10 Gin Cocktails, Its History And How To Drink It

10 Gin Cocktails, Its History And How To Drink It

For centuries, gin has been enjoyed for its complex and distinctive flavors, inspiring many gin cocktails. The history of gin originated in 17th-century Holland and played a prominent role in creating the modern cocktail scene.

Gin’s versatility lies in its ability to be made from various botanicals — its only essential flavoring is juniper. This unique characteristic makes gin especially adaptable to experimental variations, allowing bartenders and distillers to create a wide range of choices.

From the classic Gin and Tonic to the more intricate and innovative concoctions, this guide to gin features a selection of gin cocktail recipes. Whether you prefer your drinks sweet or sour, shaken or stirred, there is something for everyone when it comes to gin cocktails.

History of Gin

Although gin is the national spirit of England, like many English things, it originated somewhere else. The Dutch distilled a drink called “jenever,” made from malted grain and flavored with juniper berries. Originally created for medicinal purposes, it became a recreational beverage in the 1500s.

During England and France’s Thirty Years War (1618 – 1648), the English stopped importing French brandy. English soldiers in the Dutch army discovered jenever and brought it back to England. It soon became known as gin and was sold for its supposed curative properties. By the 18th century, gin was so popular it was causing social unrest in England. As the Gin Craze died down, the first London Dry gin was produced. This cleaner and more refined spirit is still the gold standard of gin today.

Gin found its way to the US during the colonial period, and many classic early 20th-century cocktails were made with the spirit. During prohibition, gin became increasingly popular because of its easy production and versatility. Bathtub gin, a homemade distilled concoction made in less-than-ideal conditions, became the base for many cocktail recipes that masked its harsh flavor. While it likely wasn’t made in a bathtub, it did have to be made in a small enough space that the police wouldn’t catch on.

Gin continued to be a staple in the cocktail scene after Prohibition, but it lost some of its allure. It wasn’t until the 2000s and the craft beer boom that drinkers started paying attention to the story behind what they were drinking. Gin took a bit longer to join the craft scene thanks to a 1751 British law outlawing small gin distilleries in an effort to decrease bootlegging.

In 2008, the owners of Sipsmith in London won their legal battle and the first of many craft gin distilleries opened. This and popular British historical shows like Downton Abbey and The Crown have made gin cocktails more and more popular.

Different Types of Gin

Gin is a versatile spirit with many variations. Experiment with your favorite flavor combination when picking a gin for a cocktail recipe.

London Dry – The quintessential gin is the basis for most gin cocktail recipes. Made all over the world, it’s dry, light-bodied, and very aromatic. No ingredients can be added after the distillation process.

Plymouth Gin – The lighter, citrus-forward counterpart is only produced by Plymouth Coates & Co. It was the original base for the gin martini and a favorite of Winston Churchill.

Old Tom – This old-style gin is reminiscent of when sugar was added to harsh-tasting gin. It’s the perfect base for a Tom Collins cocktail.

Flavored gin – Thanks to the craft distillery revival, you can taste experimental gins that combine flavors and botanicals like rhubarb, elderflower, or even angostura bitters. Pink gin is a popular one.

A Guide To Gin Cocktails

Here are some of the most popular gin cocktail recipes to try at home. Want to see more? Explore our entire selection of gin-based drinks here.

1. Gin & Tonic

Gin And Tonic Cocktail
Photo by @Bhofack2

There would be no guide to gin without mentioning the classic G&T. The light and invigorating cocktail originated in 19th-century India. Scottish doctor George Cleghorn believed quinine found in tonic water could cure malaria. But because the tonic was too bitter on its own, English army officers added gin for easier drinking. For the best experience today, choose a high-quality gin and tonic water.

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2. Last Word

Last Word Cocktail
Photo by @Bhofack2

The Last Word, a popular gin cocktail from pre-Prohibition era, originated in Detroit in 1916. This sour cocktail consists of equal parts gin, green Chartreuse, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur, resulting in a deliciously balanced combination of rich sweetness and citrus flavors. It has served as an inspiration for numerous other cocktail recipes.

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3. Martinez

Martinez Gin Sweet Vermouth Maraschino Liqueur Bitters Shaken Cocktail
Photo by @waryxfox

The Martinez, often considered a predecessor to the more famous Martini, can be aptly described as a gin-based version of the classic Manhattan cocktail. Its precise origins remain uncertain, but the earliest known documentation is from 1887. The Martinez cocktail recipe features the harmonious combination of London Dry gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and bitters. Elevate your cocktail experience with the delectable flavors of the Martinez.

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4. White Lady

White Lady Gin Orange Liqueur Lemon Juice Egg White Shaken Cocktail
Photo by @Heleno Vieno

The White Lady, a renowned cocktail crafted by the innovative mixologist Harry MacElhorn at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France, stands as a timeless masterpiece. Derived from its distinguished sibling, the Sidecar, it replaces the gin with brandy, offering a unique twist on the classic blend. It is worth noting that the White Lady is also recognized by alternative monikers, including Delilah or Chelsea Side-car. Indulge in the exquisite elegance of the White Lady and savor a truly extraordinary drinking experience.

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5. Negroni

Negroni Cocktail With Gin Sweet Vermouth And Campari
Photo by @sophisid

When it comes to the history of gin, few gin cocktails have withstood the test of time and inspired so many variations quite like the Negroni. This equal-part cocktail is made with Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth for an acquired bitter taste that originated in Italy one hundred years ago.

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6. White Negroni

White Negroni Gin Suze Lilet Blanc Cocktail
Photo by @cceee

For those looking for an easier-drinking Negroni, the White Negroni has the expected boozy dry flavors on a lighter scale. It was created in 2001 when London bartender combined gin, bitter French gentian liqueur Suze, and Lillet Blanc.

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7. Gin Blossom

Gin Cocktails And The Spirit'S Rich History Gin Blossom Martini With Plymouth Gin Bianco Vermouth Or Blanc Vermouth Apricot Eau De Vie And Orange Bitters
Photo by @Bhofack2

Experience the Gin Blossom, an exquisite and one-of-a-kind rendition of the classic Martini. This contemporary variation highlights the smooth and full-bodied character of Plymouth gin. Departing from convention, subtly sweet and delicately vanilla-infused Martini & Rossi bianco vermouth is chosen instead of dry vermouth, infusing the drink with a touch of elegance. These are then incorporated with the fruity essence of apricot eau-de-vie and a tantalizing hint of orange bitters, resulting in a sensory delight that will captivate the most discerning palates.

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8. Pegu Club

Pegu Club Gin Curacao Lime Juice Bitters Shaken Cocktail

The Pegu Club, a timeless libation reminiscent of gin-based sours such as the Daiquiri and Margarita, holds a paramount position within the illustrious era of cocktails. Offering a delightful variation of the iconic Gin Sour, this refined beverage puts a twist on tradition by eliminating the use of egg whites while introducing an exquisite touch of bitters. In true homage to the Sidecar, instead of simple syrup, the Pegu Club incorporates triple sec, resulting in a flawlessly balanced concoction with a delightful interplay of sweetness and vibrant citrus undertones. Indulge in the refined allure of the Pegu Club and experience a masterpiece within the realm of mixology.

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9. Tuxedo

Tuxedo Cocktail

Elegant and bone dry, the tuxedo cocktail resembles a Martini. It originated in the late 1800s or early 1900s named after the exclusive Tuxedo country club. With many variations, the classic recipe consists of gin, sherry, and orange bitters.

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10. Gin Rickey

Gin Rickey

The original Rickey was made with bourbon in the 1880s, but the refreshing sugar-free beverage’s recipe that stuck is made with gin. It is combined with lime juice and soda water, it’s reminiscent of a Gimlet and Tom Collins while having a taste all its own.

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