Ah, gin—one sip and it’s hard to forget its piney, herbaceous flavor (courtesy of the juniper berries it’s made from). The distilled alcoholic spirit was originally used medicinally by monks throughout Europe, but nowadays it’s just as popular a liquor as vodka. As ubiquitous as it is, answer honestly: Have you ever done anything with it besides topping it with tonic water and a spritz of lime? If not, it’s time to upgrade. Read on for tips that’ll help you make a killer drink at home, plus recipes for 15 of the best gin cocktails ever.

What Is Best to Mix with Gin?

Tonic water is the go-to for a reason. If you’re having a simple mixed drink, tonic water’s slight bitterness will complement gin’s natural sweetness flawlessly. Club soda is just as clean and refreshing an option. If you’d rather let the gin shine on its own without diluting it, a dash of dry vermouth will transform it into a martini (feel free to add a lemon twist, olives or olive brine to taste, or pearl onions to make it a gin Gibson instead of a martini). Most sour or citrusy mixers work well with gin too, like lemonade or grapefruit juice, as well as herbal and floral apéritifs.

Which Gin Is Most Popular?

Classics include Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Beefeater. They’re all London dry gins, meaning they’re juniper-forward in flavor, contain no artificial ingredients and are infused with botanicals during re-distillation. Other common options include The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, which is made with 22 different local botanicals from the Scottish Isle of Islay; Plymouth Gin, which is earthier and less dry than London-style gins, and Hendrick’s Gin, a newer brand of Scottish gin that’s infused with cucumber and rose. There’s also Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, a gin-based apéritif infused with spices, orange and herbal botanicals. It’s often paired with fresh fruit and St-Germain, a popular French elderflower liqueur, to make a Pimm’s cup, a popular British cocktail. You may have also seen Empress 1908 Gin or 1220 Spirits Blue Morpho Gin cross your TikTok feed this summer. They’re distilled with butterfly pea blossoms, which give the gins a gorgeous violet hue. Add acid to the spirit (whether it be a spritz of lemon juice or quinine-laced tonic) and it’ll change color.

What Flavors Go Well with Gin?

Citrus, citrus, citrus. Lime is arguably most traditional (hello, gin and tonics and gin rickeys), but lemon is just as commonplace, since the O.G. gin martini comes with a lemon twist, not olives. Gin’s herbal flavor also pairs beautifully with vegetal ingredients, like cucumber or fresh herbs. Herb- or flower-infused syrups or apéritifs are also a safe bet, as well as any sweet-tart or sour produce. Think muddled blackberries, raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice or a spritz of fresh orange or grapefruit.

What Soft Drink Goes Best with Gin?

If we’re strictly talking soda, the lemon-lime variety gets our vote due to its clean, citrus-inspired flavor. Although, grapefruit soda, citrus-flavored seltzer or Orangina (aka a lightly carbonated beverage made with real orange pulp and citrus juice) would turn out just as delicious.

Read on for 15 of the best gin cocktails to make at home.

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1. Blood Orange-Mint Gin Fizz

A traditional gin fizz calls for gin, club soda, simple syrup, lemon and egg white. Here, we trade lemon for blood orange and use it to infuse an herbal simple syrup, plus use prosecco for bubbles instead of club.

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2. Big-Batch Pink Negronis

The Negroni stars gin, vermouth and Campari, a bittersweet Italian apéritif that has notes of citrus, cherry and warm spices. By swapping in Lillet Blanc, a French botanical-infused wine, its overall flavor turns sweeter and more floral.

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3. Boozy Lemonade Granita

Vodka is distilled many times to get the cleanest, most adaptable flavor possible. (That’s why vodka can be mixed with just about anything.) But using gin in its place—say, in this three-ingredient summer sipper—makes for a more complex cocktail.

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4. Sage Bee’s Knees

This refreshing drink gets its name from the honey simple syrup it’s sweetened with. If you want to up the herbal ante, drop the sage leaves in the syrup while it’s simmering instead of just adding them before shaking the cocktail.

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5. Pineapple-Turmeric Gin and Tonic

Isn’t the color pretty? This bev boasts the ultimate balance between sour fruit juice, floral gin, earthy ground turmeric and bitter tonic water.

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6. French 75

Does it get more refreshing that this old-school sipper starring gin, lemon juice, sugar and a Champagne topper? We think not.

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7. Strawberry Melon Elderflower Pimm’s Cup

Aka summer in a glass. Think fresh cucumber, strawberries and melon topped with Pimm’s, lemon juice and ginger beer. Feel free to substitute ginger ale, flavored seltzer or club for ginger beer.

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8. Cucumber-Mint Gimlet

The lime-forward gimlet is great on its own but adding vegetal cukes and cooling mint leaves to the mix takes it over the top.

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9. Blackberry-Meyer Lemon Gin and Tonics

Meyer lemons may be tougher to squeeze due to their smaller size, but we promise their juice is worth the elbow grease. They are less acidic and sweeter in flavor than standard lemons, which allows the blackberries to take over on the tartness front.

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10. Pomegranate and Beet Gin Cocktail

This drink is destined for your Christmas Eve cocktail hour. Thanks to orange peel and a dash of Campari, it’s equal parts citrusy and sweet.

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11. Blueberry-Basil Peach Fizz

Consider this a sign to buy up all the summer blueberries at the farmers market before they disappear. While the recipe calls for effervescent peach soda, you can easily substitute fresh peach juice and a splash of club soda or sparkling wine if you’re feeling ambitious.

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12. Blueberry Gin and Sage Punch

Since no one likes playing bartender all night at their own party, set this big-batch bev out in a large drink dispenser so your guests can serve themselves instead.

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13. Cucumber Delight

Vodka and gin can be used interchangeably here, since the ingredient list is simple, refreshing and citrusy. A topper of ginger ale or ginger beer also boosts its herbal, earthy qualities.

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14. Blackberry Bramble

The key to a mixologist-caliber blackberry cocktail? Double straining the muddled mixture to remove all the pesky seeds.

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15. Coconut Lemon Float

Scoops of coconut sorbet slowly melt into this lemony number, imparting a subtle creaminess to the drink. Shake it with a dash of coconut cream and pineapple juice for a piña colada-inspired twist.

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RELATED: 25 Elegant and Easy Prosecco Cocktail Recipes

For even more great recipes, check out our first cookbook, Only the Good Stuff.

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