PORTOBELLO ROAD GIN LCBO 548339, $44.95
The operators of The Ginstitute in London, England, who created this beguilingly smooth gin, proudly say it “eschews the contemporary trend for ever more esoteric ingredients.” Nine classic botanicals including cassia and nutmeg back up a traditional juniperforward flavour.
SIPSMITH LONDON DRY GIN LCBO 391177, $49.95
This microdistillery opened in 2009 in London, producing a classic gin in very small batches, using water from the famously pure Lydwell Spring, source of the River Thames. Very smooth and mellow, it offers a touch of lemon tart and orange peel behind the dry juniper facade. Sweet, grainy gin was first produced in Holland in Renaissance times when juniper was believed to be a way of warding off the plague. Today, London dry gin, perfected in the 1820s, is a more familiar style. The classic profile leads off with spicy, resinous juniper backed with dry citrus peels, earthy orris root, coriander and angelica, amongst other treasures. Vermouth has a similar aromatic pedigree, which is why it combines with gin so happily to make a great Dry Martini. Here are two modern gins from London that proudly maintain the classical balance of flavours, both also splendid in a Gin & Tonic.