Alcohol is expensive.
It's one of those sad truths you learn once you're out of college. Getting drunk just ain't as cheap as it used to be, when you could drink crap beer for free at frat parties.
Now that you're older, you want to leave the Natty Light behind and drink like an adult. Learn to mix your own drinks, have a sophisticated home bar, yada yada yada. The problem is, liqueur is expensive! Before you invest in a whole bottle, you probably want to know what you can make with it. So here's the first card in a new series that I'm calling Bottles for Beginners. I'll show you 15 tried-and-true, straight up delicious cocktails that you can make with your latest investment: a bottle of gin.
Super simple and quite refreshing. Tart fresh lime juice mixes beautifully with the herbal flavor of gin.
Half a well-washed lime
2 ounces London dry gin
Chilled club soda
Splash of simple syrup (optional)
Fill a 10-ounce Collins glass with ice. Squeeze lime into the glass, getting as much juice out of it as you can. Toss in the lime shell, then add gin. Top off glass with club soda. The rickey doesn't need it, but if you like a sweeter drink, add splash of simple syrup.
Maybe my favorite cocktail of all time – like a Lemon Drop, but with gin instead of vodka!
2 ounces London dry gin
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Combine the ingredients in a Collins glass 3/4 full of cracked ice. Stir briefly, top with club soda or seltzer, garnish with lemon circle, and serve with stirring rod.
Recipe from Esquire
Lime and mint, a classic combination, enliven this simple, easy cocktail.
2 ounces gin, such as Plymouth
1 ounce lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1 sprig mint
1 fresh mint leaf
Combine the gin, lime juice, simple syrup and mint sprig in a shaker. Add some ice cubes and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with one mint leaf, smacked to release the oils, floating on top of the cocktail.
Recipe from Food Network
Rosemary compliments gin's herbal notes in this soothing cocktail.
2 thin slices cucumber
12 fresh rosemary leaves
2 ounces Plymouth gin
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup
very thin cucumber slice, for garnish
Muddle cucumber and rosemary in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, add gin, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake well. Double-strain into chilled cocktail glass. Float thin cucumber slice on top of drink and serve.
Passionfruit Mint Cocktail
Tropical, bright, and summery, this drink will bring a ray of sunshine to any gathering!
15 fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/4 ounce honey
mint leaf, for garnish
Scoop the flesh from the passionfruit into a cocktail shaker. Add mint and muddle with the passionfruit in the bottom of the cocktail shaker. Add gin and honey, then fill the shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain the mixture into a glass and garnish with a mint leaf.
This sweet Prohibition classic is so simple and easy, and yet so delicious.
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce honey syrup
To make honey syrup, combine equal parts honey and hot water, and stir until dissolved. Keep remainder refrigerated. Combine gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup in a cocktail shaker, stir briefly to dissolve honey syrup, then fill with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Simple, strong, and classy. It's a 007 classic from the 1953 Ian Fleming novel Casino Royale, named for James Bond's lost love.
3 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz Absolut Vodka
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a slice of lemon peel over the drink, rub along the rim of the glass and drop it in.
Recipe from Liquor.com
Sour Cherry Cocktail
An easy fruit cocktail with a pleasant tartness.
5 sour cherries, pitted, plus 2 more for garnish
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh juice from 1 lemon
1 1/2 ounce gin
1 to 2 ounces seltzer
In the bottom of a highball glass, lightly muddle sour cherries, simple syrup and lemon juice until cherries are gently smashed, not pureed. Fill the glass with ice, add gin and stir for a few seconds until everything has combined. Top with seltzer, garnish with cherries, and serve.
Hot & Cold
Perfect for those upcoming brisk fall nights! This warm variation on a Hot Toddy will heat you up from the inside out.
25 fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup boiling water
2 ounces gin, such as New Amsterdam
1/2 ounce lemon juice from 1 lemon
1 oz. homemade cranberry syrup
Lemon slice for garnish
In a mug or a small heatproof bowl, pour the boiling water over the mint leaves and let steep for 5 minutes. While the mint is steeping, combine the gin, cranberry syrup, and lemon juice in a mug. Strain mint tea into mug and stir to combine. Discard mint leaves. Garnish the drink with sliced lemon and serve.
Strawberry Balsamic Smash
An exciting flavor palate keeps this cocktail super interesting! Your friends will definitely be impressed. (It's the one all the way to the right in the photo above.)
Using a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, mash two 1/2" lime wedges, two 1/2" rounds of cucumber, 1 fresh hulled strawberry, 1 Tbsp. Simple Syrup (click for recipe), and 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar in a 16-oz. mixing glass or a cocktail shaker 4–5 times just to release juices and oils. Add 1/4 cup gin. Transfer to an Old Fashioned glass. Fill halfway with crushed ice, stir, then mound more crushed ice on top. Garnish with a cucumber round.
There's nothing easier to make than a Salty Dog. I love a good grapefruit cocktail, and this one keeps things simple. Add a squeeze of lime to liven things up!
Coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup gin
3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
Pour coarse salt onto small plate. Moisten rims of 2 highball glasses. Gently dip rims into salt to coat lightly. Fill glasses with ice cubes. Pour 1/4 cup gin over ice in each glass. Divide grapefruit juice between glasses and serve.
Blackberry Gin Fizz
Sparkling and fruity, this is an excellent end-of-summer cocktail. Get in your last helping of summer berries before the frost wipes them out! Note: this recipe makes 8 servings.
1 6-ounce container ripe, sweet blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups gin
1 cup fresh lime juice
8 sprigs Thai basil or sweet basil
Purée blackberries and sugar in a blender. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes. Strain purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher (there will be about 3/4 cup); discard seeds in sieve. Stir gin and lime juice into pitcher. Divide drink among ice-filled glasses; top with soda. Garnish each with a basil sprig.
Recipe from Epicurious
This combination of gin and sparkling wine is strong – and fabulous for parties.
2 ounces gin
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Champagne or sparkling wine
long thin lemon spiral and cocktail cherry, for garnish
Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Shake gin, lemon juice, and sugar in a cocktail shaker until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with Champagne. Stir gently, garnish with a long, thin lemon spiral and a cocktail cherry.
A simple 1:1:1 classic. Every cocktail connoisseur needs to try a Negroni at least once!
1 ounce dry gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
There are two common ways to serve a Negroni: on the rocks, or straight up. For the former, simply combine the ingredients in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice; stir to combine, twist a thin piece of orange peel over the drink for aromatics and use the twist as garnish. To serve a Negroni straight up, combine the ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well for 20 seconds, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a piece of orange peel over the drink, and use the twist as garnish.
Lavender Gin Lemonade
Herbal lavender and citrus: a match made in heaven. I'd like one of these in my hand right now, if you please.
2 ounces gin
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce lavender simple syrup
2-3 ounces club soda
Lemon slices for garnish
Pour the gin, lemon juice, and lavender simple syrup into an ice and lemon slice filled glass. Top with club soda and gently stir.
Recipe from Yummertime
What bottle would you like me to do next?
Vodka? Whiskey? Rum?
Leave your choice in the comments :)