All forms of alcohol capture something of their origins. Wines vary as the climate, soil, and topography do. Spirits, however, take the essence of some thing—barley, botanicals, corn, or rye—to produce a less skittish and more potent liquid. The distiller’s motto: find a formula you like, guard it with your life, and replicate it.
Over the course of four years and about 100 recipe revisions, Ryan Csanky has been honing the recipe for his Aria Portland dry gin. To blend traditional gins with what he calls Northwest Pride, he tweaks the proportions of 10 ingredients from North Africa, Madagascar, and other ports of call: juniper, coriander, angelica, cardamom, grains of paradise, cubeb berry, orris root, lemon zest, orange zest, and cassia bark. “But the water is all local, all Cascade,” says Csanky, cofounder of Martin Ryan Distilling Company and bar manager at Wildwood. “This purity and softness contribute to the uniqueness of a Portland gin.”
Aria stands midway between London dry and the more pronounced, Plymouth-style gins. With an intense botanical freshness followed by a warm surge of alcohol, it combines with Bull Run Distilling Co’s Medoyeff vodka and Imbue’s sweet vermouth to round out a Portland take on a classic Vesper martini.
Find Aria Portland dry gin at local liquor stores for $24. Visit ariagin.com for more information.