Five Gin Cocktails You Should Definitely Have On Your Bar Menu
The revival of Gin has been a never-ending twentieth century story: a true comeback for the ages. Now a mainstay on cocktail menus around the world, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite Gin cocktails which are a must for any bar menu.
Once known as a herbal medicine and then known for its capacity to induce tears, Gin has evolved over the years into a diverse spirit with one common denominator: the Juniper berry. There’s even a loosely non-alcoholic equivalent now, the surging Seedlip.
Your bar menu is a place for experimentation, but a few classics should always round off the selec-tion. Come rain or shine, here’s five cocktails we think you should always have on your bar menu.
Gin Basil Smash:
when you want: herbal, fresh, summer drink
In its 11th year of existence, we really love the Gin Basil Smash – a 21st century German-made clas-sic. The winner of the “Best New Cocktail” at the 2008 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, it came to prominence when none other than Jörg Meyer put it on the menu at the legendary Le Lion.
As the world becomes more and more health conscious, the relevance of the Gin Basil Smash con-tinues to grow. It’s a low calorie drink and pushes towards your five a day to boot. Light and se-asonal, it’s the perfect addition to the sunniest of days. One big question is: muddle or no muddle? Jörg says yes, and thus so do we. Why muddle up a winning formula, after all?
Our favorite recipe from the one, the only Jörg Meyer:
• A handful of basil
• 6 cl of strong London Dry Gin
• 3 cl fresh Lemon Juice
• 2 cl simple sirup
Muddle the basil and then add the ingredients. Shake, doublestrain on cubes in a tumbler, and then garnish with basil leaf.
when you want: fruity, aromatic
Arguably the current bar capital of Asia – with the likes of Manhattan Bar, Atlas, Junior, and Native, it certainly stakes a claim – Singapore also has a certain cocktail to claim as its own. Meet the Singa-pore Sling.
The Singapore Sling made its debut in the early 1900’s, in the city’s Long Bar located in the storied Raffles Hotel. Bartender Ngiam Tong Boon adapted the Gin Sling, a drink made of only spirit and water, and came up with his own Asian-inspired version instead.
The sling should always be a mixture of gin, citrus, soda and cherry brandy, but there’s a lot of vari-ety with this one. Check out our recipe below.
Our favorite recipe (courtesy of IBA):
• 3 cl Gin
• 1.5 cl Cherry liqueur
• 0.75 cl Cointreau
• 0.75 cl DOM Bénédictine
• 1 cl Grenadine
• 12 cl Pineapple juice
• 1.5 cl Lime juice
• 1 dash angostura bitters
• Brandied cherry
Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into highball glass. Garnish with pineapple and cocktail cherry
when you want: bitter aperitif, with an underlying sweetness
Somewhat surprisingly, the Negroni’s status as a stalwart of the Cocktail scene is not as long-established as many would believe. The whole story began back in Florence at the storied Caffe Giacosa in 1919. The famous Count Camillo Negroni asked for an Americano, but with a bit of an extra kick. This came from the gin – and history was changed forever.
One hundred years later – congratulations! – the cocktail, made with equal parts gin, sweet ver-mouth, and Campari, has reached a certain amount of prominence as a bitter drink with a sweet si-de. It’s refreshing, classy, but not stodgy, whilst offering up a drink to satisfy those who are after a high ABV in their drink.
Best places to try? New York City’s Dante, an established mainstay in NYC drinking circles since 1915, will knock your socks off. And when in Rome, enjoy some old-world glamor – and a bravis-simo Negroni to boot – at the Hassler Bar.
Keep it simple. We don’t believe this one is for (too much) changing. And before dinner, please.
Our favorite recipe:
• 2,9cl Gin
• 2,9cl Campari
• 1 cl Sweet vermouth
• Orange peel
Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes. Garnish with an orange peel.
when you want: refreshing, easy,
Two bitters make something decisively different. The Gin and Tonic needs no introduction, as the once derided drink has experienced the biggest turnaround in the public consciousness in the last decade.
In 1825, Britain’s East India Company was facing an issue with Malaria. It was discovered by Scot-tish doctor George Cleghorn that quinine could prevent and treat the disease. However, Quinine and tonic water together was too bitter a taste, leading the navy officers to make some additions: water, sugar, lime and gin. And the drink was born, which eventually became famous in Spain and then across the world.
For something so simple, the G&T seems to have a gazillion variations. The Tunes Bar in the Con-servatorium in Amsterdam is well-known for its sheer variety of G&T’s, including its G&T made with Nikka Coffey. The menu specifies how you can have it, whether you want it fruity, citrus-forward, or done “by the dutch”.
Usually the proportions are somewhere between 1:1 and 1:4. Here’s some other tips: use rock-hard, absolutely frozen ice. Pack the ice to the top. And chill the glass before use.
Our favorite recipe:
• 5 cl London Dry gin (we’d recommend Sipsmith)
• Tonic (we’d recommend Fever Tree’s Indian Tonic)
• Wedge of lime.
Chill glass 20 minutes before beginning. Fill a thin-rimmed highball glass to the top with frozen, rock-hard ice cubes. Pour in 5cl of gin. Top off with tonic water. Garnish with a wedge of fresh lime.
when you want: crisp, bitter, aperitif
In comparison to the Negroni, the Martini has more variations than you can shake a stick at. The standard recipe calls for gin, dry vermouth, and an olive garnish, but there’s a dizzying array of va-riations to try.
Why not try the Gibson? The Gibson in London is a clear place to seek inspiration with six different varieties of the famous Gibson on tap, which includes the standard Gin and Dry Vermouth, but garnished with a pickled onion. Another London tip: head for famous Martini trolley at London’s Connaught Bar to have one of the world’s best Martini’s, conjured up by the indomitable Ago Per-rone.
Here’s some more. The Vesper, with gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet. Or the Tuxedo, with gin, dry ver-mouth, orange bitters, maraschino and absinthe. Or if you want it salty, and want to avoid Gin alto-gether, try a Salty Martini with vodka, extra dry vermouth, fino sherry, caper brine (from jar), with a garnish with large caperberry on pick stir.
One last caveat: the Martini is always before dinner. Here’s a classic recipe to start off with:
• 7,4cl London dry gin (why not a classic Beefeater?)
• 4,4cl Dry vermouth
• Green olive
In mixing glass or cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour gin and vermouth. Stir well for 20 seconds. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with olive. Serve.
Foto: Hannes Häfner / Caroline Adam