An American Gin Renaissance
Aria Portland Dry Gin ($24)
“Making this gin was almost like being a perfume blender,” says Aria co-owner Ryan Csanky. “We did many mini distillations of individual botanicals, like exotic cubeb berries (an Indonesian spice) and grains of paradise (a West African spice). We blended them with other essences to figure out what we wanted in the final product.” What he and co-owner Erik Martin arrived at is somewhere between a London Dry and Plymouth-style gin, which Csanky says makes an excellent classic martini. “It plays well with vermouth—a lot or a little—and is great with olives and lemons,” he says. ariagin.com.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.