Gin is a notoriously refreshing spirit to choose from. It’s a favorite spirit for warm days, to ease stress, or simply to enjoy the unique flavor gin has. In the New Year, whether there’s an event, a celebration, or nothing at all, let’s shine a light on gin cocktails and highlight how they can be enjoyed at any time.
Like every spirit, gin’s origins make it what it is today and have shaped how we use gin to make refreshing cocktails. Any cocktail lover can fall in love with gin. New to gin or gin connoisseurs alike can benefit from understanding what goes into gin drink recipes.
Discovering gin: its history, origins, and types
Gin is a distilled spirit with strong juniper, flower, and fruit flavors. It’s a clear spirit like vodka. Making gin is similar to how whiskey is made. A mash or fermented alcohol base is distilled. Redistilled gin has gone through a second distillation.
Gin has a strong, easily recognizable taste. This is done by infusing the spirit with fresh or dried juniper berries (which aren’t berries) and other botanical ingredients. A cheaper option would be compound gin which is a mix of neutral spirits with juniper berry extract.
The most traditional quality gin is London Dry gin which is light-bodied, highly aromatic, and dry, with pronounced juniper notes. For London Dry gin, no artificial flavors or botanicals can be added after the distillation process is complete.
Plymouth gin originated in Plymouth on the English Channel and can only be made there now. It has a lighter, more citrusy taste.
Old Tom gin is a sweeter option for those that have more of a sweet tooth or are easing their way into the world of gin cocktails. It includes simple syrup, sometimes licorice.
New Western Dry gin provides a more modern take on gin with less dominant juniper notes so that the botanicals can take over more of the flavor profile.
With all of the different types of gin available, there are many options for gin cocktail recipes. The type of gin will affect gin cocktails differently and make for slightly different tastes. Play around with the types of gins to make gin drink recipes that suit you best.
How is gin made?
Distilled versus redistilled gin has to do with the base alcohol. Distilled gin makes a lower ABV fermented alcohol derived from grains, sugar beets, potatoes, sugar cane, or grapes. Redistilled gin starts with an already distilled spirit at its base.
Then it’s time to add the juniper and botanical flavors. This is either done by boiling them directly in the base alcohol or by suspending them above the spirit and using vapor infusing to add their aromas.
Gin cocktail pods that Bartesian offers
For the easiest, and yet still incredible, gin drink recipes, try Bartesian’s gin cocktail capsules with your choice of gin.
Uptown Rocks: An elegant floral and sweet gin drink featuring a mix of peach, white grape, and lemon juices with a graceful cilantro kick. Made best with an herbal gin for a smooth finish for this refreshing cocktail.
Aviation: Aviation is a classic violet treasure that consists of Crème de Violette, Maraschino Liqueur, and a squeeze of lemon for a floral, sweet, and citrus libation.
Classic Gimlet or Raspberry Ginger Gimlet: The classic Gimlet is a refreshing lime-forward gin cocktail that is beautifully balanced for a delicious sweet and sour experience. Or try the Raspberry Ginger Gimlet for the perfect blend of sweet raspberry notes and tangy ginger zing. Enjoy this well-balanced cocktail with a lime and raspberry garnish.
Martini: The gin martini is a botanical bouquet of flavor with a measured combination of juniper, dry vermouth, and sweet and floral notes.
Bee’s Knees: A sweet, citrus, and refreshing cocktail from the Prohibition Era, the Bee's Knees is a delicious pairing of lemon and honey, combined with floral notes of clover and alfalfa.
Negroni: Bitters, sweet vermouth, and an orange garnish provide a sweet, savory, and floral profile which make the negroni a classic gin drink.
How to garnish cocktails
Gin cocktails themselves are simply delicious. Garnishing them not only adds flavor but also adds to the atmosphere, especially when serving cocktails to others or hosting a party. Like most parts of cocktail-making and enjoyment, what people prefer will vary. There’s no right or wrong way to garnish a cocktail as long as it’s enjoyable. However, for those that don’t know where to start, try some of these ideas.
- Cocktail rimmers are one of the easiest ways to garnish a cocktail. All that has to be done is wet the rim of the glass and roll it through a rimmer that suits the cocktail. There are sweet, tangy, and spicy rimmers depending on individual taste and what the cocktail is. For example, many sweet cocktails would pair best with a sweet rimmer but a margarita would go well with a spicy rimmer.
- Fruit is easy to find in the fridge and at the grocery store. Plus, multiple parts of the fruit can be used. Try limes, lemons, cherries, oranges, and apples. Citrus fruits can be used as wedges on the rim, but their peel can also be used as a garnish. You can even use the zest. The Aviation cocktail can be garnished with cherries. Uptown Rocks can be garnished with a lemon peel.
- Veggies are also a great option for various gin cocktail recipes. Lots of cocktails will use olives (like the martini), celery, and cucumbers. Cucumbers are an excellent choice to pair with gin as it doesn’t take away from the flavor; it just adds to the refreshing nature of the drink.
Get creative with gin cocktails and how to garnish them. There are no rules. Find what tastes and looks best and make it for yourself or a party.