I feel incredibly lucky to have access to this gin. A locally produced gin (Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island), from scratch, using local suppliers for the wheat and classic botanicals, Ampersand is an organic gin that is absolutely gorgeous both on its own and in mixed drinks. It is possibly the most classic yet versatile gin I have tasted.
I need a new car (stay with me here, I’ll bring this back to gin), but it’s taking me a long time for me to find the perfect car without having to compromise on my wants. Primarily I want a car that’s fun to drive and responsive enough that I can feel like I could be a race (or rally) car driver in it, but I also need it to be able to haul my dive gear and dog in the back and be comfortable on long road trips, while not looking like a trendy, flashy bells and whistles drug dealer get away car. Tall order, I know, and you are probably asking yourself what this has to do with Ampersand Gin.
Well the truth is that if Ampersand were a car it would meet nearly all of my criteria. Bright and happy, it is peppy, fun and timeless without jumping on the unique botanical train that tends to polarize lovers and haters. It’s also both classy and versatile without being boring – like a little black dress you can crumple into a ball, travel halfway around the world with, shake out and wear as is or dress up any way you want. In all fairness, maybe it can’t hold my dive gear or my dog, but it sure was well-enjoyed on my last dive trip as a post-dive libation!
Drink it neat and enjoy its simple summery, bright classic taste, or mix it in any type of drink. In a G&T it goes well with basic or complex tonics, complimenting them without getting lost in them.
Smell – citrus and juniper jump to the front, followed by light spiciness.
Taste neat – Soft, round and bright, obvious citrus, with a medium strength juniper rounding into a floral hint supported delicately by warm spice notes. No single flavor overpowers, and the whole mixture is bold in a classic way, yet delicately sweet.
In a G&T – My current favorite combo is with Fever Tree Naturally Light Indian tonic water and lemon peel, however it is also non-intrusive and compliments (rather than clashes with) tonics that are heavier on the botanicals, such as Fentimans. Other garnishes, including orange and rosemary, and bitters, are also excellent options.