Meet the Team introduces you to the writers and experts behind Gin Magazine and gin-mag.com, as they talk about their lives both in and outside the gin world. This week, we meet Canadian spirits connoisseur Blair Phillips. Blair covers Canada’s growing gin scene and is the Canadian contributing editor for Gin Magazine’s sister title, Whisky Magazine. You can follow Blair on Facebook @CanadianDistilleries, on Twitter @Blair_Phillips and on Instagram @Liquid6.
Gin Magazine (GM): How did you end up in the gin world, and what do you like most about working in it?
Blair Phillips (BP): The deep dive into gin began while Davin de Kergommeaux and I travelled across Canada researching our book, The Definitive Guide to Canadian Distilleries. It’s a sprawling country with varying climates and growing conditions. Watching how distilleries combine their gin’s flavours with botanicals exclusive to their backyards was exciting. Hearing the distiller’s story and how they build their gin’s flavour is always a highlight. The creativity and range in the spirit is a lot of fun to explore.
GM: What did you do in your pre-gin life?
BP: I spent some time out of university working as a musician and then a few broadcasting jobs while taking writing courses. This opened the doors to writing for several publications, including Whisky Magazine since 2013.
GM: What’s the best piece of career or life advice you’ve been given?
BP: I had a writing teacher named Steve Veale, who taught through his professional experiences. The advice was endless, but the best was to keep pitching, don’t get discouraged by rejection and keep the pen moving. Davin is also instrumental in dishing out tips.
GM: What moments or occasions have you reaching for a gin?
BP: It used to be hot summer weather, but 2020 had taught me that gin knows no seasons. There is a gin out there that matches whatever Mother Nature is throwing at us.
GM: What would be your ideal holiday destination and activities?
BP: Spending as much time as possible in the Canadian outdoors. Preferably regions with a couple distilleries nearby to explore the area’s flavours through their gin and other interesting spirits.
GM: If you were a gin or a gin cocktail, what would you be?
BP: A citrus-forward gin poured over a chunk of ice that could take down the Titanic. I didn’t do well enough in Psychology 101 to decipher this.