Gin is the spirit of the cocktail and gin was born to be mixed with!
Think about it – gin is the only spirit that we don’t drink by itself. It is always combined with something, be it tonic water or vermouth in a Martini – but never on the rocks or by itself.
Cocktail books from the late 1800s and early 1900s show us that gin has been popular through the ages, giving us many gin cocktail recipes to draw on. And the recent gin resurgence sees those cocktails back on menus around the world, adapted for modern taste.
But it’s not enough! So I am going after the best-known vodka cocktails, to tell you why you should be making them with gin instead...
Originally created with a citrus vodka, the Cosmopolitan delivers a much more interesting flavour when you substitute it for gin. The botanicals of most gins will work well here, combining seamlessly with the orange liqueur and bouncing nicely off the cranberry juice. This is one you will just have to try and then you’ll get it…
Audrey Saunders created the Gin Gin Mule in 2000, a drink that is really a hybrid of a Moscow Mule recipe and a Mojito, since it includes fresh mint. But the cocktail is also a clear confirmation that gin and ginger go very well together.
While ginger isn’t a common botanical in gin, other gentle spices are often used in the ‘botanical basket’ of our favourite gins – such as cubeb berry (aka the tail pepper) coriander seed, anise and even the juniper berry has a gentle spice kick which shows well with a fiery ginger beer or ginger syrup and soda combination.
This full discussion deserves a blog of its own, but suffice to say the original Dry Martini recipe was made with gin.
The harmony of gin and vermouth coming together is one of the bar’s great unions and while vodka and vermouth can happily co exist, it’s not the same magical combination as with gin.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a Vodka Martini, at all, but if you have never had a Gin Martini, try it and you’ll understand what the drink really should be!
Yes, even the Espresso Martini tastes better with gin. You won’t know until you try it!
Find yourself a coffee nerd who can taste and distinguish between the aromas and flavours in different draws of espresso and the terroir from which they came and you will see that those flavours can be carefully paired with the botanical makeup of different gins. Hold the cucumber garnish though.
Bloody Mary aka Red Snapper
Synonymous with brunch, or kicking off the morning-after the night-before, the Red Snapper – a Bloody Mary with gin – is arguably the original and in my opinion, the best version of this drink.
Using gin as a base can inspire some twists on the classic recipe including adding a splash of sherry, using a tomatillo or green tomato juice or even adding celery juice and dialling up the aromatic salts and peppers that we love to add to this savoury concoction.
Lemon Drop aka White Lady
The White Lady cocktail, made famous by Harry Craddock at The American Bar at The Savoy Hotel Lemon Drop is essentially the same drink as a Lemon Drop, if you drop the sugar rim and exchange the base spirit for gin. Just like in the Cosmopolitan, gin and orange liqueur pair so well as most gins will use lemon peel if not some sort of orange botanical in their recipe.
The simple nature of the ingredients in this cocktail allow your favourite gin to really shine through and waken up the flavour profile.
So, if you are looking for a new gin cocktail for your menu at home or at the bar try browsing the popular pages of the vodka cocktails and you just might find a reinvention to fall in love with.
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