The fine Bracebridge-based Muskoka Brewery, two hours north of Toronto in the heart of Ontario cottage country, is now also a distillery. Not content to sit back (in their Muskoka armchairs, presumably), the owners bought a still in 2015 and (presumably) sat back in those armchairs and pondered what to do with it. A partnership with craft distillery Junction 56 of Stratford, Ont., led to experimentation, which eventually led to this recipe.
The strange name is borrowed from the company's excellent seasonal Legendary Oddity ale, which happens to feature a few of gin's key botanical flavourings, including juniper, orris root and orange peel. For this gin, they even threw in Sorachi Ace hops, responsible for the beer's bitter backbone.
Bottled at the standard 40-per-cent alcohol, the spirit is pleasantly creamy, with a gently sweet centre balanced by lively spice. Crafted in the London-dry style, it nevertheless comes across with less of the shaving-cream juniper essence of some of the large British brands, favouring earthier, hay-like tones along with citrus, a subtle and refreshing pine-like breeze and a whisky-like heather essence. (Heather tips are in fact used to add bitterness to the beer and were included in the gin.) The legend lives on in spirit. Available in select LCBO stores in Ontario, through LCBO Online and at the brewery.