10 Essential Gin Cocktails You Should Try This Spring

created at: 04/09/2014

Any time of year, gin is a favorite spirit. It mixes well while retaining its character, and its aromatics complement a great range of flavors. But there's something so special, so obvious, about gin and springtime. If flavors had colors, gin's would be green, and it's a perfect chance to start putting ice back in our cocktails because the external temperatures are finally bearable.   

Martinis are good. Gin and tonics? Great. But this guy can do much more than those standards. So, here are ten essential gin drinks and cocktails for springtime that any guy will enjoy…provided that you like gin. Which you do, right?

1. The Gibson: For the classier side of things (it's Mad Men's Roger Sterling's go-to), give this simple twist on the Martini a shot – 

  • 2 oz. London dry gin
  • 3/4 oz. dry vermouth
  • 3-4 cocktail onions, skewered

Shake gin and vermouth with plenty of ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cocktail onions.

2. Cucumber Rosemary Gimlet: Everything I love about spring (and summer) in a glass. Also, if you've a lady to impress, make her this one.

  • 2 oz. London dry gin
  • 1 oz. cucumber juice (peel cucumbers, puree, then sieve)
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 sprigs rosemary

Add one sprig rosemary to mixing glass and muddle with the simple syrup. Add remaining ingredients and ice, and shake. Pour into an iced rocks glass and garnish with additional rosemary.

3. The Fancy Gin Cocktail: You might know this better with whiskey as an Old Fashioned, but the simple sugar and Angostura bitters combo works wonderfully with the brightness of gin. 

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 oz. dry gin
  • 1 lemon zest/thin strip of peel

Rub lemon peel around rim of glass, and drop in. Place sugar cube in glass and saturate with bitters. Add gin and 2-3 ice cubes, and allow to come together for a minute or two. Stir and enjoy.

4. The gin and tonic: Nothing wrong with this classic, provided you build it right. From the ManMade guide to the ultimate gin and tonic: “A gin and tonic is a really basic drink with two distinctive and bold components, So, don't skimp on the tonic, which makes up more than half the highball. You don't have to go for the pricier, artisanal brands exclusively, but make sure you're using a tonic you love. A great tonic can turn an affordable $17.50 bottle like Beefeater or Boodles into something pretty special.”

  • 2 oz. Hendrick's gin 
  • 2 oz. Fever Tree Mediterranean-style tonic water
  • 2 oz. club soda
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers orange bitters 
  • Garnish: cucumber slice

For the complete how-to, check out: How to: The Simple, Easy Trick to Improve Your Gin and Tonic

5. Gin Rickey: Simple, perfect. You can start at 9:00a and drink all day, and still not be bored by 9:00p.

  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 6-8 oz. club soda

Stir lime juice, simple syrup, and gin together in a tall glass. Top with lots of ice, and fill with soda water. This makes a good cocktail to test out various flavors of bitters and tinctures, particularly citrus and fruit-based ones. 

6. The Tom Collins: the ideal drink for patio sipping. Ignore those mixes and customize your own balance of flavors with real ingredients. That said, this is basically a sparkling lemonade spiked with gin, so have at it. 

  • 1.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 oz. gin
  • Club soda
  • Garnish: orange slice or cocktail cherry (or both)

Shake lemon juice, simple syrup, and gin with ice, then pour into an iced tall glass. Top with club soda and garnish.

7. Salt and Pepper Martini: Here, the spicy flavors of bitters balance the strong pomegranate and salt for an almost savory drink. A great before-dinner drink to enjoy with small bites. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. grenadine
  • 3 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 5 dashes angostura or orange bitters

Shake the ingredients and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. You can rim half with salt (like a margarita) if you really want to amp the savory flavors

8. St. Christopher – To guide you on all your travels or adventures. 

  • 2 oz. gin (Hendrick's recommended here)
  • 1 oz. Aperol 
  • 1/2 oz. cucumber juice  (peel cucumbers, puree, then sieve)
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice, and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon or orange twist.

9. Extra Special Pimm's Cup: The Pimm's Cup is a U.K. classic, and the official drink of Wimbledon. I add a bit of gin to make it worthwhile. 

  • 2 oz. Pimm's No. 1 (gin-based)
  • 1 oz. dry gin
  • 4 oz. ginger ale
  • Garnish: lots of (clean) lemon slices and cucumber wheels

Muddle 1 slice cucumber and lemon in a highball glass, and then stir in Pimm's and gin. Add lots of ice, and top with ginger ale, and additional lemon and cucumber. 

10. Negroni – For me, no list of gin cocktails is complete without a Negroni. It is, by far, my favorite way to enjoy gin. And Campari. And Vermouth. I've never claimed a favorite classic cocktail, but if I did, this might be it. 

  • 1 oz. dry gin
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth

Stir ingredients with ice (don't shake), and strain into either a cocktail or rocks glass, your preference. 

Oh, and here's a fun social media-friendy image with type and such. Feel free to Pin it to your favorite boards.

created at: 04/09/2014