Drink of the Week: Stray Dog Wild Gin - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Drink of the Week: Stray Dog Wild Gin

It took me a minute to comfortably talk about terroir without feeling like a parody of myself or drinks writers everywhere. But it’s a really useful way to analyze what you taste. The beverage business is rife with convoluted corporate ownership structures, so determining whether what’s in my glass reflects the land, people, and culture that it came from helps me cut through the noise. When I try a new gin, I find myself wondering what sorts of botanicals and ingredients are in the bottle—and why. Do they connect me to the place where it was distilled? Are there historical and cultural ties? Or is this more of a free-wheeling style expression? You may find these sorts of questions fascinating or exhausting. Either way, give Stray Dog Wild Gin a try.

It’s clean and crisp without being boring, and possesses distinctly Mediterranean aromas and flavors thanks to wild-foraged ingredients like mountain sage, fennel, and bay leaf. There’s also an unmistakable note of mastiha, the solidified pine resin that’s distilled into an eponymous spirit across Greece. Its 24-hour juniper maceration features berries from local farms. It uses mountain spring water sourced near its distillery in Aridaia, a picturesque area of northern Greece. 

Husband-wife duo Johnny Livanos and Adriana Solely, two longtime drinks industry professionals, created Stray Dog in 2020. Because they’re both passionate about animals, they give a portion of the company’s income to Save a Greek Stray, an Athens-based animal welfare nonprofit.

I know what you’re thinking: “That’s nice and all, but is the gin any good?” Happily, yes. Stray Dog Gin is interesting enough to drink on its own but doesn’t overpower cocktails. I’ve sipped it over a large rock with an olive thrown into the glass—yamas!—mixed it into a Negroni, and used it in a dry Martini. I’d like to say that, with every sip, I contemplated terroir anew, but that’s boldly untrue. Still, it’s pleasant to drink something so indicative of its origins, whether you’re sipping it on the banks of a Macedonian mountain spring or sprawled on your couch. $43, straydoggin.com

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