There's A New Gin In Town

And vodka. And white rye. I got to taste all three spirits from Dillon's Distillers, straight up and in cocktails, at the latest in the Death Row Meals Uncorked series. The event took place at Lil' Baci in midtown and was well worth the trip.

Along with samples of each of the spirits neat, we were treated to cocktail creations by Allison Slute along with a fantastic charcuterie board from Woodbridge's Dolce Lucano.

  • Allison's Method 95 & Cran
    • 1 oz cranberry syrup
    • ½ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
    • 1½ oz Dillon's Method 95 Vodka
    • Dillon's Bitter Cranberry
    • club soda
    In a rocks glass, combine cranberry syrup, lemon juice and vodka. Add a few dashes of bitters. Fill with ice and top with soda.
  • 22 & Tonic
    • 1½ oz Dillon's Unfiltered Gin 22
    • tonic water
    • lime wedge
    Fill a rocks glass with ice. Combine equal amounts gin and tonic water and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with a lime wedge.
  • White Old Fashioned
    • 1 tsp white sugar
    • Dillon's Bitter Orange
    • Dillon's Bitter Lemon
    • 1½ oz Dillon's The White Rye
    • lemon & orange twists
    In a cocktail shaker, dissolve sugar with bitters. Add rye and stir with ice to combine. Strain into an old fashioned glass with ice and garnish with lemon and orange twists

While the cocktails were all delicious, and put me in a summer at the pond state of mind, I've got to talk about the naked taste of each spirit. The white rye, made with 100% Ontario rye, was all about the taste of the grain. It's a small batch, distilled in copper pots, and unoaked, so you get the pure flavour of the rye while still being smooth.

The Unfiltered Gin 22 has a base of local Niagara grapes and finished with 22 botanicals, then vapour distilled. There's a hint of sweetness to this gin, playing off the complex mix of botanicals.

But my favourite spirit by far was the Method 95 vodka. Geoff Dillon describes the taste as somewhere between a traditional vodka and a grappa. That's pretty spot on. Distilled from a base of Niagara Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes, there's a complex sweetness here that makes it the first vodka I could see myself sipping straight up. Absolutely delicious.

Dillon's Distillers is located at 4833 Tufford Road in Beamsville, ON. You can check out their beautifully packaged, easy-drinking products at their tasting room, which is open Fridays through Sundays, 11 am to 5 pm. For mor info, call Dillon's at 905.563.3030 or e-mail them.


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