Five 5-Star Gin Cocktails
Our favorite gin-based cocktails
Our family has never let go of the throw-back tradition of a cocktail before dinner. It's a chance to relax, talk, and wind down from any stress of the day. It's not an excuse to slug back a drink and get "wasted," it's an opportunity to enjoy the beginning of our evening. When we were children our "cocktails" would be a special treat - some lemon/lime soda pop, perhaps with some grenadine for a pretty pink color.
Gin is a matter of taste - it's basically a neutral grain spirit with some flavorings, primarily juniper berries and coriander. Each distiller then adds his own mix of herbs and flavorings, known as "botanicals."
If you're interested in trying different kinds of gin, find a good liquor store and ask if there is someone on staff who can describe the characteristics of different brands for you. Many good stores will have tasting bottles on hand to let you try one or two that interest you.
After you've chosen the gin you like, be equally careful with the other ingredients. Price isn't always the best indicator. As an example; I prefer the rather inexpensive Hiram Walker Creme de Cacao to Godiva Chocolate Liqueur. It's the taste that matters - by itself and as a mixer. It doesn't make sense to spend a fortune on a spirit when the taste will be masked by other strong flavors. Save the expensive stuff for drinks where the spirit can shine - like a Martini.
3 ounces dry gin
1 ounce dry vermouth
Dash orange bitters
Twist of orange peel
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add the gin, vermouth and bitters. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with the twist.
This is my own spin on the classic cocktail - a bit less sweet and using fresh lime.
2 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. superfine sugar (or 1 tsp. simple syrup)
In a cocktail shaker half full of ice, add all ingredients and shake until sugar is dissolved. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lime wedge (or lime peel).
Gin and Sin
I have no idea why - but this drink tastes like it has grapefruit juice in it, rather than orange and lemon. Absolutely refreshing and delicious!
1 1/2 oz. gin
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grenadine (a non-alcoholic syrup, originally derived from pomegranate juice)
In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine all of the ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass.
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
2 teaspoons water
1 ounce lemon juice
2 ounces gin
1 lemon twist
Instructions: In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the sugar, water, lemon juice and gin. Shake well. Strain into an old-fashioned glass almost filled with ice cubes. Garnish with the lemon twist.
2 ounces gin
3 ounces pineapple juice
2 teaspoon cherry brandy
Instructions: In an old-fashioned glass almost filled with ice cubes, combine the gin and pineapple juice. Stir well. Drop the cherry brandy into the center of the drink.
Shaken or stirred?
Gin martinis are the classic, urbane cocktail. You can make a perfect version - every time! Traditional martini recipes called for the drink to be stirred in a pitcher, rather than shaken in a cocktail shaker. The conventional wisdom said that the spirit would be "bruised" by the rough handling of shaking. Personally, I think it makes for a smoother drink, but I'm an enthusiastic consumer, not an expert taster.
The classic garnish is an olive - with or without pimento stuffing. These days you can find olives stuffed with all kinds of things - from garlic cloves, to bleu cheese, to almonds. Your Martini will be "dirty" if you add a bit of brine from the olive jar.
If, like me, you're not a huge fan of green olives, you can garnish your martini with pickled onions (I prefer sweet to sour). Now, instead of a Martini, you have a Gibson.
Change the spirit to Scotch instead of Vodka or Gin and you have a Dry Rob Roy. If you use sweet vermouth instead of dry, it's the classic Rob Roy. Use equal parts sweet and dry vermouth and you'll have a Perfect Rob Roy.
© 2012 Hope