Gin is actually an ideal ingredient to play with in cocktails. Most gin cocktails are kept pretty simple. Gins already have an array of flavors about them, from botanicals to citrus flavors and even cucumber. Gin can be enjoyed on its own but can also be complemented by so many other flavors and ingredients.
Add the ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir smoothly. When well chilled, strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an olive on a pick.
The martini, of course, is the quintessential gin drink. Just two or three simple ingredients in a unique glass and you have yourself an icon. The ratios of this drink have changed a lot over the years. The original Martini was actually 1 part gin and 1 part vermouth. As premium spirits became more and more popular the amount of vermouth decreased. It actually got to the point where people would do drops of vermouth in their martinis. Some people, like Winston Churchill, actually take no vermouth in their martinis. These days people tend to average about 1 part vermouth to 6 parts spirit.
1 oz. Gin, 1 oz. Campari, 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
Add the ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir smoothly. When well chilled, strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
The Negroni is actually a hundred years old, almost exactly, according to many historians. It was named after an Italian Count who spent time in America as a cowboy and gambler. He would order these drinks when he returned to Italy. It's a very nice aperitif style cocktail. It opens the palette up to enjoy a full meal to come. It's a handy reminder of how other cultures enjoy multi-course meals. Drinks and food are served in waves. We open the palette, we pair with food, and we close on a high note.
1 1/2 oz. Gin, 3/4 oz. Lemon Juice, 3/4 oz. Simple Syrup, club soda
Shake the gin, sugar, and lemon juice with ice and strain into an iced Collins glass and fill with soda. Garnish with a cherry and orange slice.
The Tom Collins apparently got started as a part of a joke. It was named partly after the popularity of Old Tom Gin. The main thing was the joke popularized by Americans telling people that there was a guy named Tom Collins who saying talking smack about you at the bar. People would go to the bar wanting to start a fight and would instead be greeted by a crisp refreshing drink. The drink itself originates back in London where a gin punch was just topped with some fizzy water. These days, many people see it as an adult sparkling lemonade.
Gin and Tonic
1 part gin, 2 parts tonic
In a highball glass full of ice, add the gin, then the tonic. Garnish with a lime wedge.
The G&T is a great staple that probably got started in the British Navy around India. Malaria was a huge problem for such tropical regions. The quinine in tonic water is a natural prevention method for malaria. Straight quinine is a bit unpalatable. Soldiers took to adding lime to it which improved the flavor and also helped fight scurvy. Gin was actually designed as a medicine. Gin was actually rationed out to soldiers and the concoction made sense.
Photo Credit: Needpix, wikimedia
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