Gin Cocktail Recipes

Gin! It’s made from juniper berries! No other plant is more iconic to the West than the juniper bush (except possibly the tumbleweed). From the deserts to the mountains its twisted, bushy, and spiky green shape provides a bit of shade for your dogs and a promise of a tasty cocktail when you return to home base. It pairs incredibly well with citrus (to keep away scurvy) and is a very good friend to have in your cabinet.

As with our whiskey cocktail recipes, these recipes are fashioned to maximize the Cocktail Basics list. They are pretty classic, and you may see variations of these. Try them! The recipes that follow are our favorite ratios and mixes, but you may like things a little differently. A great source is Cocktail DB for alternatives.

Classic Gin Martini

2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce dry vermouth
1 dash orange bitters

Add the gin, vermouth, and bitters to a cocktail shaker (or martini pitcher). Add lots of ice, stir (do not shake) vigorously until very cold, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. *

*We have found this to be a solid ratio, but also realize that certain gins are tastier with more or less vermouth. Or possibly with Meyer lemon bitters instead. So start here but feel free to adjust and experiment. We cannot overstate the perfectness of this drink: simple, strong, and delicious.


2 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

Combine in a cocktail shaker, add a lot of ice, shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

BONUS: add a splash of soda water and you now have a Gin Fizz.

The Gimlet is traditionally made with Rose’s Lime Juice, but high fructose corn syrup is not something we support, and we think our version of the cocktail is perfect. We do recommend evaporated cane sugar syrup for a richer flavor.

Gin Rickey

1 1/2 ounces gin
juice of 1/2 lime, plus the (now empty) half lime shell
soda water
1/2 ounce simple syrup, or flavored syrup of your choice (optional)

Mix the gin, lime juice, and syrup (if using) in a shaker with ice. Strain into an ice-filled glass, add the lime shell, and top with soda water. Some of us prefer the crisp coolness of this drink without the sweetness of a syrup. Some like to get a bit fruity. It may not technically be a Rickey when you add these things, but you can always make up a name if anyone complains.

Tom Collins

1 1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
soda water

Mix the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, shake and strain into a highball glass with a few cubes of ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with a good quality bourbon or maraschino cherry, if you are so inclined.

The Aviation

Adapted from the fabulous book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, by Ted Haigh

I have seen this cocktail made with Creme Yvette, but I prefer this simpler version. This drink is probably my favorites gin drink and this is partly due to its strength and simplicity.

2 1/2 ounces gin (here we recommend a classic dry London-style gin, or one that is more juniper than floral. Floral gins and maraschino liqueur don’t get along very well, in our humble opinions.)
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 or 3 dashes maraschino liqueur*

Add the gin, lemon juice, and maraschino liqueur in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice, shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

*It is kind of hard to dash with maraschino liqueur. I think of it as a quick glug from the bottle. This stuff is super sweet and intense and too much will overwhelm your gin. Use a gentle touch.

Blue Moon

Also taken from Ted Haigh’s book. There are so many great recipes in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails that you should definitely invest in a copy if you want to further your cocktail career. My copy is well-loved and well-used and starting to fall apart. It’s not a book that won’t get used.

2 ounces of gin
1/2 ounce Creme Yvette
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

Add the gin, Creme Yvette, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, shake and strain into a cocktail glass. You may like a lemon twist.

Palm Beach Special

One more from the venerable Ted Haigh, though I have an addition here that I think is magic.

2 1/2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
cardamom bitters (optional, but amazing)

Add the gin, grapefruit juice, and vermouth to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Add a few drops of cardamom bitters to the top.

Laurel Hunter

Laurel Hunter

Central Oregon, USA