Innovation and consumer demand continue to keep gin on the rise. Never before has there been so much interest and innovation in the category, or as many knowledgeable, adventurous consumers.
Many of our trends come from across the Atlantic. For years independent ‘craft’ spirits had been gaining in popularity in the States. Luckily for us, since the mid-2000’s we've enjoyed a resurgence in gin on our shores after production laws were relaxed. Both gin and cocktails had fallen out of fashion in the second half of the 20th century.
From humble beginnings, the popularity of gin cocktail culture continued to rise through two World Wars, the temperance movement and American prohibition. It began with the first gin and tonics when members of the Raj sought to combat malaria. Combining the medicinal benefits of juniper (found in gin) with that of quinine, often dissolved in tonic. Although a gin and tonic is still the way the majority of us still consume the spirit, you won’t find them on this list of the best gin drinks.
The majority of this list contains gin-based cocktail recipes that date back from the late 19th century and early 20th century. For example, the Tom Collins which dates back to 1876, first published in Jerry Thomas’ second edition of ‘The Bar Tenders Guide’. There is, however, some historical disagreement as to whether it was the Americans or British who first established the drink. I’m going to say it was us Brits!
So let’s delve into some classic gin cocktails, in no particular order!
Dry Martini cocktail
It’s this iconic gin cocktail (unless of course, you have it with vodka). Records of drinks with similar ingredients to the Martini appeared in bartender guides from the late 19th century.
Stir in Boston glass with ice and fine strain into a chilled Martini glass, unless requested to be shaken - if so, shake and strain. Garnish with a lemon twist.
French 75 cocktail
This (unsurprisingly French) drink dates back to world war one Paris. It was named after the powerful French 75mm field gun as it was said to pack quite a kick.
Add the gin, lemon and syrup to a Boston cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an empty glass. Top up with champagne and garnish with lemon peel.
Gin Fix cocktail
A classic gin based cocktail, dating back to the mid-19th century. The original Gin Fix was made with Genever.
Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass filled with crushed ice, Garnish with lemon and a cherry.
White Lady cocktail
Created by Harry MacElhone in 1919 at Ciro’s Cub in London and then refined in 1973 at his own bar Harry’s New York Bar Paris.
Shake all the ingredients with ice and then fine strain into a chilled glass.
This Gin cocktail dates back to the late 1800’s. A variation of a Manhattan; it’s widely believed to be the forerunner of the Martini cocktail.
- 37.5ml Old Tom Gin or Genever
- 37.5ml sweet red vermouth
- 3.5ml orange curacao
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Invented in 1984 by Dick Bradsell, England’s cocktail connoisseur, at Fred’s Club in Soho, London.
Shake first three ingredients with ice and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Lace the Mure over the drink to create a ‘bleeding’ effect in the glass. Garnish with a blackberry.
Singapore Sling cocktail
Originally called the Gin Sling and created in Singapore in the Raffles Hotel, sometime before 1915. Over time it has evolved, based on past bartenders’ memories and notes found on the original cocktail recipe.
- 25ml gin
- 12.5ml Cherry Brandy
- 7ml Benedictine
- 7ml Triple Sec
- 12.5ml Grenadine
- 100ml pineapple juice
- 25ml lemon juice
- Dash Bitters
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with a cherry.
While the drink’s origins are unknown, the most widely reported account is that it was invented in Florence in 1919, at Caffè Casoni, now called Caffè Cavalli by strengthening the Americano cocktail, adding gin rather than the usual soda water.
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled glass and stir. Garnish with orange peel.
Tom Collins cocktail
The Tom Collins dates back to 1876 in Jerry Thomas’ second edition of ‘The Bar Tenders Guide’. Most people attribute the name Tom Collins, an Irish political activist who died during the Irish Rebellion.
Shake first three ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Hugo R. Ensslin published the original cocktail recipe in 1916. It included Crème de Violette, which gave a vibrant violet/blue colour, hence its unusual name. However, when Harry Craddock included the cocktail in his Savoy Cocktail book, published in 1930, he excluded the Crème de Violette.
Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Ramos Gin Fizz cocktail
Created in New Orleans in 1888 by Henry C Ramos, using a line of shaker boys who each shook for 30 seconds as it was said to take 12 minutes to shake the cocktail ingredients to perfection.
- 50ml London Dry or Old Tom gin
- 25ml double cream
- 25ml sugar syrup
- 12.5ml lemon juice
- 12.5ml lime juice
- 1 egg white
- 3 dashes orange blossom water
- 1 drop vanilla extract
Dry shake ingredients without ice for 10 seconds. Add ice and continue to shake until you can no longer hear the ice. Strain into a Collins glass and top with soda.
Want to find out more about the dark history of gin? Take a look at our gin brochure. Want to find out more about developing a cocktail range? Get in touch with our account manager.