As a bartender, I have seen it all. From the latest trends to the classic drinks that never go out of style, I have mixed up countless cocktails in my time behind the bar.
But there is something special about classic gin cocktails that truly stand the test of time.
Gin, the backbone of many classic cocktails, has been a staple of the bar scene for centuries. Its unique flavor profile, with notes of juniper and botanicals, makes it a versatile spirit that can be used in a wide range of cocktails.
From the refreshing Gin and Tonic to the elegant Negroni, there is a classic gin cocktail for every occasion.
What makes classic gin cocktails so enduring is their simplicity. These cocktails are made with just a few ingredients, allowing the flavors of the gin to shine through.
It's not about fancy techniques or obscure ingredients – it's about the balance of flavors and the art of mixing.
In this blog post, I will be sharing some of the best classic gin cocktail recipes that every bartender and cocktail enthusiast should know.
From the timeless Martini to the lesser-known Aviation, these cocktails have stood the test of time for a reason. So sit back, pour yourself a gin and tonic, and let's explore the world of classic gin cocktails together.
1. The Gin Old Fashioned
The Gin Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that is perfect for gin lovers who enjoy a drink that is "gin forward." It's a punchy drink that is not for those who prefer fruity or sweet cocktails.
The recipe was created by the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London, and it has been a favorite among gin enthusiasts for decades.
2. Gin Martini
The Gin Martini is a classic cocktail made with gin, vermouth, and lemon peel. It's a simple yet sophisticated drink that has been around since the 1880s and is considered one of the most famous cocktails in the world.
The beauty of the Gin Martini lies in its simplicity and versatility, making it a go-to drink for any occasion. If you're a gin lover, this timeless classic is a must-try.
3. Gin Fizz
The Gin Fizz is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time. It's a refreshing and frothy drink that combines gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup, and soda water. The addition of egg whites gives it a smooth mouthfeel and a foamy top.
This cocktail has been around for over a century and was once known as a hangover cure. It's a perfect drink for any occasion, whether you're sipping it on a hot summer day or enjoying it at a cocktail party. The Gin Fizz is a must-try for any gin lover looking for a classic cocktail with a modern twist.
4. Gin Gimlet
The Gin Gimlet is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time. Made with gin, lime juice, and simple syrup, this tangy and sweet drink is perfect for those who love the botanical flavor of gin. The cocktail is traditionally served in a cocktail glass or martini glass, but can be enjoyed in any glass of your choice.
To make the perfect Gin Gimlet, invest in a mid-price range gin and use pure maple syrup for a more nuanced flavor. This cocktail is a must-try for anyone who loves gin and wants to experience a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for decades.
5. Gin Swizzle
Gin Swizzle is a classic gin cocktail that is simple, refreshing, and perfect for any occasion. Made with gin, lime juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters, and club soda, this cocktail has a unique twist with the addition of bitters. The name "swizzle" comes from the technique of mixing the ingredients with a swizzle stick, which is a long, thin stick with prongs at the end.
The cocktail has a tangy and slightly bitter taste, which is balanced out by the sweetness of the simple syrup. It is a perfect drink for those who prefer a less sweet cocktail. The Gin Swizzle is a must-try for any gin lover, and it is sure to become a favorite.
6. Gin Rickey Cocktail
The Gin Rickey Cocktail is a classic gin drink that is simple, light, and refreshing. It is a perfectly balanced, sugar-free cocktail recipe with just three ingredients: gin, lime juice, and club soda. This easy-to-make cocktail is served in a highball glass over ice and garnished with lime.
The Gin Rickey is a stirred cocktail that is perfect for any occasion, whether it be a 1920s dinner party or a NYE celebration. This cocktail has a rich history, having been invented in the early 19th century in Washington, D.C. and named after the Democratic lobbyist Joe Rickey. The Gin Rickey has surpassed the bourbon version in popularity and is a must-try for any gin lover.
7. Classic Gin Martini
The Classic Gin Martini is a timeless cocktail that has stood the test of time. Made with Beefeater London Dry Gin, dry vermouth, and orange bitters, this wet gin martini is stirred to perfection. The delicate and versatile flavors of Beefeater gin make it the perfect choice for this cocktail.
The addition of dry vermouth and orange bitters adds a citrusy and herbaceous touch to the drink. The cocktail is garnished with a lemon twist that has been twisted over the drink and dropped in. The Classic Gin Martini is a perfect cocktail for those who appreciate the complexity of gin and enjoy a citrusy and boozy drink.
8. Elderflower Gin Gimlet
The Elderflower Gin Gimlet is a refreshing twist on the classic gimlet cocktail. It has a perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors thanks to the addition of smooth elderflower liqueur.
The cocktail is made with only four ingredients, making it a simple yet sophisticated drink that is perfect for any occasion. It's a must-try for anyone looking for a unique and refreshing cocktail.
9. Gin Rickey
The Gin Rickey is a refreshing, sugar-free cocktail made with gin, soda water, and lime. It's low in calories and perfect for summer sipping.
The botanical flavor of gin is complemented by the fresh citrus taste of lime, while the carbonated fizz of soda water adds a delightful zing to the drink. It's a classic cocktail that's easy to make and perfect for any occasion.
10. Mint Gin Alexander Cocktail
Looking for a classic gin cocktail with a twist? Look no further than the Mint Gin Alexander Cocktail. This vintage-inspired drink takes the traditional Alexander cocktail and adds a subtle hint of menthe. The result is a refreshing and light take on the creamy classic.
The base ingredients of gin, cream, and creme de cacao are still present, but with the addition of creme de menthe, the cocktail takes on a new dimension. Whether you opt for green or white creme de menthe, the subtle buzz of mint is sure to please. And, if you're a fan of creamy cocktails, this recipe is a must-try. So, if you're looking to mix up your gin cocktail game, give the Mint Gin Alexander a try.
11. The Botanist Gin Gimlet
The Botanist Gin Gimlet is a classic gin cocktail with a twist. Made with Botanist Gin, this cocktail is bright, tart, and sweet with a subtle warmth from the addition of cinnamon. The Botanist Gin, sourced from Islay, uses 22 botanicals that give it a unique flavor profile with citrus, mint, and a little spice.
The addition of cinnamon, a common botanical in gin, rounds out the flavors and adds a little something extra to this classic cocktail. If you're a fan of gin cocktails, The Botanist Gin Gimlet is definitely worth a try.
12. Bramble Cocktail
The Bramble Cocktail is a refreshing and fruity gin-based drink that is a must-try for any cocktail enthusiast. This classic cocktail is made with gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and Crème de Mûre, a blackberry liqueur that gives the drink a beautiful bleeding effect. The cocktail is served over crushed ice and garnished with a lemon twist or fresh blackberries.
The Bramble is a variation of the Sour Cocktail, a formula that is the backbone of many beloved cocktails. While the Bramble may contain a few more syns than some other cocktails, it's still a relatively guilt-free indulgence. If you're looking for a delicious and unique gin cocktail to add to your repertoire, the Bramble is definitely worth a try.
13. The Aviation
The Aviation is a classic gin cocktail that takes you back to the Prohibition Era. Its purple hue and delicate flavors make it a delightful cocktail to look at and to taste. The balance between the tartness of the lemon juice and the sweetness of the Creme de Violette and Luxardo liquor is what makes this cocktail so special.
The traditional garnish for an Aviation is a cherry, which can be either fresh or a Luxardo Cherry. The Aviation is a must-try for gin lovers and anyone who enjoys a classic cocktail with a twist.
14. The Last Word Cocktail
If you're a fan of classic gin cocktails, you won't want to miss The Last Word. This Prohibition-era drink is a beautifully balanced blend of gin, green Chartreuse, Luxardo, and fresh lime juice. Despite its simplicity, The Last Word boasts a sophisticated flavor profile that's both herbal and astringent, with just a touch of sweetness.
It's no wonder this cocktail has experienced a resurgence in popularity since its heyday in the 1930s. Whether you're looking to bid farewell to summer or simply want to savor a timeless classic, The Last Word is a must-try cocktail that's sure to impress.
15. Tom Collins Cocktail
The Tom Collins Cocktail is a classic gin-based drink that has been around since the late 1800s. It is a refreshing and bubbly cocktail that is perfect for any occasion. Made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda water, it is a sweet and sour drink that is sure to please.
The cocktail is typically served in a tall highball glass with plenty of ice and a cocktail cherry on top. The Tom Collins is a nostalgic and classy drink that is perfect for parties, entertaining, or happy hour. If you're looking for a classic gin cocktail that is sure to impress, the Tom Collins is definitely worth a try.
16. Apple Bees Knees Cocktail
The Apple Bees Knees Cocktail is a seasonal twist on the classic gin cocktail. Made with fresh apples or bottled apple juice, this cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy a sweet and tangy flavor. This cocktail is a great option for happy hour, especially after a long day at work.
It's a refreshing drink that is perfect for bonding with friends and family over onion rings and booze. The Apple Bees Knees Cocktail is a must-try for anyone looking for a delicious and unique cocktail experience.
17. Gin Sidecar Cocktail
The Gin Sidecar Cocktail is a refreshing twist on the classic Sidecar recipe, which traditionally uses cognac. This variation features gin, fresh lemon juice, Cointreau, and simple syrup, resulting in a tangy, citrusy flavor that is perfect for gin lovers. The drink is said to have been named after a military captain who rode to the bar in a motorcycle sidecar, and this gin-based version is sometimes referred to as a Chelsea Sidecar, a Delilah, or a White Lady.
The use of Empress 1908 Gin adds subtle floral and earthy notes, along with a stunning blue color. However, any gin can be used to make this easy-to-make cocktail. If you're looking for a bright and refreshing gin cocktail, the Gin Sidecar is definitely worth trying.
18. Bee's Knees Cocktail
The Bee's Knees Cocktail is a classic gin cocktail that has been around since the prohibition era. It's a refreshing cocktail that combines gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup to create a perfect balance of flavors.
The honey syrup adds a unique sweetness to the cocktail that can't be achieved with regular sugar. It's a timeless cocktail that has stood the test of time and continues to be a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts.
19. Classic Gibson Cocktail
The Classic Gibson Cocktail is a dry martini with a twist – a pickled onion garnish that adds a savory element to the drink. It's crisp, cool, and spirit-forward, making it a perfect choice for those who prefer their cocktails on the drier side.
The Gibson is simple, with only gin and a hint of dry vermouth, making it all about the quality of the gin used. If you're a fan of martinis or looking to try something new, the Classic Gibson Cocktail is definitely worth a try.
20. Cucumber and Lavender Gin Gimlet
The Cucumber and Lavender Gin Gimlet is a refreshing and unique twist on the classic gin cocktail. Made with Hendrick's Lunar Gin, which has floral notes that complement the cucumber and lavender flavors, this cocktail is perfect for those who want to try something new.
The use of honey syrup instead of simple syrup adds a touch of sweetness without being overpowering. The cucumber juice adds a fresh and crisp taste that balances well with the tartness of the lime juice. Overall, this cocktail is a must-try for gin lovers who want to explore new flavors and ingredients.
21. Blackberry Bramble Cocktail
The Blackberry Bramble Cocktail is a refreshing and fruity gin-based cocktail that is a must-try for any gin lover. The cocktail combines gin, blackberry liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup, and is garnished with fresh blackberries and a lemon slice.
The drink is a twist on the classic gin sour, with the addition of blackberry liqueur adding a sweet and fruity flavor that perfectly complements the gin. The cocktail is perfect for a warm summer day, and the fresh blackberries give it a beautiful color and a burst of flavor with every sip. If you're looking for a new gin cocktail to try, the Blackberry Bramble is definitely worth a try.
22. French Gimlet
The French Gimlet is a delightful twist on the classic Gin Gimlet. This cocktail recipe adds the sweet and floral notes of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur to the traditional ingredients of gin and lime juice. The result is a sophisticated and refreshing cocktail that is perfect for sipping on a warm summer evening.
The French Gimlet is easy to make and can be adjusted to taste with simple syrup. Served ice-cold in a coupe glass, this cocktail is sure to impress your guests. If you're looking for a classic gin cocktail with a modern twist, the French Gimlet is definitely worth a try.
23. Minty Cuke Gimlet
The Minty Cuke Gimlet is a refreshing twist on the classic gin cocktail. It features a limey gin base, with fresh muddled mint and cucumber for a burst of flavor.
The use of key lime juice gives it a tart and zesty kick, while the muddled cucumber adds satisfying texture. It's a delightful and easy-to-make cocktail that's perfect for any occasion.
24. Lavender Bee's Knees
The Lavender Bee's Knees is a delightful twist on the classic Bee's Knees cocktail. This gin-based cocktail features the addition of lavender bitters, which adds a unique floral flavor to the drink. The honey simple syrup used in the recipe is quick and easy to make, making it a convenient ingredient to have on hand.
The cocktail is garnished with a sugar rim, which adds a touch of sweetness and elegance to the drink. Overall, the Lavender Bee's Knees is a refreshing and sophisticated cocktail that is sure to impress your guests.
The Floradora is a classic gin cocktail that dates back to the early 1900s. It's a highball drink starring raspberry syrup, gin, and ginger beer, giving it a sweet-tart flavor with a spicy kick.
The pink color of the drink came from raspberry syrup, and it's perfect for parties or patio sipping. Try it as a refreshing drink on a warm day or as a unique addition to your cocktail repertoire.
26. Hanky Panky
The Hanky Panky cocktail is a classic gin martini with a charming and complex flavor. It's made with Fernet-Branca, an Italian bitter, gin, and sweet vermouth.
The herbal notes of Fernet-Branca are balanced with the botanical gin and sweet vermouth, creating a sophisticated and delicious drink. If you're looking for a classic gin cocktail that is sure to impress, the Hanky Panky is definitely worth a try.
27. The Aviation Cocktail
The Aviation Cocktail is a classic gin cocktail that has stood the test of time. Its lovely lavender color and soft floral notes come from the addition of Creme de Violette, a liqueur made from violets. This easy-to-make cocktail also features gin, Maraschino Liqueur, and lemon juice.
The Aviation Cocktail is elegant, gorgeous, and delicious, making it a perfect choice for cocktail lovers. The only challenge is locating a bottle of Creme de Violette, but with the craft cocktail explosion, it's getting easier to find. If you're looking for a classic gin cocktail with a unique twist, the Aviation Cocktail is definitely worth a try.