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Gin & tonic — with a Buffalo twist

The gin and tonic still stands as a classic all-season cocktail, whether enjoyed on a shaded front porch or outdoor patio of a sun-swept wedding reception.

But with two ingredients — along with its lime wedge and accompanying citrus juice — dramatic variations of the drink are hard to come by. It thrives in its refreshing simplicity, so why deviate from perfection?

Thankfully, Buffalo boasts local gin distilleries intent on varying your dependable G&T experience with the character of its complex spirits. Here are four to patronize for an on-site taste or to augment your own homespun servings.

Black Button Distillery

149 Swan St.

The local distiller, relatively new to downtown, offers its Citrus Forward Gin for those looking to add a flavor twist to their classic gin and tonic. Because it only uses about 1/3 of the juniper of other gins, Black Button manager JR Hutton said it can also be used in ways you wouldn’t think of using a traditional gin. “I mixed it with loganberry and it was outstanding,” said Hutton.

Lakeward Spirits

65 Vandalia St.

Situated in a converted box factory in the Old First Ward, Lakeward distills a botanical and juniper-accented gin crafted for year-round consumption, but best mixed in the warmer months — and for smooth enjoyment off the nearby waterfront. Andi Bystran of Lakeward recommends serving its Wild Gin with the distiller’s homemade tonic — a doubly crafted treat.

Lockhouse Distillery & Bar

41 Columbia St.

Nestled in the city’s Cobblestone District, Lockhouse offers downtown gin enthusiasts a few options for mixing up your gin & tonic routine. One of them, Sakura gin, is infused with cherry; here’s how Cory Muscato of Lockhouse recommends serving it:

1.5 oz Sakura gin
3 oz Johnny Ryan tonic water (locally made)

Rub the inside of a large wine glass with lemon and grapefruit rinds, put rinds in bottom of glass with a few large ice cubes and a small pinch of salt, add tonic and gin. Garnish with fresh ginger placed on a cocktail skewer.

Tommyrotter Distillery

500 Seneca St.

Just over the hill from the ebullient Larkin Square, Tommyrotter pours a classic, pot-stilled American gin that’s earned recognition in competitions in Denver and San Francisco. International renown aside, it makes enough of a quenching impact inside Queen City cocktail glasses.

“The best gin & tonic with our gin is garnished with a cinnamon stick and orange peel rather than a lime,” said Bobby Finan, Tommyrotter partner and master distiller.

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