You probably already have a bottle of gin at home, most of which you probably used to make gin and tonics. It’s time to change that. Here are some great gin-based cocktail recipes you can easily make at home.
Ah, the martini. Find a better cocktail with fewer ingredients. You probably can’t. That said, this is probably the most controversial cocktail, due to the polarizing argument of gin versus vodka.
How It Tastes: Strong, Floral, Pretty Much Like Gin
Drink If You Like: Negroni, Vesper
You might not know it yet, but gimlets are easy. And once you know how to make a gimlet, you can make a lot of great cocktails (like a daiquiri, which is pretty much a rum gimlet) using the same basic formula. Traditionally, gimlets are made with gin, but if you prefer yours with vodka, go for it. It’ll be delicious either way. Just keep in mind that fresh lime juice is key. Don’t use something from a bottle.
How It Tastes: Crisp, Tart, Floral
A Negroni is sort of like an American Girl doll or Lego set, except, you know, for adults. You can easily customize it and make it your own, and there are lots of variations you can mess around with. The classic version is perfect for a pre-dinner drink, warm afternoons, or when you’re lying on a fluffy rug near a fireplace in a dark cabin or perhaps even an apartment. As an added bonus, few drinks are harder to mess up.
How It Tastes: Strong, Bitter, Summery
Imagine if a classic Negroni went on vacation, hiked a few mountains, and watched a sunset on the beach while calmly reevaluating how bitter it used to be. After this moment of transformation, it would become a Rosé Negroni. This drink isn’t as heavy as a standard Negroni, but it still has a touch of Campari, and it’s just as strong as anything else you’ll drink today. Think of it as a summery Negroni that happens to be pink, and feel free to make one for someone who doesn’t typically like Negronis. This is a crowd-pleaser.
The secret to this Negroni variation is Suze, a French apéritif that tastes like a mouthful of dandelions. It’s bitter enough to make up for the lack of Campari, and it lends the drink a subtle neon yellow glow. Of course, you also need some gin for this drink, and Lillet helps round things out with a touch of sweetness. The resulting cocktail is a little less in-your-face than a classic Negroni, and also sort of looks like lemonade, so you might be able to bring one to a meeting.
Allegedly, the Bootleg originated at country clubs around Minneapolis during prohibition, and if you ask Minnesotans about this drink, you’ll get all sorts of responses ranging from “Wow, that brings back memories” to “I’m honestly not sure what that is.” It isn’t every day that you get to teach people about a regional American drink that only exists in select zip codes. A Bootleg is ideal for making at home, it’s perfect for summer, and it’s one of the very few cocktails that calls for blended mint.
How It Tastes: Crisp, Refreshing, Like Mowing A Lawn On The First Day Of Summer
The Clover Club
A Clover Club looks like cotton candy and tastes like raspberry ice cream spiked with gin - but it isn’t especially sweet. In other words, it’s just about perfect. Plus, this cocktail has also been around since the late 19th Century, so drinking one is technically a cultural experience on par with visiting a museum. Sure, you have to make your own raspberry syrup, but that’s surprisingly quick, the payoff is worth it, and it’s not like your Google Calendar is exploding with events right now anyway.
How It Tastes: Fresh, Tart, Like Raspberry Ice Cream
Drink If You Like: Gimlets, Raspberry Ice Cream
The Snap Pea Gimlet
If you’re wondering why you’d ever put a vegetable in a cocktail, there’s something you should know. A snap pea pod is actually a fruit. It’s a crisp, flavorful fruit that doesn’t have much sugar, and, for some reason, it works especially well in a Gimlet. Maybe it’s because most gins already have a confusing number of flavors going on, or maybe it’s because limes are green and so are peas.
How It Tastes: Crisp, Limey, Confusingly Good
Drink If You Like: Gimlets, Salads
The Corpse Reviver
Several different Corpse Revivers have been around for over a century, but the best one by far is the Corpse Reviver No. 2. It’s well-balanced, strong without tasting too boozy, and deceptively complex for something that looks like a glass of lemonade trying to convince everyone it’s an elegant cocktail.
How It Tastes: Fresh, Tart, Like A Warm Spring Day With A Cold Breeze
A cocktail historian would probably tell you that the Bronx cocktail is a direct descendant of the Martini. Fortunately, you don’t know any cocktail historians, so you don’t have to listen to a long-winded saga full of apocryphal stories and nitpicky distinctions. Just know that this is pretty much a perfect Martini with orange juice.
How It Tastes: Crisp, Juicy, Strong
The French 75
Whether you know it or not, you’ve had a French 75 or at least a variation of a French 75. The only ingredients are gin, a bit of lemon juice and simple syrup, and whatever dry sparkling wine you want to use - and you can either pour it in a coupe, a flute, or a highball over ice.
How It Tastes: Fizzy, Summery, Slightly Sweet
Drink If You Like: Gin & Tonic, Tom Collins
The Last Word
Walk into any cocktail bar and ask for a Last Word, and you’ll immediately seem like a person of taste and distinction. At the very least, you’ll gain your bartender’s respect. The Last Word is a delicious and refreshing cocktail, with a complex, unmistakable flavor - and it’s also pretty easy to make.
How It Tastes: Strong, Fruity, Floral
Drink If You Like: Gimlet, Aviation
Contrary to what many vodka Martini drinkers will tell you, vermouth is not an inherently evil thing. In fact, it’s great - even on its own. And this cocktail goes out to everyone who recognizes that fact.
You know how James Bond is always drinking Martinis? Originally, he drank a Vesper. You see, Ian Fleming invented this drink when he wrote the 1953 James Bond novel Casino Royale. In that novel, James asks a bartender for a custom drink involving gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet. The formula comes to him like some kind of vision -and while he’s most likely just trying to acquire a buzz, the drink works out well.
If you swap out the rye for scotch in a Manhattan, and you get a Rob Roy. And if you swap the Campari for Fernet Branca in a Negroni, you get a Hanky Panky. But what happens when you substitute the olive in a Martini for a cocktail onion? Somehow, you wind up with an entirely new cocktail called a Gibson. This is the only drink variation we can think of that’s defined by its garnish. It is, truly, just a Martini with a tiny pearl onion. That onion brings a subtle, tangy element, however, and sometimes that’s exactly what you want.
The Gin Rickey
The Gin Rickey has been around for over 100 years, and it’s an anomaly in the cocktail world. Why? Because there’s no sugar whatsoever. Actually, that’s a lie. Lime juice has some sugar, but not a lot. Consequently, this cocktail is crisp and refreshing, and it’s exactly the kind of thing you can drink all day. It’s also one of the tartest drinks out there, and we’re pretty sure you could make one in your sleep.
The Salty Dog
The Salty Dog isn’t a particularly imaginative drink - it’s usually just a cup of grapefruit juice and vodka with a salt rim. We’re giving you an updated version that’s lighter and more balanced than your typical Salty Dog, and you can make yours with either vodka or gin. As an added benefit, this very simple highball should only take about two minutes to make, so you won’t have to spend too much time standing in your kitchen which may or may not be air-conditioned.
The Gin-Gin Mule is a modern classic and it’s one of the most universally-liked drinks we’ve ever encountered. Make one every Friday at exactly 5pm, and be sure to tell your grandchildren about Pegu Club.
Invented by Ada Coleman at the American Bar at The Savoy in 1925, the Hanky Panky is a simple, borderline-chuggable cocktail made mostly with gin and sweet vermouth. For a little extra kick, there’s also some Fernet Branca - and that’s really what sets this drink apart.
Ramos Gin Fizz
Created in New Orleans by a bartender named Henry C. Ramos, the Ramos Gin Fizz has been around since the 19th century. It isn’t especially challenging to make, but you do have to shake a lot - because this drink should both look and taste like an orange-scented cloud that made its home in a highball glass.
A bartender named Ngiam Tong Boon invented this drink around 1915 at the Raffles Hotel (in Singapore), and, to this day, bartenders struggle to memorize the recipe. Maybe that’s why you don’t see too many people drinking them. Given that the Singapore Sling is both delicious and alliterative, that’s the only explanation we’ve got.