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15 Best Gin Cocktails To Try

Shaken or stirred, try these gin mixed drinks.

It’s easy to get in a rut with just one or two gin drinks in your repertoire. Why not try something new? If you’ve never tried a gin cocktail before, what are you waiting for? The botanical flavor that juniper berries lend to gin gives it a taste like no other alcohol. 

Sparkling pink raspberry lemonade on dark background

Probably the most popular gin drink is gin and tonic. However, if you have just a few ingredients, you can recombine them into various gin cocktails.

Some of the gin cocktails I’ve listed are simple, while others require ingredients you might not see as often. However, if you’re a gin fan, you owe it to yourself to eventually try all the best gin cocktails. 

Gin Cocktails

Here are the 15 best gin cocktails that you need to put on your list to try. I’ve included a little about the origin of the drinks (if known) as well as the ingredients you’ll need to make each one.

Gin and Tonic

Of course, I’ll start with the classic and my favorite gin-based drink, gin and tonic.

I’ve always found the origin story of gin and tonic intriguing. Back in 18th-century India, British military officers started drinking quinine as a preventative tonic against malaria.

Since it was bitter, they started adding sugar, lime, and gin to the quinine tonic to make it taste better.  Today, a G&T is a classic gin cocktail that’s my go-to order at the bar.

Ingredients for today’s gin and tonic include:

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 4-6 ounces  tonic water

Garnish:

  • Lime wedge or slice

I especially like using one of the fancier flavored tonic waters like Fever-Tree, which comes in flavors like Mediterranean, elderflower, lemon, and cucumber. Check out my favorite gins to use in a G&T.


Tom Collins

Tom Collins is essentially a carbonated gin lemonade. This classic gin cocktail is an especially refreshing cocktail in a tall glass of ice on a hot summer day. 

A popular London hotel and coffee house served a similar drink called the John Collins as early as the 1850s.

The first recipe for Tom Collins appeared in 1876 in The Bar Tender’s Guide by Jerry Thomas. Some think the name switched to Tom Collins in this recipe because the author specified using the Old Tom brand of gin. 

A Tom Collins involves the following ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce of lemon juice
  • 0.5 ounces simple syrup
  • 3 ounces of club soda

Garnishes:

  • Maraschino cherry
  • Lemon or orange slice

Gin Rickey

A gin rickey is an unsweetened lime version of the Tom Collins without the cherry. I like it when I want an intense lime-flavored drink but don’t want a sweet drink. 

The Rickey was a bourbon-based named after Colonel “Joe” Rickey, who often entertained officials in Washington, DC, lounges.

One place called Shoemaker’s ended up naming this lime-tastic drink after him around 1880.

However, if you serve a rickey with gin instead of bourbon, it becomes a gin rickey. 

Ingredients for a gin rickey include:

  • 2 ounces gin 
  • 0.5 ounces lime juice
  • 4 ounces of club soda

Garnish:

  • Lime wedge

Southside

A Southside is a flat mojito that includes gin instead of rum. I love to make it with fresh mint from my herb garden in the spring and summer. 

If you want to make a southside cocktail, you’ll need:

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce of lime juice
  • 0.75 ounce of simple syrup
  • Mint sprig

Garnish:

  • Mint leaf

The southside is a drink you’ll want to make with a shaker so that the mint sprig flavor infuses the drink.

Straining the drink leaves behind the flavor without pesky leaves in your glass.

The 21 Club in New York City makes a version that uses lemon juice instead of lime juice. 


Gin Martini

The classic martini is the gin martini. I’m not a big fan of vermouth any other way, but it just works with gin.

I tend to order it when I’m feeling peckish since it comes with an olive (or multiple olives if you’re lucky).

Nobody’s sure about the origin of the martini, but it’s likely to have developed from the Martini vermouth brand.

Other stories say that it was created either in Martinez, CA or at the Occidental Hotel in a town that ferry-goers frequented on their way to Martinez. Either way, it’s a classic. 

Ingredients for this classic martini include:

  • 2.5 ounces gin
  • 0.5 ounce of dry vermouth
  • 1 dash aromatic or orange bitters (optional)

Garnishes:

  • Lemon twist or 1-3 olives

Gin Fizz Cocktail

The gin fizz is very similar to a Tom Collins, except that you can make it with lemon or lime, and an authentic gin fizz uses an egg white to create a fabulously frothy drink. 

I have to admit to being a little leary of consuming raw eggs. The alcohol content in a cocktail needs to be 60-90% to kill salmonella.

However, salmonella infections have declined in the U.S. and Great Britain as more farmers have started vaccinating their chickens against it. You can trust an experienced bartender to make this gin cocktail, but if you’re nervous you may not want to make it at home.

Shake these ingredients together for a gin fizz:

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 0.75 ounce of lemon or lime juice
  • 0.75 ounce of simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 ounces soda

Garnish: 

  • Lemon peel

French 75 Cocktail

When I’m in the mood for a  bright and citrusy champagne cocktail, I tend to order a French 75 instead of a mimosa. 

The drink was invented during World War I and named after the French military’s canon de 75 modele 1897.

American soldiers who asked for it in New York’s Stork Club turned it into a popular beverage.

 Early on, it came with cognac instead of gin, but I think gin is a flavor improvement. Then again, I’m partial to gin.

Ingredients for a French 75 include:

  • 1-2 ounces of gin
  • 0.25 ounce of simple syrup
  • 0.5 ounce of lemon juice
  • 4 ounces champagne

Garnish:

  • Lemon twist

Gin Gin Mule

The gin gin mule has some similarities to the Moscow mule, except that it includes mint and uses gin instead of vodka for its alcohol base.

I find it to be an improvement on the Moscow mule and order it any time I’m in a ginger mood.

To make a gin gin mule, you will need to shake together:

  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • A mint sprig
  • 1 ounce of simple syrup
  • 0.75 ounce of lime juice

Then top with:

  • 4-5 ounces of ginger beer

Garnish:

  • Mint

For a stronger mint taste, try muddling the mint before adding the gin.


Gin Gimlet

The gin gimlet is one of the simplest gin cocktails in existence. It’s simply gin and Rose’s lime juice with nothing else (not even ice).

The earliest recipes call for a 1:1 mixture of Rose’s with gin. However, modern palates don’t tend toward drinks that are that sweet.

Rose’s lime cordial was a popular alternative to Rose’s lime juice in Great Britain. Unfortunately, it was discontinued in 2020.

The simple ingredients for a gin gimlet include:

  • 2.5 ounces gin
  • 0.75 ounce Rose’s lime juice or real juice
  • 0.25-0.75 ounce simple syrup (only if using real lime juice)

Garnish:

  • Lime wedge

Negroni

Negronis are one of those drinks that you’re not sure you like with the first sip, but they grow on you.

If you make it to that second, third, and fourth sip, you’ll be strangely hooked…or not. Either way, it’s an experience worth trying.

The drink was first created at Caffe Casoni in Florence, Italy, in 1919 when a customer wanted a stiffer version of the Americano cocktail. The customer, Count Camillo Negroni, had developed a taste for the Americano during his time as a rodeo clown in the American west. 

The negroni requires these ingredients in equal parts:

  • 1 ounce of gin
  • 1 ounce of vermouth
  • 1 ounce of campari

Garnish:

  • Orange twist or orange slice

Check out our list of the best gins for your negroni here.


Greyhound Cocktail

The greyhound is similar to the gin gimlet. However, it uses grapefruit juice instead of lime for its citrus flavor.

If I’m ever craving grapefruit, I tend to slip some gin into it for a greyhound.

You can also make a greyhound cocktail with vodka, but I prefer the complex flavor of gin instead.

Nobody seems to know the greyhound’s origin, and it appears to have been around for a while when Harry Craddock added it to the Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930.

To make a greyhound cocktail, you need these ingredients:

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 4 ounces grapefruit juice

Garnish:

  • Lemon or lime wedge

Hanky Panky Cocktail

If you haven’t had or even heard of a hanky panky, it’s probably because it requires Fernet-Branca as an ingredient.

If you ever run across it in a liquor store or spy it at a bar, you’ll want to keep this sweet martini at the back of your mind to try. 

The hanky panky got its start at the American Bar in London’s Savoy Hotel between 1903 and 1923.

When bartender Ada “Coley” Coleman created one for actor and writer Sir Charles Henry Hawtrey, he’s reported to have exclaimed that it was the “real hanky-panky.” The name stuck.

To create a hanky panky cocktail, you will need:

  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • 1.5 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Fernet-Branca
  • 1 dash of orange juice

Garnish:

  • Orange peel

Salty Dog

I feel like there’s probably a joke out there where a dog, a grapefruit, and a salt shaker walk into a bar, and “a salty dog” is the punch line.

After all, a salty dog is just a greyhound cocktail with a salt rim. 

The name makes it obvious that the greyhound came before the salty dog. And, like the greyhound, there’s no origin story to be found for it. However, it dates back at least to the 1920s. 

To make a salty dog, you’ll need:

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 4 ounces grapefruit juice

Rimming:

  • Coarse salt 

Garnish:

  • Lemon or lime wedge

I’ve even tried smoked salt with my salty dog with pleasing results. 


Ramos Gin Fizz

The Ramos gin fizz is similar to a classic gin fizz, but this cocktail is a bit creamier and takes a few more ingredients to create.

The drink was famously created in New Orleans by Henry Charles Ramos. The addition of heavy cream makes the Ramos gin fizz extra creamy, and using both fresh lemon juice, lime juice, and orange flower water creates a fresh and floral flavor.

The egg white and cream results in a frothy head on this classic cocktail. We recommend serving it in a chilled glass!

To make a Ramos gin fizz, you’ll need:

  • 2 oz gin (Ramos himself used Old Tom gin, but London Dry gin works well)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 3 dashes orange flower water
  • 3 drops vanilla extract (optional)
  • 3/4 oz heavy cream
  • 1 egg white
  • Soda water, to top

Garnish:

  • Orange wedge, optional

Vesper Martini

The Vesper martini is famously James Bond’s martini of choice.

Many people choose between a vodka martini or a gin martini, but the Vesper martini actually uses both gin and vodka, so you get the best of both worlds in one sophisticated gin cocktail.

The vodka tones down the botanical gin flavor, creating a unique martini that takes great elements from both liquors.

The original Vesper martini was made with Kina Lillet, which no longer exists, but you can use Lillet Blanc or a dry vermouth in a modern version.

To make a Vesper martini, gather the following ingredients:

  • 3 oz gin
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc or dry vermouth

Gsrnish:

  • Lemon peel

Serve in a classic martini glass!


Gin Cocktails

  1. Gin and Tonic
  2. Tom Collins
  3. Gin Rickey
  4. Southside
  5. Gin Martini
  6. Gin Fizz Cocktail
  7. French 75 Cocktail
  8. Gin Gin Mule
  9. Gin Gimlet
  10. Negroni
  11. Greyhound Cocktail
  12. Hanky Panky Cocktail
  13. Salty Dog
  14. Ramos Gin Fizz
  15. Vesper Martini

Final Thoughts

As you can see, most gin drinks tend to pair with citrus flavors. The juniper berry flavor in the gin really goes well with lemon, lime, orange, and even grapefruit.

There are plenty of simple flavors and classic cocktails to try, like the gimlet or greyhound that only need one more ingredient besides gin. Or you can go for a more complicated taste like a negroni or a hanky panky.

If you’re trying to decide which gin to buy to make some of the best gin cocktails, you’ll want to take a look at our list of top gins for any budget.

I’ve honestly never had a bad gin, but different ones have different flavor notes that may pair better with some cocktails than others.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.