Classic Cocktails: Gin

by Warrick Steabben on November 19, 2014

Bright, herbaceous, and even a little bit fruity, gin is an amazingly versatile liquor that functions equally well as the focus of a simple cocktail like the classic martini or as a part of a more complicated drink. However, it’s easy to overdo it with gin, or simply mix in something that doesn’t mesh well with its flavours, so some people find gin itself off-putting. Since gin is already flavoured with juniper berries, good gin cocktails tend to be simple; you don’t want to lose the unique character of the gin, especially if it’s one of the beautiful new artisan varieties.

We’re going to cover gin drinks in this rundown of classic cocktails (check out the article on rum, as well!) There’s not much as enticing as a well-made gin drink. Here are a three must-know classic gin cocktails.

The Martini

Simple, delicious and incredibly strong, there are few drinks that look quite as iconic as a full martini glass held aloft, frosty and sporting a nice big olive. Part of its appeal lies in its simplicity: a classic American martini only has three components: gin, vermouth, and an olive. How much of each you should add depends entirely on your preferences. Some like the ratio of gin to vermouth to be nearly one-to-one, while others prefer their martinis dry and put just a dash of vermouth into the mix. You can even throw in a small splash of olive juice to bring out the savoury flavours and make it a ‘dirty’ martini. Remember: in spite of Bond, nobody actually shakes these.

Gin and Tonic

The gin and tonic is even simpler than the martini. At its core, it’s literally a combination of gin and tonic water: one part gin to one to three parts tonic. Garnish it with a slice or twist of lime or lemon, or even throw in a dash of citrus juice; you won’t be sorry.

Gin and Tonic Cocktails
Gin and Tonic Cocktails

The South Side

Named for the South Side of Chicago where the drink rose to fame, this mixture of gin, lemon juice, sugar and mint really does the trick on a hot summer’s day. This one’s a bit more involved than the last two, but it’s well worth the minimal amount of trouble. Simply combine two shots of gin, the juice of a lemon, eight grams of granulated sugar, and a few mint leaves in a cocktail shaker with some ice cubes. Then, shake it vigorously in order to mix the components and bruise the leaves, then strain it into a glass. Yes, this is a gin cocktail you do shake.

There are plenty more gin cocktails out there, so if you like ANY of them, keep looking and you’ll never stop finding new ones to try. If you want to learn how to mix drinks like a pro, we offer everything you need, with both bartending classes and Responsible Service of Alcohol, or RSA, courses in Melbourne. Why not check it out?

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