What to drink: Three classic spirits from Ontario distillers

Mix your next cocktail with locally made gin, rum or vodka


It’s always enticing to try spirits from far-off countries but there’s something special about a bottle from Ontario distillers. Maybe it’s the feeling of hometown pride or supporting local businesses, or maybe they just make damn good alcohol.

Either way, Ontario has a plethora of distillers and countless options for those of us who want to imbibe from time to time. Mostly made in small batches by families and friends using local ingredients, you can tell yourself you’re doing a public good while downing a cocktail. 

Dillon’s Rose Gin

This rose gin uses their award-winning Dry Gin 7 as it’s base, infusing it with rosehips and rose petals and sweetening it with cane sugar. Their signature seven botanicals are complemented by citrus, balsam and cinnamon, which adds a little heat. They make four other gins but rose is definitely the most coquettishly disarming of the bunch. Drink it as an apéritif or use it to jazz up a sleepy gin and tonic.

Beamsville, Ontario. Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers (4833 Tufford, store.dillons.ca), $50/750 ml; or LCBO (lcbo.com), $24.95/375 ml. Ontario-wide shipping available. 

Kinsip Dark Waters Rum

This rum is decadent. The flavours going on in this bottle – honeysuckle, citrus, tea, caramel, orange marmalade, coconut, vanilla, cigar, oak – give it an intense balance between sweet and savoury. 

Bloomfield, Ontario. $59.95/750 ml. Kinsip House of Fine Spirits (66 Gilead, kinsip.ca). Ontario-wide shipping available. 

Spirit of York Vodka

A premium vodka made right at home. They pride themselves on using 100 per cent Ontario rye wheat, leading to a crisp and clean vodka with hints of a green apple and a little spice. 

Toronto. $44.95/750 ml. Spirit of York Distillery Co. (12 York, spiritofyork.com) or LCBO (lcbo.com).  

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Three excellent ciders to try in fall 2020

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