With roots stretching all the way back to the 13th century, gin is certainly not a new spirit. From gin-crazed and bootlegging origins through to its regular appearances in popular culture (characters in the Great Gatsby, as well as James Bond himself, are known fans of the spirit), it has long been a fixture in our drinks cabinet.
However, in the last few years, something about the juniper-based spirit has captured the imagination of bartenders and drinkers alike. Toronto has seen a huge uptick in the number of gin distilleries and venues with a strong gin focus – and it's no surprise. Gin is a sippable, versatile spirit that even the most seasoned drinkers will never get tired of drinking. Similar to wine, gin is terroir-driven, using the selected botanicals to create a distinct sense of place. Though it's an acquired taste like whiskey, gin is a much more approachable spirit that won't cost you a fortune to build up a collection. Bartenders love the versatility of gin for cocktails like the classic French 75 and Gimlet all the way through to quirky mixologist creations – but it's also delicious in a simple G&T.
While spirits often claim to be unique, ungava truly is a gin unlike any other. The Canadian crafted spirit is the only yellow gin, meaning that the other gins on the market literally pale in comparison. The rare hand-foraged Arctic botanicals from Ungava Bay that can be found in ungava Gin include Nordic juniper, cloudberry, Labrador tea and rosehip. What gives the gin its bright yellow colour is the infusion of rosehip after distillation, which means its distinctive hue is all natural. It's exactly this adventurous and unexpected character that makes ungava an exciting spirit that both new and long-time gin fans will want to try.
Toronto Gin Trail
548 King St W.
Start your Toronto Gin Trail on the patio of this cozy pub on King. Belfast Love has long been a fave for grabbing a pint or watching big games, but they'll be shaking things up on June 8 with their Gave a Spritz ($9)cocktail, which combines Ungava Gin, strawberry syrup, soda, cava, mint and lemon zest (available end of May to June 24).
303 King St W.
Toronto's healthiest cocktail bar has been offering clean eating to guests since it opened in 2017. Now, District Eatery is getting in on the Toronto Gin Trail fun with a special Ungava cocktail. Head to their rooftop patio, order some yummy vegan snacks and pair them with a Rhubarb & Fennel Gin Fizz ($9.25), made with Ungava Gin, rhubarb liqueur, lemon, egg whites and fennel bitters (available June 1- end of summer).
65 Front St W.
Undoubtedly one of the best things to come out of Union Station's revitalization project is Amano Pasta, the first sit down restaurant to open in the renovated space. In addition to being a hub for handmade noodles, Amano Pasta boasts a stellar cocktail program. Stop in for a Pavlov’s Dog ($14), whichshakes upUngava gin with salted rosemary syrup, grapefruit juice and torched rosemary (available June 1 – end of July).
Drake One Fifty
150 York St.
With stacks of contemporary art and uber chic furnishings, we could spend hours just gazing around this beautiful financial district spot. But if we had to stick around for a cocktail (twist our arm why don't you?) let's just say it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Drake One Fifty has a seriously deep drink list with a mix of classic cocktails and newer creations, like the Float like a Butterfly ($15), made with Ungava Gin, Strega (Italian herbal liqueur), lemon, wildflower honey, teapot bitters, bee pollen and egg white (available indefinitely).
99 Queen St E.
Located inside a former TV studio, rock’n’roll discotheque and Disney rehearsal studio, you might be expecting razzle-dazzle when you set foot in Carbon Bar. However, the Queen East spot, with its industrial chic aesthetic and southern comfort food menu, is a relaxed space where you can grab post-work drinks and share platters with friends. The Bumboleo ($15) – consisting of Ungava gin, lemon juice, honey syrup and Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters, with a rim of strawberry sugar, black pepper, and salt – is the perfect way to round out your Gin Toronto Trail (available May 18th - June 18th).
Start The Toronto Gin Trail at Belfast Love on King W and work your way along the route until you end up at Carbon Bar on Queen East.
1 of 6
This year, we're celebrating International Gin Day with the ungava Toronto Gin Trail on June 9 – a.k.a. a ready-made bar crawl where you can learn more about mixology while raising a glass to the start of patio season. Gin-thusiasts can visit the restaurants and bars along the route (save the map below to direct you) and try out a new ungava Gin cocktail at each stop. Start your day at Belfast Love before making your way through the entertainment district to check off the other iconic venues on the trail (District Eatery, Amano Pasta, Drake One Fifty and Carbon Bar)
If that whets your appetite, you can get $3 off a bottle of ungava Gin at the LCBO from June 23 - July 20 (regularly $35.95 for 750ml).