We can’t imagine a better reason to celebrate (responsibly, of course) than this: June 8 is World Gin Day, and all over the world, people are raising a glass to the juniper-scented spirit.
The first World Gin Day was held a decade ago in Birmingham, England; last year saw events in 30 countries, with 200 million people participating on social channels. This year, dozens of gin-soaked events are being held everywhere from London to Tokyo to Sydney and perhaps to your own back yard.
Here in B.C., we think this is a good opportunity to sample some of the great local spirit. Many of the province’s 65 artisanal distilleries are producing gin, often flavoured with local botanicals that range from seaweed to berries to flowers and spruce tips. Check out The Alchemist Tasting Panel’s review of nine of them right here.
Even better? How about a distillery that’s producing both gin and vermouth, so you can get all the fixin’s for your Martini in one spot? Ampersand Distilling in the Cowichan Valley, for instance, recently released its Imperative Dry Vermouth as the perfect partner for its award-winning floral-and-citrus-forward gin. (It was named best gin at the BC Distilled festival in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and won a Gold Medal with Distinction at the 2019 Canadian Artisan Spirit Competition.
The vermouth was created in collaboration with Rathjen Cellars, with a base of organic Ortega and Petit Milo wine and botanicals including the wormwood that gives vermouth its name, as well as orange peel, cardamom, roasted dandelion root, chamomile, juniper, marjoram, orris, calamus and coriander.
Whether you prefer it in a Martini, shaken in a cocktail, topped with tonic, frozen in a popsicle, transformed into a cupcake or simply served neat, one thing is for sure: Gin is in, and World Gin Day is the best time to indulge.
—by Joanne Sasvari