12 classic gin cocktails
These classic gin cocktails are the perfect Friday night or weekend tipple.
It’s no secret that the Brits are a nation of gin lovers. With our penchant for a gin or two racking up over £2 billion in sales in 2019 alone (a new UK record). This recent British ‘ginassiance’ shows no signs of slowing down either, thanks to the reported health benefits of gin and sophisticated supermarket versions like Aldi gin available along the Aldi wine aisle.
With this in mind, we’ve rounded up the best gin cocktails, alongside our tried and tested recipes, for you to shake up and serve at home. And just remember that whilst delicious, one or two is the limit if you're hoping to prevent a hangover the morning after...
Classic gin cocktails
Wondering which gin is the best type for your cocktail? Master mixologist Patrick Pistolesi of NIO cocktails recently revealed that the four best gins to add to your tall drink are brands like Tanqueray, Hendricks, Sipsmith and Plymouth Gin. "Interestingly when the Dry Martini was created in 1896 the recipe specified Plymouth gin," he says. Adding that "bold and complex" Sipsmith and its citrus hints make it a gorgeous gin for a fruity bramble. Whilst Tanqueray's versatility makes it one of "the most awarded gins in the world" and can be used "nearly all gin-based cocktails".
That being said, if you're conscious of budget, we recommend familiarising yourself with some of best Aldi gin offerings - promising high quality at low prices. Or stick to a simple three ingredient cocktail like the classic martini.
Arguably one of the best gin cocktails around, the humble Bramble is a favourite for those seeking those a fruity punch of flavour.
Serve this cocktail in a rock or short tumbler glass. We like to garnish it with a fresh wedge of lemon but if in season, fresh blackberries work really well too. The attractive gradient is achieved by pouring the Cassis into a glass filled with crushed ice, then top with the lemon gin mix. Cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur and we’ve used White Heron British Cassis which uses blackcurrants grown in Herefordshire.
Get the recipe: Bramble
2. Tom Collins
Perhaps one of the most well-known gin-based cocktails, the Tom Collins is quick, easy and delightfully refreshing. It’s a lovely drink for summer or before you sit down for dinner.
With only four ingredients required you can mix together a Tom Collins in under five minutes. It’s a great introductory gin cocktail as it’s less bitter than a G&T and the lemon offsets the gin brilliantly. Old Tom Gin is a great gin for this cocktail however you can experiment with your favourite gin variety.
Get the recipe: Tom Collins
3. Sloe Gin Fizz
A Sloe Gin fizz is arguably one of the best gin cocktails for those with a sweet tooth.
Sloe gin is generally sweeter than traditional gin and has a lower ABV so it’s a good option if you’re trying to cut down your alcohol consumption. Our recipe uses soda water but if you wanted a special twist you could swap for sparkling wine and serve in a flute instead.
Get the recipe: Sloe Gin Fizz
4. French 75
This cocktail is incredibly easy to make and only requires a simple cocktail shaker. (Though if you don’t have one, an old jam jar or an airtight container will help you achieve the same results).
Given the traditional sparkling wine for this cocktail is Champagne, it’s a great cocktail to serve at special occasions. For more casual drinking, you might prefer to use a less expensive sparkling wine.
Get the recipe: French 75
Look for a tipple that's both strong and sharp in flavour? Then the Gimlet is the best gin cocktail for you.
It’s traditionally made with just gin and lime juice in equal quantities. We have added sugar syrup to soften the flavours a little. A naval doctor is thought to have combined the lime juice with gin to make it a more palatable treatment to prevent scurvy.
Get the recipe: Gimlet
With only four ingredients the Southside is a brilliant, easy cocktail to add to your repertoire.
It’s a lovely option on a hot day as the mint and lime are very refreshing. If you want a longer serve top it up with soda water and serve in a highball glass instead of a coupe.
Get the recipe: Southside
7. Strawberry and basil G&Tea
Transform your regular G&T offering into one of the best gin cocktails with just a simple teabag.
This is an easy cocktail recipe to make in batches and is perfect for those who like drinks such as Pimm’s. It’s brilliant on a hot day as it’s really refreshing. We’ve used fruity teabags from Twinings that have a strawberry and raspberry flavour but you could experiment with others.
Get the recipe: Strawberry and basil G&Tea
8. Boozy slushies with strawberries and rose lemonade
Swap the vodka for gin in this fun, fruity boozy slushie and serve it at your next garden party or barbecue.
The recipe uses frozen strawberries instead of ice which means that the flavour is less diluted. If you want the drink to serve more people, you can use more lemonade.
Get the recipe: Boozy slushies with strawberries and rose lemonade
9. Negroni Spumante
Negroni’s are one of the best (and most beloved) gin cocktails on the market. But with no mixers, they can taste very strong.
Adding prosecco to make the cocktail fizzy has the effect of making it taste lighter but it actually makes it boozier. For the gradient effect, pour in your spirits to the glass then top with prosecco. To enjoy the cocktail properly you’ll want to swirl the ingredients together but let everyone do their own as the cocktail has a better first impression when served this way.
Get the recipe: Negroni Spumante
10. Chocolate Moon cocktail
Serve this at the end of a dinner party and there’s no need for dessert.
It's a delicious combination of gin, Brown Crème De Cacau, a dash of Amaretto and a small measure of double cream. Be sure to garnish with a generous grating of dark chocolate on top.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Moon cocktail
This is undoubtedly one of the best and most famous gin cocktails to exist - and it’s also one of the easiest to make too.
Whether you shake it or stir is up to you, our best advice is to use the best quality spirits you can afford.
Get the recipe: Martini
12. Citrus and apple spritz
Another great jug-based cocktail recipe that’s easy to make in a big batch.
This recipe combines cloudy apple juice, gin and is topped with Cava. Use your favourite sparkling wine if you prefer something different.
Get the recipe: Citrus and apple spritz
Where does gin originate from?
Despite the UK’s love for it, gin was not invented in London.
It is difficult to pin down the exact origins of gin. It’s believed to have first been made in the Netherlands or Belgium and accelerated in popularity in Britain with the arrival of William of Orange in 1688. He encouraged people to set up their own distilleries and many quickly followed suit.
By the mid-18th century, the Gin Craze was in full swing and there were around 1,500 distilleries in London alone. People began to worry about the health and socio-economic consequences of gin consumption. This is famously depicted in William Hogarth’s Gin Lane illustration from 1751, pictured on the right-hand-side below.
Although stricter regulations were introduced, Britain’s love of gin never faded. Over the last few years, it has enjoyed a new wave of popularity with more and more craft distillers popping up across the nation each year.
There's even a day dedicated to celebrating gin called World Gin Day which happens in June each year.
Gin has even made it's way into our foods too, with this Gin and Tonic pancake recipe just one inspiring way to add the spirit to your supper.
Jessica currently works as a Senior Food Writer at Future. She writes food and drink-related news stories and features, curates product pages, tests, and reviews equipment, and also develops recipes that she styles on food shoots. An enthusiastic, self-taught cook Jess adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.
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