during the sunshine! Either grab a bottle of the ready-to-mix Pimms from the LCBO ($29.95) or use this do-it-yourself recipe for this classic summertime drink
1 part gin
1 part red vermouth
½ part Cointreau
Club soda, 7UP or Sprite
Mix the ingredients in a pitcher and refrigerate. When ready to serve, add sliced strawberries, sprigs of mint & cucumber to the pitcher and soda, then pour into ice-filled glasses.
For those of you who want to Clink & Drink Pink, check out savvycompany.ca/rose for our monthly assortment of One Dozen Rosés – a selection of 12 bottles of dry, crisp refreshing Rosé wines handpicked by the team of Savvy Sommeliers. Whether it’s the heat or summer or fall on the way, we have lots of tips for you to enjoy great Ontario wines.
Enjoy your Long Weekend!