There’s nothing like an evening with your friends, relaxing with some drinks and a good cheeseboard. But the wine is getting kind of boring, straight-up liquor is far too much for the occasion and you’re not sure in which direction to go. Cocktails, of course! Here are some of the best gin cocktails you can create that are way more creative than the old gin and tonic.
Yellow Bloody Mary
Everyone knows the classic Bloody Mary, but you can spice it up and make it more interesting by using yellow tomatoes. This one has a lot of ingredients and takes some time, but it’s not at all difficult and will give amazing results. The base is, of course, yellow tomatoes. You want them as ripe as possible and if they’re a bit bruised, that’s even better. Blend them up with chopped celery for about a minute and strain into a pitcher. Now’s the time to add the spices: lemon juice, olive brine, horseradish, hot sauce, sugar, and salt. If you want less of a kick, omit the hot sauce, because the horseradish will give a subtle kick. Chill it in the fridge and when you’re ready to serve, decorate the glass with spicy salt, pour gin on top of the ice and add the cool mix. Decorate with cherry tomatoes, olives, and a requisite celery stick.
A Collins is one of the classic gin cocktails that most people know, but it can be brought to a new level with a few simple additions. This is a great option because you can make the cocktail with any kind of berry you like, and you can use both fresh and frozen fruit (though stick to fresh for garnish). First, you want to make the simple blackberry syrup. In a heavy bottom saucepan, pour the berries with sugar and water and bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Once the sugar is dissolved you’ll be able to take a bit of the mixture and not feel any granules between your fingers. Then lower the heat to a simmer and keep it going until the berries are falling apart for about 20 minutes. Let it cool at room temperature and use a fine-mesh sieve to strain it and get rid of the fruit pulp. Pour into a pitcher and add gin and lemon juice to brighten it up. Serve it over ice, top with club soda and garnish with lemon slices, fresh berries, and sprigs of mint.
A Negroni is a simple 1:1:1 mix of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, but you can change it in many ways to suit your taste. A great option is to use smoked gin to create a smoked Negroni for a completely new experience. Switch out the Campari for Suze for a White Negroni. Or, if you want to go light and fruity, combine some pineapple, lime juice, gin orgeat and Campari for a Bermuda Hundred.
If you’re looking for something that you’ve never had before but that you can make from ingredients that you probably have at home, then the Hotel Georgia is the one for you. It starts with smoked gin, to which you add lemon juice, orgeat and orange blossom water, combined with egg white (pasteurized). Shake it up to dry, and then sake again over ice to end up with a frothy, light yellow cocktail. Pour into a coupette (or regular glass if that’s all you have) and garnish with either an orange twist or a quick grating of nutmeg.
Gin is such a versatile spirit that you can mix and combine with so many different flavors. So, feel free to experiment and find something you like.