Canada-born actor Ryan Reynolds might be better known for Deadpool, but it turns out the 44-year-old and I have a lot in common. By a lot, I mean we both like gin.
Reynolds took the love affair a bit further, however, becoming co-owner of Portland Oregon-based Aviation American Gin in 2018. The story goes that he bought his “sizeable” share in the company because this particular drop was the best one he’d ever tasted.
It is a great gin. Its aim is to provide a less juniper-led flavour profile and I expect that’s what makes for its smooth delivery and easy drinking. Forget about those fancy flavoured tonics, just stick with a good, plain one. If you are feeling flamboyant, swap out your lemon for a slice of lime, and Sam’s your uncle.
Our home-grown brands are not taking any prisoners when it comes to the global gin stage. Among those that came home with a silver medal at the 2021 London Spirits Competition and a gold at the 2021 NZ Spirits Awards is Humdinger Dry Gin, a bottle produced at Geraldine’s one and only distillery, by husband and wife duo, Andrew and Saskia Lewis.
Surpassing subtle citrus notes are botanical, almost floral and sweet, temptations. From the smell alone, you expect something interesting, but I was still surprised.
Intending to sip it on the rocks for tasting’s sake, I never did add tonic – and that’s not normal. It’s neither sharp nor astringent, but pleasant and soft. Drink it neat by the fire, let the ice melt and ease your way to the bottom of the glass. Then repeat. I know I will be.
Another award-winning gin, this time out of Arrowtown, is Quartz Gin by Rifters – one of the two Kiwi gin companies that won a gold medal at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a silver medal-winner at the 2021 NZ Spirits Awards.
Pop off the top and my nose said liquorice and mint, two of the 13 botanicals in this rich medley. The taste is strong in this one. It will be a real re-education for those who like their G&Ts mellow – you’ll sit up and take notice with this one. A lovely winter warmer.