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.
The 15 Best Gin Cocktails to Shake Up at Home, Plus Tips for Making Your Own
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.
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.
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.
11. Blueberry-basil Peach Fizz
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.
14. Blackberry Bramble
The key to a mixologist-caliber blackberry cocktail? Double straining the muddled mixture to remove all the pesky seeds.