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Best Cocktail Recipes for Gin Lovers

Updated on May 2, 2014
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Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" & "Taste of Home" magazines. She belongs to "Cook's Recipe Testers" for Cooks Illustrated.

Bitter Bees Cocktail
Bitter Bees Cocktail | Source

Bitter Bees Cocktail

The sun was dipping below the horizon as we rode toward Scottsdale, its last rays casting a rosy glow on the desert sky. A cozy patio table for 4 awaited us at “The Mission”, our favorite Mexican fusion restaurant, and we anticipated a special dinner with our dear, lifelong friends.

Although the restaurant was crowded, once we were seated in the gathering twilight, the din of fellow patrons gradually faded into the background. We merrily chatted our way through an appetizer of tableside guacamole and mulled over the direction of our lives as we lingered over a frosty gin cocktail. The briskly bitter, refreshing lightness of the beverage was the perfect counterbalance to our heavy appetizer.

I was so impressed by the main course that I hardly remember what our friends ordered. The waiter sat before me a duck confit that was caramelized to perfection and nestled on a bed of pureed white beans. Sprinkled with a crunchy concoction of roasted peanuts and guajillo chilies, it caressed my palate with smoke and salt.

As we returned to Phoenix under the cover of darkness, comfortably full and contented, we discussed the refreshing cocktail we had enjoyed. An amalgam of good gin, fresh grapefruit juice and basil, it was aptly named “Bitter Bees”. Our friend Joe went to work in the following weeks to duplicate the restaurant’s recipe. After much trial and error, this is his copycat version of The Mission´s fabulous gin cocktail. Every time I have a sip of a Bitter Bees it takes me back to that memorable patio dinner with our friends. We have also included two variations of this light summer cocktail just to switch things up.

The Mission restaurant
The Mission restaurant | Source

Suggestions:

  • For best flavor, use a good quality gin such as Hendrick's, Beefeater or Grey Goose.
  • If you have simple syrup, it can substitute for the agave. You won't have to heat it up in the microwave, either.
  • Squeeze your own grapefruit juice or buy a quality brand such as "Simply Grapefruit"

5 stars from 2 ratings of Bitter Bees Cocktail

Bitter Bees Cocktail

Prep time: 10 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: 2 Bitter Bees cocktails

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4-6 basil leaves, torn in small pieces
  • 3/4 cup good gin
  • 1/4-1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice, to taste
  • 2-4 cups ice

Instructions

  1. Combine agave and water in a microwave safe dish. Microwave 15 seconds, until agave dissolves into the water.
  2. Pour agave mixture into a martini shaker. Add torn basil leaves and muddle.
  3. Add ice, gin and juice and shake well. Pour through strainer if you don't want the basil leaves.
  4. Enjoy!
Source

Bitter Bees Fizz

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4-6 basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup good gin
  • 1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2-4 cups ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup tonic water

Instructions

  1. Combine water and agave in a microwave safe dish. Microwave 15 seconds to dissolve agave.
  2. Pour agave mixture into a martini shaker. Muddle the basil leaves into the agave.
  3. Add ice, gin and juice. Shake well.
  4. Top with tonic water and serve.


Bitter Bees Blush

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4-6 basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup good gin
  • 1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup seltzer
  • 1 tablespoon Campari
  • 2-4 cups ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Heat water and agave in microwave for 15 seconds, or until agave dissolves.
  2. Pour agave mixture into a martini shaker. Muddle basil leaves in the shaker.
  3. Add gin, juice, Campari and ice. Shake well.
  4. Top with seltzer and pour into glasses.


Did You Know?

Although gin is the national spirit of England, it actually originated in Holland where it was invented to cure stomach complaints. The resulting tonic was called "Genever". Gin is always flavored with juniper, but beyond that any combination of flavorings can be added. A bottle of gin is like a snowflake: each brand sparkles uniquely amongst the sea of gin labels. Botanic flavors can include cucumber and rose, lavender, lemongrass and black pepper, tea leaves, coriander, lemon or orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, angelica, cardamom, etc. Gin shines when used in cocktails because its complexity comes to life when combined with other liquors that bring out its nuances of flavor. Martinis were originally made with gin, not vodka.

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  • Chantelle Porter profile image

    Chantelle Porter 21 months ago from Chicago

    I love gin. Can hardly wait to make these.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

    Lindacee, tanks for your meaningful comment. If you ever make it to Scottsdale, The Mission is a unique and memorable dining experience. I hope you can try the Bitter Bees Fizz sometime.

  • lindacee profile image

    lindacee 2 years ago from Southern Arizona

    I used to drink "Salty Dogs" (gin and grapefruit juice) when I was much younger. When I do have a mixed drink these days it is vodka-based. However, your delightful description and recipe leaves me wanting to try a Bitter Bees Fizz. I would also like to make a trip to Scottsdale for a meal at The Mission! Great Hub!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    GlimmerTwinFan, I also think gin is a great summer drink. Enjoy and thanks for your comment!

  • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

    Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

    When I have a mixed drink (which is not very often) I love scotch, but on a hot summer day my go to is gin. May have to give this a try. It looks so refreshing.

  • Tolovaj profile image

    Tolovaj 3 years ago

    Gin and tonic was my drink of choice for some time. If gin is of good quality it can be great just as it is. I always respected it for its essential oils which show very specific character and I disagree with people who characterize it as 'lady's drink'. Thanks for the recipes. Thumbs up and cheers!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    Suzanne Day, thanks for your comment!

  • Suzanne Day profile image

    Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    No probs, I quite like looking at the pics of the drinks, they make me thirsty...

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    Suzanne Day, thanks so much for the comment and vote.

  • Suzanne Day profile image

    Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    The Bitter Bees cocktail sounds like the one for me! I think it would make a GREAT refresher drink with meals and I like the ingredients. Plus the grapefruit juice would help with all sorts of stuff. Voted awesome and thanks for sharing the awesome recipe ;)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    AliciaC, thank you for taking the time to comment.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    I don't drink gin, but if I did I would definitely try these recipes. They sound great - especially the fizzy ones!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    WiccanSage, I'm glad you're going to try out the Bitter Bees Fizz. How nice you have fresh basil on hand!

  • WiccanSage profile image

    Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

    Nice. I am definitely going to give this bee fizz a go at my next party- I grow fresh basil too so it will get put to good use.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    Bethperry, I'm glad you enjoyed the information on the history of gin!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    JackieLynnley, I rarely drink but when I do this one is worth it.

  • bethperry profile image

    Beth Perry 3 years ago from Tennesee

    Sounds like a tasty one; I'll have to try it. And no, I didn't know about the origin of the word "Gin". Interesting!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

    Well I can't drink; but these look very delicious!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    Yes AudreyHowitt, it's very refreshing!

  • AudreyHowitt profile image

    Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

    The fizzy one sounds like it would be great on a hot day!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    Epbooks thanks for your comment.

  • epbooks profile image

    Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    I'm not much into gin, but these sound like they are worth trying.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    rebeccamealey, I hope you have a chance to try the bitter bees fizz sometime. Thanks for your comment.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    FlourishAnyway, thanks for including your liquor preference in your comment!

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    A bitter bees fizz sounds like a very good idea to me. Sounds like a yummy drink recipe. Thanks!

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

    I'm not a big gin drinker (rum is my favorit) but I enjoyed the recipes and history.

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