Shining best with the zing of citrus and a muddle of herbs, gin is the ultimate spring spirit. Here are four diverse bottles to keep in your bar.

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Beefeater London Dry Gin 750 mL, $27
If you only have room for one bottle of gin in your liquor cabinet, Beefeater’s your man. It’s a classic London dry gin, sharp and citrusy with a strong baseline of juniper. From a G&T to a martini, it will cover all your bases, and it’s a favourite among Negroni fanatics, as it can stand up to Campari’s aggressive bitterness.

Dillon’s Gin 22 Unfiltered 750 mL, $40
From a new micro-distillery in Niagara, this award-winning gin is for people who claim to not like gin. Made with 22 botanicals, the flavour profile is very floral and pretty with juniper playing a secondary role. It’s at its best in modern libations with muddled berries or fresh fruit purées.

Plymouth English Gin 750 mL, $45
Made by Coates & Co in Plymouth, England since 1793, this spirit has a unique piney aroma, not unlike a Christmas tree. It was listed as the gin of choice in the first recorded recipe of a dry martini, and plays especially well with lemon and lime in classic cocktails.

Bruichladdich The Botanist Islay Dry Gin 750 mL, $50
Complex, perfectly balanced and smooth with a ‘v’, this Scottish spirit is distilled on an island known more for its smoky single malts. Its subtleties are wasted on most cocktails. Enjoy it on the rocks, or in a bone-dry martini where the vermouth is applied with an eyedropper, or better yet, left in the fridge.

Southside
Sweet, sour and infused with fresh mint, toast the warm weather with this simple classic.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
6 mint leaves
¾ ounces simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
2 ounces London dry or Plymouth gin
¾ ounces fresh-squeezed
Lemon juice
Ice cubes

Directions:
1. Chill a coupe or cocktail glass in the freezer for 5 minutes.
2. Muddle 5 mint leaves and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add gin and lemon juice. Fill ¾ with ice. Shake vigorously until ice cold, 8 to 10 seconds. Fine-strain into chilled glass. Garnish with remaining mint leaf and serve immediately.

Written by: Eric Vellend