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The 10 Best Gin Cocktails To Try

The 10 Best Gin Cocktails To Try

Cocktail joints continue to expand their presence in the bar market, but you don’t have to don a vest or perfectly waxed mustache to make delicious drinks at home. All it takes is a well-stocked home bar, a steady hand, and good recipe. And boom, you can be your own mixologist. The next question, of course, is what to make? A good bartender will have a variety of recipes at their disposal making use of a diverse selection of spirits. While whiskey and bourbon dominate the modern spirits conversation, we think there’s a strong case to be made for gin cocktails.

Most people have strong reactions to gin. It’s a strongly aromatic spirit that, when used improperly, can dominate a drink. But, there are some stellar gin cocktails worth your time and enjoyment. We’ve put together a list of the best classic gin cocktails along with some modern drinks.

What Is Gin?

Gin is a clear liquor made from distilling a base of grain (either wheat or barley) with an addition of botanicals for flavoring. To be considered gin specifically, the liquor needs a predominant flavor of Juniper berries. But, other botanicals and herbs can be used in the flavoring process. Additionally, the United States requires gins to be no less than 40% ABV.

There are several styles/categories of gins you might see at the liquor store including London Dry Gin (pure grain spirit and natural botanicals), Old Tom Gin (slightly sweet), Navy Strength (no less than 57% ABV), Jenever (uses distilled malt wine), and more. Some gins are also barrel-aged offering a unique color and flavor profile.

How to Use Gin in Cocktails?

Gin is considered a relatively easy liquor to use in cocktails. The botanicals play well with a number of other spirits and the balance of delicate yet pronounced flavor profile means gin can either take a back seat or be the main event. Gin is also perfectly fine on its own – serve a couple ounces neat or on the rocks.

Any carbonated drink (seltzer, tonic, flavored sparkling water) is a good option for gin. The bubbles and botanicals create a refreshing, verdant beverage. Fruit juices are frequent additions to gin drinks because they work well with the floral, botanical notes of the liquor. The same applies for tea, herbal liqueurs, and floral syrups/mixes.

As far as other spirits go, Italian spirits and vermouth, which both also feature botanical notes, are common accompaniments in classic gin cocktails.

The Best Gin for Classic Cocktails

Gin is relatively simple to make and doesn’t require the long aging process of other spirits, so many craft distilleries offer their own gins. Plus, there are brands that have been around for decades producing excellent gin. We would recommend trying a handful of offerings to find your favorite gin. But, if you’re just heading to the liquor store and need to find some decent gin options, we’ve got you covered:

Tanqueray London Dry Gin ($27)
Plymouth Gin ($35)
Hendrick’s Gin ($39)
Neversink Spirits Gin ($45)
Nikka Coffey Gin ($49)


The Best Classic Gin Cocktails



Tom-Collins

Tom Collins

The Tom Collins cocktail is a remarkably simple gin drink. The classic cocktail is made with gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, and carbonated water and is served in a highball or Collins glass over ice. Traditionally it’s garnished with a citrus wheel and cocktail cherry. Also, the OG versions were made exclusively with Old Tom gin but any gin will do in this refreshing cocktail.

  1. Combine 2 ounces of gin, 1/2 an ounce of simple syrup, and 1 ounce of lemon juice in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously until chilled, about 15-20 seconds.
  3. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass and top with soda water.
  4. Garnish with a lemon wheel and cocktail cherry.

Read the full recipe here.




Martini

Martini

Ah, the martini. The epitome of class and elegance. There are many riffs on this classic gin cocktail. And, many would suggest that it’s not a gin cocktail at all because vodka is used interchangeably in a martini. But, we prefer our martinis with gin, served straight up, and with a lemon twist. So, that’s what we’re going to recommend to you. Bonus points for never shaking your classic gin martini and for using a chilled coupe glass.

  1. Combine 2 1/2 ounces of gin and 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth in a mixing glass.
  2. Add 1 dash orange bitters (or Angostura bitters in a pinch).
  3. Add ice and stir for roughly 15 seconds.
  4. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist (or olive or orange twist or whatever you like).

Read the full recipe here.




Gin-and-Tonic

Gin & Tonic

Does it get any simpler than this? Not really. It’s basic, it’s refreshing, and it’s damn good. Look, if you order a Gin & Tonic you’re not really showing off your cocktail chops. But, if anyone looks at you sideways (or if you throw any shade on someone else ordering a G&T), that’s just uncalled for. Enjoy your classic Gin & Tonic with pride.

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Add 2 ounces of gin.
  3. Top with tonic water.
  4. Garnish with 2 lime wheels (or orange wheels or cucumber slices or whatever you like).

Read the full recipe here.




Gimlet

Gimlet

The Gimlet is a classic gin cocktail halfway between the G&T and the Tom Collins without the carbonation. And, if you’re like us, served straight up.

  1. Combine 2 1/2 ounces gin, 1/2 ounce of homemade simple syrup, and 1/2 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice in a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice and stir for 15-20 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Read the full recipe here.




Corpse-Reviver-2

Corpse Reviver #2

It might sound evil, but the Corpse Reviver is a heavenly hangover “cure.” There are multiple variations, but most have settled on #2 as the favorite. (However, we’re also big fans of the OG Corpse Reviver #1.) This gin cocktail is simple and easy to remember, which is of the utmost importance when struggling the morning after a night of over-exuberance, and even easier to make.

  1. Combine 1 ounce each of gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, and fresh lemon juice with 1 to 3 drops absinthe in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with stemless cherry (or orange peel).

Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

The original cocktail recipe can be found in Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. $19


Great Modern Gin Cocktails



Monkey-Gland

Monkey Gland

This cocktail is allegedly named after Dr. Serge Voronoff’s monkey gland transplant experiments. He claimed that all of a chimpanzees’ vital organs could be transplanted to people, but the real attention-getter was a particular part that supposedly increased male virility. It sounds like Voronoff was the original pop-up ad, only it was 1923. Just like getting treated by a good doctor, the Monkey Gland cocktail will leave you very refreshed.

  1. Combine 1 1/2 ounces of dry gin, 3/4 ounce orange juice, and 1 teaspoon each of absinthe and grenadine in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with an orange slice.

The recipe can be found in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book. I’ve taken the liberty of translating the volumes into useable numbers in place of the fractions of a half gill used by Craddock. $15



Aviation

Aviation

Most colorful drinks give cause to pause. Something bright pink or purple is typically reserved for underground nightclubs catering to 22-year-old women at 3 AM. That’s not true of the Aviation, which gets its color from crème de violette rather than Pucker or some other unholy coloring agent. The cocktail dates back to the early 1900s, but it feels exceptionally modern – particularly with so many bartenders offering their own take on the drink. And its staying power is a testament to its deliciousness.

  1. Combine 2 ounces gin, 3/4 ounces of lemon juice, 1/2 ounce of maraschino liqueur, 1/4 ounce crème de violette, and 1 teaspoon of homemade simple syrup in a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice and stir for roughly 15 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Recipe can be found in Paul Clarke’s The Cocktail Chronicles. $17



Arsenic-Old-Lace

Arsenic & Old Lace

Buying a bottle of crème de violette for a single cocktail would be a waste, so we turned to one of the finest cocktail writers & creators in the game, Gastronomista, for another option for using up the purple power. She recommended the Arsenic & Old Lace. It’s nearly identical to The Atty cocktail before people wimped out and dropped the absinthe. The only difference is the ratios, and Gastronomista found the perfect mix to really make the recipe pop.

  1. Combine 1 3/4 ounces gin, 3/4 ounce absinthe, 1/2 ounce crème de violette, and 1/4 ounce of dry vermouth in a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice and stir for roughly 15 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with an edible flower.

Head over to Gastronomista to get the full recipe. You’ll absolutely want to add this cocktail to your repertoire.



Florodora

Florodora

Not to be confused with a Floridiot, the Florodora cocktail is named after a Broadway (via London) show, or more specifically, a sextet of sexy dancers within the show. The lovely ladies took New York by storm, winning the hearts of men across the city. They all ended up marrying millionaires, and we ended up drinking a cocktail made in their name courtesy of the Waldorf-Astoria. Everyone’s a winner.

  1. Combine 2 unces London dry gin, 1/2 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice, and 1/2 ounce of raspberry liqueur in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds.
  3. Pour unstrained into a Collins glass.
  4. Top off with ginger ale.

Recipe can be found in David Wondrich’s Esquire Drinks. It originally calls for raspberry syrup but has since been updated to raspberry liqueur. Buy



Sakura-Martini

Sakura Martini

Gin and sake combine in this refreshing reimaging of the classic martini.

  1. Combine 2 1/2 ounces of sake, 1 ounce of gin, and 1/4 teaspoon of maraschino liqueur in a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice and stir for roughly 15 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  4. Garnish with a cherry blossom.

This recipe is courtesy of Kenta Goto of Bar Goto in New York City.

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