It can be fun to experiment with complicated cocktail techniques and new bar contraptions. But sometimes, the occasion calls for an easy, tasty cocktail. Gin is the perfect liquor for building a quick and refreshing drink because of its versatility and long history. Sometimes gin can get overlooked, though. So that’s why we wanted to put together a guide of easy gin cocktails for our PrestigeHaus readers.
Before we jump in, let’s cover what sets gin apart from other liquors. Gin is a juniper-based distilled liquor that must have a minimum strength of 37.5 percent alcohol by volume. It comes in a handful of styles, and distillers have a wide berth in deciding how to flavor their gin. Some are quite citrus-forward, others lean into herbaceous notes, and a few are barrel-rested for a mellow, lightly toasty taste.
For more in-depth information on various gin styles, check out this article which covers London Dry gin, Old Tom, Genever, and more.
Ginuary may be over, but there are still plenty of gin-based cocktails to enjoy all year! From classic flavors to new experiences, we’ve put together a list of six exciting and easy gin cocktail recipes for you to try.
2 ½ oz. gin
½ oz. dry vermouth
Lemon twist or olives on a toothpick for garnish
The only way to appropriately start this list is with a classic gin martini. The most classic gin martini is made with a London Dry gin, quality dry vermouth, and either a lemon twist or a skewered trio of olives. But you can experiment with different styles of gin and garnishes to your heart’s content.
A popular variation on the classic martini is a dirty martini, in which you add olive juice to taste for a savory boost. Another option is the bone-dry martini. You’ll leave out the vermouth entirely and drink three ounces of chilled, garnished gin. For those that really like vermouth, try the wet martini. Stir equal parts gin and vermouth in ice before straining into the glass.
Don’t forget to refrigerate your vermouth after opening it. It’s a fortified wine, meaning it was fermented rather than distilled. It will spoil faster if kept on a bar cart or in a liquor cabinet.
2 oz. gin
4 oz. tonic
Lime wheels or wedges for garnish
It doesn’t get easier than a G&T! It’s an effervescent, refreshing drink that can easily be made stronger if you wish. There are multiple tonic waters on the market, some with other flavors that can add a new dimension to your simple sipper.
You can also garnish your gin and tonic however you’d like! Popular garnishes include:
…and more! Pair your garnish with the flavors of your favorite gin for a customized G&T.
Gin and Tonic Cocktail with Lime and Grapefruit
1 ½ oz. gin
¾ oz. lime juice
½ oz. simple syrup
3 slices cucumber slices, plus 2 more for garnish
While this drink takes a few more steps than the previous recipes, it’s absolutely worth it! Muddling the cucumber releases the vegetable’s refreshing essence into the drink. You can boost that cucumber flavor even more by using a gin like Hendrick’s.
It’s easy to make your own simple syrup at home. Combine equal parts sugar and water in a small pot and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Simple syrup can be stored for several days in the fridge and can be infused with various aromatics like mint, star anise, thyme, and more.
For easier clean-up, don’t use a Hawthorne strainer for this recipe (or any other with crushed fruit, vegetables, or herbs). The bits become stuck in the coils. Instead, use a Julep strainer, whose perforated spoon can catch larger pieces without a mess.
2 ½ oz. gin
½ oz. lime juice
½ oz. simple syrup
Lime wheel for garnish
Add the gin, lime juice, and simple syrup to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously for approximately 10 seconds.
The elegant and timeless Gimlet can also be served on the rocks if desired. Use a crisp gin, like Beefeater or Uncle Val’s Restorative Gin, for a balanced, lightly-bracing cocktail.
2 oz. gin
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
1 egg white
This is a frothy and bubbly take on a gin sour. By dry-shaking the ingredients before adding ice, the egg white is incorporated fully with the liquids. Once poured, it will create a luscious, creamy head.
It’s easy to play around with various gins and juices other than lemon. You can also use maple syrup rather than simple syrup for a richer experience.
2 oz. barrel-rested or Old Tom gin
1 sugar cube
2-4 dashes of orange bitters
1 orange peel
Just like a standard Old Fashioned, a Gin Old Fashioned is a warming classic, relying on quality ingredients and simple techniques.
Barrel-rested gin is fairly new to the liquor world. It’s a gin that is aged in used bourbon barrels before bottling to pick up those rich, woody flavors and a dark appearance. You can also use Old Tom gin, which is richer and less sweet than most London Dry or New Wave gins.
Many of the above cocktails use items you likely already have on hand! They can all be adjusted to taste and seasonality, which is truly the beauty of gin cocktails. Sip a Gimlet by the pool or a Gin Old Fashioned during the holiday season – the options are endless.
Which of these easy gin cocktails are you going to try first?