June is a drinking month.
National Cognac and Moonshine Days were June 4 and 5 respectively, National Bourbon Day is June 14, National Martini Day is June 19 and National Mai Tai Day is June 30.
World Gin Day was June 8 and that sent me on a quest to find five of the best gin cocktails in town. Normally I'm a craft beer/IPA guy, but exploring Buffalo's gin scene opened my eyes to a new world of drinks –– and made me feel about 10 years older in the process.
Some people love it, some people hate it. All I can say is that Buffalo's bars and distilleries serve up some mean gin drinks. Here are my five recommendations for gin cocktails in Buffalo.
1503 Hertel Ave.; 5933 Main St., Williamsville.
Lloyd has a few gin drinks on its menu, but I went for the Last of the Mojitos. The drink beautifully marries gin, green chartreuse, lime, Thai basil and lemongrass into a tangy yet smooth concoction. The drink has a lot of flavors which work pleasantly together, but the botanicals of the gin really shine and aren't overpowered by the chartreuse. It's the perfect drink to enjoy during hot summer days, especially if you pair it with a taco.
517 Washington St.
Like Lloyd, Angelica boasts a number of delicious gin cocktails, but you're going to want to order the Professor Plum. It's a mixture of cognac, plum-infused gin and vermouth.
At first, I was hesitant that the brandy and vermouth would overpower the gin, but after my first sip, I immediately noticed the floral notes of the plum gin. The drink is sweet but not overpowering and overall, a nice spin on a traditional gin cocktail. If you're used to fruitier drinks and not a fan of drier gin cocktails, the Professor Plus is the drink for you.
500 Seneca St.
If we're talking gin cocktails, where else to go but an award-winning distillery? Tommyrotter's American Gin earned a 93/100 in the 2019 Ultimate Spirits Challenge, won silver medals in both the 2016 San Francisco and Denver International Spirits Competitions and earned a 93 by Tasting Panel magazine.
So I had high expectations for my cocktail. The Tommy Prosecco Limonata –– an ounce of Tommyrotter American Gin, two ounces of Prosecco, three ounces of fresh lemonade, two basil leaves and four cucumber slices –– hit it out of the ballpark.
I'm a sucker for Prosecco, which blended nicely with the distillery's gin. The fresh lemonade was to die for, while the basil and cucumber garments offered a refreshing finish to the drink.
444 Forest Ave.
Also featuring Tommyrotter Gin, 100 Acres' Cool Kids Club adds raspberry liqueur, Madagascan vanilla, lemon and orange flower water to create a crisp, citrusy drink perfect for a cool down after a long day walking the Elmwood Village.
The tartness of the raspberry liqueur plays nicely with the orange and lemon notes, while the lick of vanilla faintly adds some sweetness to the mix. The complex melody of flavors was a nice revision of the classic gin cocktail.
149 Swan St.
As an IPA guy, it took me only about five seconds to figure out which of Black Button's gin cocktails I wanted to order when I saw its second menu item: the Belgian 75. The cocktail features two ounces of gin, half an ounce of lemon juice, a quarter-of-an-ounce of simple syrup and five ounces of IPA.
Wondering how beer and gin could possibly work positively together, I rolled the dice and ordered the drink. And I wasn't disappointed. The IPA gives the drink a strong body while the simple syrup and gin work to sweeten things up and the lemon juice gives a tangy finish. If you're a beer lover looking to explore more complicated cocktails, you can't go wrong with the Belgian 75.