If anyone knows what bartenders need, it’s Geoff Dillon, the founder of Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers in Beamsville. Along with his (mostly) rye-based gins, vodka, whisky and canned gin cocktails, he’s also introduced a line of liqueurs made from quality local products and designed to go straight into your cocktail shaker or mixing glass.
Craving a Sazerac? He’s got an absinthe for that. In the mood for a Kir Royale? Yep, there’s a blackcurrant liqueur. Thinking to try your hand at a White Negroni but struggling to find Suze? Try the Dillon’s gentian liqueur instead. And, of course, if you’re searching for an orange liqueur for a Margarita or Sidecar, well, he’s got that, too, along with amaretto, chocolate, coffee, limoncello and peach.
Less strictly cocktail friendly, perhaps, but perfect for sweet after-supper sipping are the gin-based liqueurs from Junction 56 in Stratford. While the chocolate and coffee liqueurs would be good for mixing, the gingerbread, candy cane and pumpkin spice flavours are destined to be favourites around the holiday table, on ice or as is.
Meanwhile, in Perth, Top Shelf Distillers has brewed a batch of moonshines and liquors in a truly impressive array of flavours. The apple pie, peach crumble, cream puff, saskatoon berry pie and butter tart flavours are (literally) dessert in a glass. But if you are looking for cocktail mixers, try the Top Shelf Mint or Reunion cherry or raspberry moonshine—or the range of cream liqueurs just crying out to be added to a special coffee.