Four Canadian Gins To Sip On This Summer

By Christopher Penrose

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The very nature of gin is a versatile spirit. Made of a neutral grain, the ubiquitous spirit is given character and personality by its botanicals – the most important of which is juniper. Increasingly, distillers are looking at gin as a blank canvas to introduce unique botanical combinations and innovations upon time-tested processes. The result? A dazzling array of varietals that are bold and memorable. Here are a few Canadian recommendations that we suggest you try.


Oshlag Hibiscus Gin
Montreal, QC

A spirit that is visually stunning on its own or in a cocktail, this floral take on gin marries a lemon and labrador tea with citrus and earthy notes. Combine that with the slow soaking of hibiscus flower and you’re all set for a drink that offers depth of flavor with the added sparkle of pink grapefruit. $40 for 500mL




Willibald Gin
Ayr, ON

Comprised of six botanicals, the strength of this gin isn’t so much in its unique notes, but rather the process. Willibald gin sources 100 percent Ontario grains, is distilled in a copper pot still, and then aged in American oak casks, resulting in a gin that can be your home bar go-to.
$45 for 750mL




Empress 1908 Gin
Victoria, BC

An homage to the iconic tea service at the Fairmont Empress hotel in Victoria, BC, this regal bottle contains eight botanicals, like juniper, grapefruit peel, rose petal, and butterfly pea blossom. It’s the last ingredient that gives this spirit its characteristic hue. $50 for 750mL






Dillon’s Cherry Gin
Beamsville, ON

Using Niagara cherries and a combination of botanicals for finishing, this bottle combines sweet and heat in a unique and unexpected way. It’s best enjoyed in a cocktail or as an aperitif. $25 for 375mL




Bar Star
What’s a great booze collection if you can’t show it off properly? Designed by Toni Grillo, Roche Bobois’ Roller Bar Unit is a gorgeous and functional bar that morphs before your eyes when opened. A place to house all your special spirits, it features two rolling doors with four shelves and comes in a handsome walnut veneer that will be the envy of all your friends come cocktail hour. Price available upon request.



Bitter, much?
“Bitters are the salt and pepper of the cocktail world. With the proportionate addition of the right bitters to the right serve, the simplest mixed drink is elevated from good to extraordinary. Think about gin — rich with botanicals, with many cocktail directions to travel towards. Our Bittered Sling Grapefruit & Hops bitters move a simple Gin & Tonic to a zesty and floral outcome. Really the only thing holding you back is your imagination.” – Lauren Mote, co-owner, Bittered Sling Bitters