Tuesday April 28
Today, gin can be summed up simplyâ€¦.. itâ€™s one of the best summer drinks with its thirst quenching ways, its ease of use in a great many cocktails andÂ its necessary presence at any balmy, midyear social event. Intriguingly, this was not always the case. Gin in history has had quite the questionable and shadowy past which brings us to the premise of the class so aptly named Gin, Glorious Gin. A tasting based on Olivia Williams book “Gin, Glorious Gin”, we as a class explored the recesses of seldom talked about gin lore, aided, of course, by a few samples of the devilish liquid to lubricate the journey.
To start was Hayman’s Old Tom, the name itself just stinking of gin’s checkered past. This sweeter style of gin was easily a favorite, being so quaff-able on its own and requiring little to no mixer. Historically,Â the Old Tom style perpetuates this tasteÂ due to its origins (i.e.. bathtub distilling)Â in which cheaper gin was flavored with liquorice or cane sugar to mask the more “unappealing” notes. Coming in second for the night, this steal of a deal stole the show right from the get go. $32.49
Next on the roster was Canada’s own Dillon’s 22 Botanical. As everyone dug their noses into their glasses, I was met with many quizzical looks. This spirit was quite the oddity, a loop after the first. Heavier than the first (even though the Old Tom was sweetened), this gin exhibited a unique density. Not a definitive favorite for the night, but an agreeable cocktailing gin that anyone could enjoy. $44.99
The stunning color of this gin always stands out amongst the crowd anytime itâ€™s included in a lineup. Ungava, another of Canada’s unique releases, shines a lustrous golden yellow making it quite the eye catcher. With its many accolades, we had no choice but to throw this spectacle into the pit and see what the crowd would do with it. With many shocked by its appearance alone, it left a lasting impression until the end of the night,Â just barely being edged out by another in the favoriteâ€™s poll. Check their site for some fantastic cocktail options! Â $34.99
Breuckelen Glorious Gin, the name says it all, what more could you say? True to style, it is a gob smacking gin, perfectly perfumed, dry as a bone and crisp as can be dream. This gin belongs on the top tier alongside the legends. My favorite of the night, I can tell you what I’ll be drinking all summer long. $59.99
From the folks at Anchor Distilling, the Junipero (like the aforementioned bottle, the name says it all) unloads wave upon wave of gin’s defining quality unto your senses. An overload of juniper, we couldn’t have asked for a more “ginny” gin. With its slightly boosted alcohol strength coming in at 47%, it can sure pack aÂ wallop. Great alongside dry tonics, this gin excels in a slight dilution not requiring quite as much in your glass, ideally making your bottle last longer, ideally. $53.99
Ending the night on a wild card, I decided to throw in Alberta’s own Eau Claire Distillery’s Spring Equinox. Based onÂ the ideals of gin, this prickly pear infused drink was the crowd pleaser. Full of intense, fresh prickly pear notes, it’s quite obvious as to why everyone loved it. If you haven’t had the chance to experience this wonder, come by the shop and give it a try. $52.99